TO: Fans, Friends, and Supporters of Georgia Tech Athletics
FROM: Dan Radakovich, Georgia Tech Director of Athletics
This, Tech fans, is an important edition of The Good Word, so heads up!
You have all followed the story this week as Coach Hewitt was courted by a University in his home town, where he has had and continues to have many friends and close connections. It is a school that has solicited his services as head basketball coach before – it did in 2004 when Georgia Tech made a long-term commitment to Paul. As he did in 2004, Coach Hewitt today withdrew his name from consideration at that school. But this time the circumstances are much different, and I think some honest and thoughtful reflection on what has transpired needs to be done.
I am extremely happy that Paul, Dawnette and their girls have decided to stay here in Atlanta and continue to be a part of the Georgia Tech Family. For the moment, I ask you to put aside your emotions with Coach Hewitt and the program. Let’s consider where we are and where we are going. First, understand that no one person, be it a coach, an athletic director or even a president, is more important than the Institution known as Georgia Tech. Given that, doesn’t it make sense to keep Georgia Tech at the forefront of every conversation and every decision? That premise guides our lives here in the athletic program every day.
Six years ago, after being handed an appearance in the National Championship game by Coach Hewitt and his team, Georgia Tech made a commitment to arguably the hottest, brightest and most desirable head coach on the planet. Georgia Tech made that commitment. But at the same time, Paul Hewitt, who could have hand-picked many jobs along the way — including St. John’s — made the same commitment to our Institute. He absolutely wanted to be here at Tech and to make a commitment to the city of Atlanta.
For the last year or so I have read and heard all of the concerns and comments about our basketball program. All of them. Believe me. Some are valid, some are not. Drawing on my own experience and that of my administrative staff (Paul Griffin and Wayne Hogan alone bring more than 70 years in the business), and using the valid feedback that I receive from some of you on a daily basis, I periodically counsel Coach Hewitt as I do all of our 17 head coaches. My purpose in life is to do all I can to make Georgia Tech better in every area.
I am not oblivious that we now live in a world of instant gratification. The sports world has become all about “what have you done for me lately.” In a pro sports town like ours, it is not uncommon to read about multi-million dollar salaries, $100 million payrolls and coaches and athletes who come and go on a whim. When a program or team goes through trials and tribulations the first solution has become “fire the coach.” Certainly we work in a results-oriented business. However, in some cases the best course of action is to stay the course. Unfortunately, there is a feeling by some that change would solve everything. I say to that: Not always. Not now… and especially not in the light of Georgia Tech’s commitment to this man, his family and our basketball program.
In the case of Coach Hewitt and Georgia Tech basketball, we remain together because we are Georgia Tech. Coach Hewitt remains the same bright, desirable and coveted college basketball coach he was in 2004. If you have any doubt, just read the New York City newspapers from the past week. His credentials as a human being, a family man, a leader and builder of character are impeccable. The mission here is clear. We need to win more basketball games. We will continue to do everything within our power to do that — as an organization — with Paul Hewitt as our basketball coach. It is not a one-man mission. We are all committed to scour every inch of the program, suggest and effect the needed changes and to give the coach every ounce of support. This is what we do at Georgia Tech.
So now that we know the lay of the land, I am asking you as Georgia Tech alums, fans and supporters, to get with the program. My experience has been that when a Tech man finds himself in choppy waters, the Tech family rises to help. This is about Georgia Tech. It’s about commitment. And it’s about a part of the Tech heritage — our men’s basketball program. We must pull together and continue to support this program and Coach Hewitt. This is the Georgia Tech way!