Georgia Tech fires coach Josh Pastner after seven seasons

Josh Pastner was fired Friday as Georgia Tech’s basketball coach, two seasons after he guided the Yellow Jackets to a stunning Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament title.

Pastner was dumped after seven seasons on the college in midtown Atlanta, his destiny sealed by a second straight dropping season and few indicators of progress in a program that was as soon as a nationwide powerhouse.

The Yellow Jackets capped a 15-18 marketing campaign Wednesday with an 89-81 loss to Pittsburgh within the second spherical of the ACC Tournament. They completed 12-20 final season.

“We have high expectations at Georgia Tech for all of our sports programs, and it is imperative that our storied men’s basketball program achieves a greater level of success,” athletic director J Batt mentioned.

“Our men’s basketball program is important to our department and to our institution. We will not shy away from expecting to consistently compete for ACC championships, NCAA Tournament appearances and sustained success.”

The 45-year-old Pastner did not come near reaching that normal. His file at Georgia Tech was 109-114, together with a 53-78 mark within the ACC. He previously coached at Memphis, the place he spent seven seasons after changing John Calipari.

Pastner’s lone NCAA look at Georgia Tech was one-and-done. The Yellow Jackets adopted up their ACC title with a loss to Loyola within the Round of 64 through the pandemic-marred 2020-21 season.

Georgia Tech hasn’t gained an NCAA Tournament sport since 2010, a pointy drop for a program that rose to prominence within the Eighties and ’90s below Bobby Cremins and reached the 2005 nationwide championship with Paul Hewitt as coach.

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Anthony Wilkins, who has been on Georgia Tech’s employees since 2018, will function the interim coach whereas the college conducts a seek for Pastner’s successor.

Early hypothesis has centered on Kennesaw State coach Amir Abdur-Rahim, who guided the Owls to the primary NCAA Tournament berth in class historical past after they gained a single sport throughout his debut season in 2019-20.

Abdur-Rahim spent one 12 months as Georgia Tech’s director of participant growth for former coach Brian Gregory and in addition labored one 12 months at Georgia below Tom Crean, serving to the Bulldogs land eventual first total NBA draft decide Anthony Edwards.

Pastner, who got here to Georgia Tech from Memphis with a repute as a stellar recruiter, by no means lived as much as that billing in Atlanta. The Yellow Jackets had been hardly ever within the combine for the nation’s prime highschool prospects, and the shortage of five-star expertise confirmed within the file.

Pastner managed solely three profitable seasons data throughout his Georgia Tech tenure, which was highlighted by a 17-9 mark and a run to the ACC title with an skilled group led by Moses Wright and Jose Alvarado.

But the Yellow Jackets didn’t construct on that success, dropping off sharply the final two seasons.

After his ultimate loss, Pastner made a plea to maintain his job.

“I love Georgia Tech. I love my job. I have a real passion for it, and I believe in it,” he mentioned.

But Batt, who has solely been on the job since October, determined to make the college’s second high-profile teaching change within the final six months.

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Batt was employed after Georgia Tech dismissed coach Geoff Collins and athletic director Todd Stansbury early in Collins’ fourth season guiding the soccer program.

Collins posted a dismal 10-28 file earlier than he was changed on an interim foundation by Brent Key, who led the Yellow Jackets to a 4-4 mark over the rest of the 2022 season.

Key was finally employed because the full-time coach.

Collins was entitled to a buyout of greater than $11 million, which put a pressure on the athletic division’s already tenuous funds.

Now, the Yellow Jackets owe Pastner some $2.5 million over the remaining three years of a contract extension he acquired from Stansbury after the ACC title run.

Pastner was simply 31 when he took over at Memphis in 2009, after Calipari left for Kentucky.

The Tigers stored proper on profitable, going 130-44 with 4 NCAA Tournament appearances over Pastner’s first 5 seasons.

But this system dipped his ultimate two years, posting a 37-29 mark whereas failing to make the NCAAs. After Georgia Tech fired Gregory in 2016, Pastner jumped on the likelihood to rebuild this system.

“Look, I would tell you that when I got the job, they told me when I came in, and I met with everybody, that it’s going to be … starting from ground zero,” Pastner mentioned this week. “And they said you’re going to lose so much your first three or four years that you’re going to — we’ve got to have someone that’s going to be ultra-positive because you’re going to lose so much.”

Pastner all the time remained constructive. But he did not win practically sufficient to maintain his job.

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Georgia Tech slumped final season, going 5-15 within the ACC, and acquired off to dismal begin in convention play this season, dropping 12 of its first 13 league contests — together with a nine-game dropping streak.

Pastner’s workforce rallied late within the 12 months. The Yellow Jackets gained six of their ultimate eight regular-season video games, although that was solely ok for a 6-14 mark within the ACC.

Then, they knocked off Florida State 61-60 within the opening spherical of the convention match.

In the tip, Pastner could not overcome a big drop in attendance and a tenure that was marred by NCAA sanctions linked to a former good friend who was accused of recruiting violations.

Georgia Tech accepted a postseason ban in 2020, when the season shut down anyway due to COVID-19, and a few of its sanctions had been overturned on attraction.

“We’ve really finished really well this year,” Pastner mentioned. “I wish we started better.”

Reporting by The Associated Press.

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