Leave it to Georgia Tech to use its 1-3 start, including a road loss to
Central South Florida and a home blow out by Clemson, as a fund-raising tool.
Like many of you, I’m frustrated and disappointed in how this year’s football season has started. I was in that locker room after Saturday’s game and can tell you this with 100-percent certainty – NO ONE is more frustrated with our 1-3 start than the men who coach our team and the young men on the team.
First, let me say that I remain in total support of our student-athletes and coaching staff and believe that they are fully committed and capable of success this season.
Secondly, let me acknowledge that no one associated with our program – coaches, players, athletics staff, students, alumni or fans – is satisfied with being 1-3 or with the prospect of not going to postseason.
However, with all due respect, I truly feel that many of the emails and social media posts that I’ve seen as of late are counterproductive to meeting the high expectations that we all have for our program. To meet those expectations, there are no shortcuts and it is not going to be cheap.
To consistently meet those expectations, we must acknowledge that we have slowly fallen behind our competition in terms of the resources needed to assist our student-athletes and coaches when they line up week-in and week-out against programs that have those resources. We are located in the toughest neighborhood in the country for college football – three of last year’s four College Football Playoff participants are within a three-hour drive of our campus and eight of the last nine national champions are within a 250-mile radius.
With your help, we have begun to address those needs. Recent investments (new locker room, upgraded nutrition center and training table, partnership with adidas, addition of three quality-control analysts, doubling our recruiting staff and creation of a recruiting-focused lobby to our football headquarters) show that Georgia Tech is serious about our football program.
Those investments have paid some immediate dividends and will continue to do so as time goes on, but there is still more to do. The $125 million that we’re in the process of raising as part of Athletics Initiative 2020 is the price of admission to give our student-athletes and coaches the same resources that others in our neighborhood enjoy.
Yes, “Okay, we suck, so give us $125 million to suck less” is certainly a different approach. The cynic in me might even acknowledge it’s probably the best the athletic director could come up with on short notice.
So, how’s it selling? Judging from this, a mixed bag at best.
“It would be disingenuous, or I would be less than honest with you if I said that there isn’t pressure and pressure hasn’t been built significantly over the past couple weeks on the coaches and players and so forth,” said Gregg Garrett, a major donor to the athletic department. “With all that being said, I think we’re a long ways away from any decisions being made about anything.”
Other significant contributors and Tech staff familiar with Stansbury’s thinking contacted by the AJC shared Garrett’s perspective. First, Stansbury has repeatedly made his support of Johnson clear. Also, he is not seen as someone who would move quickly on a decision of this magnitude.
“I don’t think this team is as bad as it has maybe looked at times, not to confuse them with the New England Patriots or anything,” Garrett said prior to the Bowling Green game. “Let this thing play out. I’m not sure they’re not going to get back to a bowl game this year.”
Gregg, you don’t have to worry that anybody is confusing Tech with the Patriots. You guys shouldn’t make a hasty decision about the genius’ fate. Please, take all the time in the world.