End of Dan Era

Oct. 29, 2012

By Jon Cooper
Sting Daily

Some people are never satisfied. They’re always hungry for a challenge. That’s not a bad thing.

Dan Radakovich is one of those people. That doesn’t make him a bad man.

Quite the contrary.

Radkovich, who resigned as Georgia Tech’s athletic director on Monday after more than six years on the job to take over a similar position at Clemson will — and should be — remembered for his tremendous impact in building and advancing Yellow Jackets athletics.

“Since he came to Georgia Tech in 2006, Dan has overseen a significant expansion of our athletics facilities,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. “Bud” Peterson on Monday afternoon. “Under his leadership, our student-athletes have continued to excel, winning both conference and national championships. It has been a pleasure to work with him, and we wish Dan and his wife, Marcie, the very best in his new position.”

The move was something that might have come out of the blue, but follows a pattern for Radakovich. He came to Atlanta after serving five years as senior associate athletics director at LSU, during which time the school won its first national football championship in 45 years.

Named the seventh director of athletics in Georgia Tech history, on Feb. 22, 2006, Radakovich took over for Dave Briane and joined a distinguished list that includes John Heisman (1904-1919), William Alexander (1920-1950), Bobby Dodd (1950-76), and Homer Rice (1980-97).

As he leaves the Flats, his name belongs among that list of giants in Georgia Tech lore.

Radakovich oversaw a golden age in Georgia Tech athletics and a tremendous growth in school facilities.

Look at the stretch of Fowler Street from 5th Street to 10th if you need any further evidence.

There’s the John and Mary Brock Practice Facility for the football team, Shirley Clements Mewborn Field for the softball team, a renovated locker room and facility for volleyball, the Zelnak Center for men’s and women’s basketball.

Next year there will be the Byers Tennis Complex and, in less than two weeks, the crown jewel, McCamish Pavilion opens.

“Dan did a lot of good things for Georgia Tech athletics over the past six-and-a-half years,” said head football coach Paul Johnson. “I appreciate everything he has done for me and my family, and I wish him and his family the best.”

“I want to congratulate Dan, and I wish him and his family the very best,” said head baseball coach Danny Hall. “I am very grateful for what Dan has done for me and my family, but more importantly, for his tremendous support of the baseball program.”

Going hand-in-hand with the improvement of Georgia Tech’s facilities has been the performance of Yellow Jackets athletes on the field. The Radakovich era has seen the Jackets bring home 14 conference championships and nine ACC regular-season titles, including the 2007 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship.

Last season was a banner year for Georgia Tech Athletics, as golf, baseball and softball all took home ACC championships — for golf it was its third straight, while softball won its third in four years. Football participated in its 15th consecutive bowl game (tied for the fourth-longest active steak nationally) and women’s basketball reached the ACC Championship Game then advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history.

While Tech’s athletic teams began their “title wave” of success, they did so while upholding the academic integrity of one of the nation’s most demanding institutions of higher learning.

It is not known if Radakovich will attend opening weekend of McCamish Pavilion on Nov. 9, but both men’s head coach Brian Gregory, a Radakovich hire, and women’s coach MaChelle Joseph, who was hired by Braine but whose contract was extended by Radakovich in 2010 through 2014-15, are won’t forget his work in getting McCamish built and his impact on their programs.

“I’m appreciative for all that Dan has done for me personally and for our program,” said Gregory. “I’m thankful that he honored me with the opportunity to re-build this great program. He has a great understanding of the steps needed to be successful in this process. I’m also thankful for his tremendous vision in getting the new McCamish Pavilion built and for helping provide us with a tremendous home court in which to play.”

“Dan Radakovich has been instrumental in the success of our women’s basketball program,” said Joseph. “We will miss him and his family, but wish them continued success.”

Even if that success comes against ACC rival Clemson.

While the school conducts a national search for a new director of athletics, the program will be in the good hands of senior associate athletics director Paul Griffin.

Griffin, who has been in his position at Tech since July 10, 2002, knows his way around Division I-A athletics, having served for 15 years (1986-2001) as A.D. at the University of South Florida, where he got the school membership into Conference USA, then initiated the football program and eventually helped usher it into Division I-A.