March 4, 2005
(b>by Simit Shah
Fans will see a familiar sight this Saturday as Georgia Tech takes on Clemson in their regular season finale. Bobby Cremins will be back on the sidelines at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, but this time he’ll be on the opposite side of the court that bears his name as part of the television broadcast crew.
Cremins, who put Georgia Tech basketball on the map during his 19 seasons as head coach, has been an analyst for Raycom/Jefferson-Pilot and Fox Sports Net telecasts since his retirement in 2000. Saturday will be the first time that he’s called a game featuring his former team.
“I was hoping to do a Georgia Tech game last year, but I didn’t get one,” he said. “I got one this year, and I’m really looking forward to it.”
During his tenure in Atlanta, Cremins took a long-struggling program and elevated it to one of the best in the nation. His teams earned 10 of the school’s 13 NCAA Tournament berths, all three of their ACC Tournament titles and a Final Four appearance in 1990.
He recruited a number of players that became synonymous with Georgia Tech basketball, including Mark Price, John Salley, Tom Hammonds, Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott, Brian Oliver and Matt Harpring.
That impressive legacy established a deep bond with the school, and Cremins still follows the program very closely.
“I try to watch every game on TV when I can,” he said. “Last year, I went to two or three games, and I’ve been to one game so far. I had my knee replaced recently, so I would have gone to some more games if I could have.”
Given his reputation for coaching some of the top guards in college history, it’s no surprise that Cremins is enamored with Tech’s current crop of backcourt players.
“I love watching Will Bynum and Jarrett Jack,” said Cremins. “They blow me away. After that, the other pieces are there. You’ve got frontline presence with big Luke. You’ve got unbelievable wing play. You have as good a wing player (in B.J. Elder) as anyone in the country. They are just exciting to watch.”
Cremins has been impressed with the job that Paul Hewitt has done on the court, but he’s especially appreciative of the efforts to keep the former coach and players involved with the program. Hewitt led the effort to have the court at Alexander Memorial Coliseum named after Cremins in 2003.
“Paul has been great to me and the guys that played for me,” said Cremins. “That really shows the kind of person he is. When they made it to San Antonio last year, Paul invited a lot of us out there, and that really meant the world to me.”
Since his retirement from coaching, Cremins has spent most of his time in Hilton Head, South Carolina. He participates in a number of charity golf tournaments and basketball clinics, as well as motivational speaking appearances.
His television workload has increased over the years, and he has worked a number of ACC and Southern Conference games this season.
“I miss coaching sometimes, but I’m very comfortable doing what I’m doing,” he explained. “The problem with broadcasting is that there are so many ex-coaches and ex-players, and it’s really hard to find your niche and get established. At the end of the game, I have mixed feelings. I’m neither high nor low, and I miss that adrenaline sometimes.”
While Cremins is enjoying life after coaching, people still approach him to talk about Georgia Tech wherever he goes.
“They always ask me, ‘Where’s your yellow tie?’ I wear different ties now, but people are always asking,” he said, laughing.