Jan. 19, 2007
Chan Gailey, Georgia Tech’s head football coach since 2002, announced Friday that he will remain at Tech.
“I’m excited about the future here at Georgia Tech,” Gailey said at a Friday afternoon press conference. “We have 17 of the 22 returning starters from the bowl game. We’ve got a great recruiting class. We’ve got a (Coastal) Division title to defend. It was a great opportunity for me and an honor to visit with these people but, I’m excited about the future here at Georgia Tech and where we’re headed and what we’re going to do for the next few years.”
Gailey had been under consideration by for the head coaching position of the Miami Dolphins, the organization from which he was hired by Georgia Tech on Dec. 29, 2001. He spent the 2000 and 2001 seasons as the Dolphins’ offensive coordinator before becoming the 11th head coach in Tech history. During his time in Miami, Gailey developed a close relationship with owner Wayne Huzienga, leading him to interview for the head coaching position.
“I’d like to thank all the fans and all of the members of the Georgia Tech family that have been so patient through this whole process,” said Gailey. “It didn’t happen nearly as quickly as anyone had hoped but we are excited that we are now able to go on to the next full speed ahead. Everybody has been very supportive and I’m deeply appreciative.”
Gailey led Tech to a 9-5 record, the ACC Coastal Division title and a berth in the Toyota Gator Bowl in 2006. The Jackets return 17 starters from last year’s squad that earned the school’s 10th consecutive bowl berth, led by ACC rushing leader Tashard Choice, all-conference defenders Philip Wheeler, Jamal Lewis and Adamm Oliver and all-America punter Durant Brooks.
The 55-year-old Gailey has led the Yellow Jackets to winning seasons and bowl games in each of his five seasons on the Flats, compiling a record of 37-27. He joins college football legend John Heisman as the only head coaches in school history who have never had a losing season. Gailey’s 37 victories rank fourth among all Tech head coaches, behind Bobby Dodd (166/22 seasons), William Alexander (134/25 seasons), Heisman (102/16 seasons) and George O’Leary (53/7 seasons).
Tech has posted seven victories over nationally-ranked teams under Gailey, six of them coming on the road, including wins at No. 10 Virginia Tech, at No. 3 Miami and at No. 15 Auburn over the last two seasons.
Ten Yellow Jackets earned all-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition in 2006, led by ACC Player of the Year and unanimous first-team all-America Calvin Johnson. Tech had a total of 28 first or second-team all-ACC selections over Gailey’s five years, as well as 21 Academic All-ACC student-athletes through the 2005 season.
Chan Gailey PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
“When this all started I told (Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Athletic Director) that I had a great job at Georgia Tech and I wasn’t looking to move but, when two great organizations with like the Steelers and the Dolphins call you with two great ownership groups, I felt obligated to visit with them. It’s very humbling when they call like that and I was one of those that got that call and was able to visit with them. I enjoyed talking with them about where they were going and where I might fit in. The best place for me is at Georgia Tech. I’m excited about the future here at Georgia Tech. We have 17 of the 22 returning starters from the bowl game. We’ve got a great recruiting class. We’ve got a (Coastal) Division title to defend. It was a great opportunity for me and an honor to visit with these people but, I’m excited about the future here at Georgia Tech and where we’re headed and what we’re going to do for the next few years.
“One last thing I’d like to say is I’d like to thank all the fans and all of the members of the Georgia Tech family that have been so patient through this whole process. It didn’t happen nearly as quickly as anyone had hoped but we are excited that we are now able to go on to the next full speed ahead. Everybody has been very supportive and I’m deeply appreciative.”
What time today did you get the word that you would not be the Dolphins head coach?
“Well they haven’t called yet. You hear a couple things about how it’s going in a different direction and you get to the point where you say enough is enough.”
Would it be accurate to say you’re withdrawing your name from consideration for the Dolphins head coaching job?
“It’s a moot point but, I was never offered the job.”
Where you able to communicate what was going on with your recruits during all this?
“I was able to call them. I kept them totally abreast of everything that was going on. I told them exactly why I was talking to the two teams, which was because of my relationship with the two owners. I told them the time frame that I thought we were on. I told them I thought it would be this weekend before we would come to a decision. They were very understanding. I told them when I started the process of recruiting, that I would be honest and fair with them and they were all great.”
Did you talk to your current players about the interviews?
“I had a big team meeting and told them what was going on. This was last week (last Thursday). I told them exactly what was going. I told them the same reasons for why I was talking to them that I told my recruits and my team understood.”
Should we assume that other NFL teams will come calling?
“For me, these were two organizations I’ve been in and I’ve worked in which I think I had a lot to do with it. I don’t think my name was selected randomly.”
Was there any other kind of motivations other than working with these two organizations before that caused you to take interest in these jobs?
“I think you always look at every situation that comes up if it’s feasible and if it’s with people you like that you know you can work with. It’s never about the money. If it gets to be about the money, you’re in it for the wrong reasons. You’re in the wrong business. I think that you look at it and see what are the positives and what are the negatives. I think we all know that there are no utopian jobs on this earth. There are none. They all have great things, they all have negatives. You look at them and you evaluate how you and your family fit into each one of them.”
Do you have any regrets about how it went?
“I have regrets about how long it went. I don’t think any body envisioned it going this long. If it were done over again, I think we’d try to put a tighter time table on it.”
Do you think the length it went, hurt recruiting in anyway?
“I don’t think so. Time will tell but, it certainly doesn’t look that way. Like I said, we’ve been very up front and honest with these guys and they’ve responded tremendously. I think that they understood what was going on and I think everybody is fairly solid.”
On fans’ perceptions that you were looking for another job:
“First of all, you’re not going to please everyone. Everybody is not going to understand. I tried to make it extremely clear that I didn’t call anybody. If it weren’t these particular people calling me, I probably wouldn’t have returned the call. These were unique circumstances that came up this year.”
Is there a sense of disappointment that you weren’t offered the Dolphins job?
“I don’t know that you get disappointed. You have to feel like you are where you’re supposed to be. There is a reason you’re at a certain place, whatever that might be. I get excited about knowing the outcome, where you’re supposed to be, where you’re headed and the future that’s ahead of you.”
“We hate to lose a great coach like Patrick, but we wish the best for him in this new opportunity. He has a wonderful family that we’ll miss, too, but again, we wish them the best.
[Replacing Nix] “I haven’t had time to think about that yet. We’re going to concentrate on recruiting first. I might make a few calls or talk to a couple of people, but it probably will not get done until recruiting is finished or at least close to the end.”