Mike Bobinski is looking for a coach who shares his vision that Georgia Tech has all the elements to recapture its former basketball glory.
Bobinski, the Georgia Tech athletic director who on Friday fired coach Brian Gregory, also is looking for a coach who can sell that vision to top recruits.
Georgia Tech played for the national championship in 2004 and was part of the 1990 Final Four. That’s old, dusty history for today’s teen prospects.
The Yellow Jackets haven’t received a bid to the NCAA Tournament since 2010.
Bobinski, the chairman of the NCAA basketball committee in the 2012-13 season, has a rich basketball background. He is the former athletic director at Xavier, where the sport is emphasized.
He said he will take advantage of his contacts, including with coaches, in his search to replace Gregory.
“I’ve talked to them all the time certainly as it is, so yes certainly I will rely on the folks I’ve come to know in the basketball world,” Bobinski said Friday. “I spent a significant amount of time at a school that was all basketball all the time, so I’m fairly well connected in that area and I do have some personal relationships I certainly will rely on in this process.”
Bobinski’s Xavier ties could be useful. A possible candidate is Xavier coach Chris Mack.
Former Georgia Tech AD Dan Radakovich hired Gregory from Dayton. Current Dayton coach Archie Miller looks to be a hot target for any opening after three straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Two former Georgia Tech guards, New Mexico coach Craig Neal and Charlotte coach Mark Price, could be considered.
Price, who was 14-19 in his first season at Charlotte, issued a statement on Saturday about the Georgia Tech opening.
“I wish my alma mater Georgia Tech well in its search for a new head coach,” Price said. “I am committed to the Charlotte 49ers men’s basketball program.”
Bobinski said he wouldn’t place too much emphasis on a coach’s history at Georgia Tech.
“The best person is the factor at the end of the day,” Bobinski said. “That’s the only overriding factor for me.”
The list of possible candidates could include Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew and Saint Mary’s coach Randy Bennett.
Bobinski said hiring a current head coach is “always the preference.”
Georgia Tech will pay Gregory more than $1.3 million for the final two years of his contract while still paying Gregory’s predecessor, Paul Hewitt, $2.7 million over the next three years.
Gregory was 76-86 in five seasons, including 27-61 in the ACC. This year’s team finished 21-15, including two wins in the NIT.
Gregory needed to make the NCAA field to win over Bobinski. Even so, the AD said he would look for a coach with many of Gregory’s strengths.
“From the personal characteristics side, if I could have all that Brian brought, I would have that again,” Bobinski said, adding Gregory “was as standup a guy and first class and high integrity an individual as you could ever hope for.”
Bobinski said Georgia Tech, armed with a newly rebuilt arena and rich recruiting area around Atlanta, should be a winning program.
“I think we’re capable of more as we look ahead,” he said. “… We just need to do a better job of leveraging that down the road.”