How can Georgia Tech grow in the shadow of the
Harry Lyles Jr., ESPN Staff WriterSep 1, 2023, 08:06 AM ET ATLANTA– GEORGIA TECH football coach Brent Secret’s workplace looks out onto Bobby Dodd Arena, with part of the Atlanta skyline in view as well. Among the buildings visible is the old Equitable structure, now owned and run by Georgia’s Own Credit Union, which has a 174-foot long digital sign around the top.With that
as the background, Key was asked recently if the success of two-time safeguarding nationwide champion Georgia gives him additional motivation to right the ship for the Yellow Jackets.
“Kirby [Smart has] done an amazing task,” Secret stated of Georgia’s head coach, who has actually led the Bulldogs to successive national championships. “He’s done a fantastic task. I give him all the credit in the world. But we have actually known each other because college. And I appreciate him as a coach, I respect him as a man, and I respect the task he’s done. For me to stress over what goes on down there, I got way too much to do here to worry about that.”
He continued, “Now, when I walked in this office complex [in January] of last year, and it was dark out, Georgia’s Own structure right there stated, ‘Congrats, Go Dawgs!’ Did that piss me off? Damn right it did.
“Did I call [strength coach] A.J. Artis up on the phone and tell him I want every single kid on our football group, when they’re finished with exercises to come outside and do arenas to the really leading of the stadium and gaze at it? You damn right I did.
“However to fret about what’s going on over there? I do not have time to do that.”
Brent Secret was a player and assistant coach at Georgia Tech, so he understands the possible and obstacles at the school. David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire THIS IS THE task Secret has actually constantly wanted. When he was bumped up from offending line coach to interim head coach after Geoff Collins’shooting four games into last season, Secret told ESPN he wasn’t imitating it was a temporary seat at the table. His instincts were right, and the interim tag was removed after the Yellow Jackets went 4-4 to close the campaign.While Key, who played
at Georgia Tech from 1997 to 2000, might have desired the task, it clearly has its challenges. Tech hasn’t made a bowl game because 2018, its longest drought considering that 1992-1996. Collins, who was hired to replace Paul Johnson, never won more than 3 games throughout his three-plus-year tenure. In attempting to draw in talent, the school competes with some potential roadblocks, consisting of higher academic requirements than numerous big-time programs and a metropolitan campus.Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets’in-state competing approximately 80 miles to the east is aiming to end up being the first team to pull off a nationwide title three-peat in nearly 90 years and has won 18 of the past 21 meetings in between the teams, including the last three by a combined rating of 134-21.
After his playing days, Secret was a graduate assistant at Tech for two years prior to a stop at Western Carolina, then a decade at UCF with his old head coach, George O’Leary. He spent 2016 through 2018 at Alabama before he went back to Atlanta as an assistant in 2019. He’s completely aware of the perceived issues of the job, and stated he does not purchase into them.
“People state,’ [The] school is hard, you need to take calculus.’ Look, I finished however I never took one calc class in my life. So I resemble, what are you discussing? I didn’t take calculus.
“Now, I failed the hell out of chemistry.
“Other individuals discuss being in Atlanta– appearance, Atlanta made me who I am. Atlanta is an astounding city, the culture, the diversity, the things you discover, it develops a bit of an edge to you.”
Among Key’s biggest priorities in attempting to turn things around is to make sure his team has an identity. He has a spreadsheet mapping out every hour of every day from the start of camp to the Georgia game on Nov. 25 in Atlanta.For every day
through camp, the top of every sheet had a goal of establishing the identity of the group.
“That’s what this camp has had to do with,” he said. “And people talk about playing to a standard and our standard. We have no requirement. There’s none. We have to create it. Nick Saban didn’t have a standard in 2006 at Alabama, he had his personal requirement. You need to produce those things.
“So what is our identity? We will be disciplined, we’re going to be tough as hell. This team is devoted to themselves, primary, and they’re committed to this football group. And then when the number is called, we have actually got to perform.
“You got to anticipate good things to take place rather than bad things. It’s one thing to state, ‘Well, if you believe it, you say it, we’re gon na talk it into reality.’ Yeah, you got to believe, however you got to work your ass off in between. … That’s what I desire our team to be. They say that there’s no greater compliment than a football team to take on the identity of the head football coach. That’s what I desire.”
Damon Stoudamire, who pertains to Georgia Tech
after being a Celtics assistant, was a head coach at Pacific. AP Photo/Charles Krupa KEY ISN’T THE just new coach trying to bring back old magnificence at Georgia Tech. Damon Stoudamire was employed in March to form the guys’s basketball program, and his mission– and method– resembles his football equivalent’s.
Stoudamire dipped into Arizona under the legendary Lute Olson and went on to play 13 seasons in the NBA, most especially with the Portland Path Sports Jackets. He concerned Atlanta after being an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics. This is his 2nd gig as a college head coach, having actually been at Pacific from 2016 until 2021.
Georgia Tech had a basketball team for several years, however Bobby Cremins turned it into a program in the 1980s and accumulated 354 wins over 19 seasons in Atlanta. The success continued to some degree under Paul Hewitt, who took the Yellow Jackets to a Last 4 in 2004.
However because Hewitt’s departure, Tech has actually made simply one NCAA competition look after a surprising ACC competition champion in 2021.
Like Secret, Stoudamire talked about wishing to build a standard, which he stated begins with durability.
“I wish to be the physically and psychologically tougher team,” Stoudamire stated. “I just think that wins games. We could speak about X’s and O’s and all those different things. However those two things there, and after that the relationship part of it. I approve client service, that’s what I like to call it. I just think that if you do not have relationships with your players, you do not have relationships in the office and different things, you can’t win.
“I have actually never ever actually wanted to look at training from a coaching perspective due to the fact that I approve the relationship part of it, and I think if a player feels good, he plays great.
“So what does that imply? If a person misses three in a row and he looks over, and the bench resembles, ‘Keep shooting, keep shooting.’ I do not respond, I try not to at least, because I don’t desire any person to play on how they see me react. I desire them to understand that Coach is calm, poised and staying in the minute.”
As far as reenergizing the fan base, Stoudamire thinks in the only service known to work anywhere and everywhere.
“I just think you got to win,” Stoudamire stated. “We can get gimmicky, we can do different things, however I believe you got to win. And I think individuals buy in. I simply think it’s pretty easy.”
After closing last season 4-4, including an overtime win over Duke, Brent Secret is positive there are more good times ahead. John Adams/Icon Sportswire
THE MODIFICATIONS AT Georgia Tech aren’t limited to the football and men’s basketball coaches. On the south end of Bobby Dodd Stadium is the Wardlaw Center, which itself is representative of the athletic department’s fresh start.Georgia Tech’s
athletic personnel is moving into the structure, which despite becoming part of the stadium for years was occupied by the Institute Development and Institute Communications departments.Settling into a new office is
athletic director J. Batt, himself just about 10 months into the task. He changed Todd Stansbury, who was AD from 2016 up until his firing in 2022. There are still some frames that need to go up on the walls in Batt’s office, which overlooks the field at Bobby Dodd Arena. His most treasured one, offered to him by Homer Rice, lists the initial credentials of the award called for Rice, given every year to an athletic director who has made a significant influence on their occupation and intercollegiate athletics.Batt concerned Atlanta from Alabama, where he had actually been considering that 2017, establishing himself as one of the nation’s leading
charity events as executive deputy director of sports, primary operating officer and chief revenue officer. However he recognizes with ACC athletics. He grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, and was a goalie for the North Carolina soccer group, assisting win a national title in 2001. He likewise operated at Maryland as the school transitioned from the ACC to the Huge Ten.Georgia Tech is Batt’s very first swing as an advertisement, and returning to the ACC was an instant draw for him.
But Batt saw the capacity for success since of institutional positioning, the history of Georgia Tech,”and then a group of alums and fans that care.””[ President Angel Cabrera] advance and said, ‘Hey, we’re going to make sports as
excellent as the academics of this institution. ‘And that was genuinely a huge part of it for me,” Batt stated.”This brand, this program– 4 championship games, I indicate, who else has Coach of the Year Bobby Dodd, Assistant of the Year [Frank] Broyles, Advertisement of the Year [Homer] Rice, Player of the Year [John] Heisman, “referencing the names of nationwide awards who have Georgia Tech ties. “There’s no other program with that amazing custom.” But the opportunity comes down to a top-down commitment to athletics, which appears to provide Batt– who has seen college programs run at the greatest level in Tuscaloosa– a sense that he can be the one to repair Georgia Tech.Connelly’s CFB sneak peeks
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“This guy’s walking the walk,” Batt said of Cabrera. “He is actually offering resources, he’s supplying access. I suggest, look at this building. This is a structure that’s remained in the football stadium for 30 years, sports has actually never ever inhabited it. Truly taking an advance, and focusing on sports. Moving us forward with our $85 million Student-Athlete Efficiency Center. That task is on a fast track to get done as quickly as we potentially can.”
The requirement for a fresh start, both on his group and in the athletic department as an entire, and the significance of the financial dedication was echoed by Key.
“That’s no different than the offensive line space needing an O-line coach that was completely different than I was,” he stated. “So that the line strolled in every day and it was new, it was various.
“Since when the interim has become the head coach, I’m sure there’s that worry of, ‘Well, what if some of it is the exact same? What is going to be different?’ … Thankfully, the positioning with J and Dr. Cabrera has allowed a great deal of these things to occur, knowing that those things matter.”
Among those things is the revamped football facility.
“People have a vision of what Georgia Tech is,” Key stated. “They think engineers and designers and numbers and all this unpopular stuff, and old, and the industrial age of all those things. I stated, ‘Well, think what?’
“Imagine the old locomotive going through the tunnel and it busts out the opposite, and it is among those bullet trains coming out going the speed of sound. That’s my vision of what Georgia Tech was and is. Individuals stroll in here, I don’t want to think the old things. I desire it to look like an Apple store.”
Along with the new performance center and increased profits through organization partnerships, Batt had 2 vital hires to make in his very first 6 months on the job.
“We’re trying to find partners,” he stated. “You understand, stepping in as the brand-new AD to Georgia Tech, the president stepped forward and linked arms with me and said, ‘Hey, we’re building this back.’ I think it had us trying to find individuals that were going to develop it with us.
“Brent and Damon, no complete strangers to effort, right? These guys are tremendous competitors with incredible passion to build it back. And so I was searching for a partner and both of those training hires, and certainly discovered it in both.”
With the clean slates, there’s a sense around Atlanta that better days are ahead. Rather than worry about what has actually failed, the focus is on what can be done right given everything Batt, Key and Stoudamire believe Georgia Tech has to provide.
“Given that I have actually been here, we discussed alignment,” Stoudamire said. “I have actually constantly preached that. I think football, basketball, with the president and AD, I think all that aligns. I have actually always had a stating when something wins, everyone wins. And I think with football and basketball, what a remarkable opportunity that we all have here.”
Key has a note pad that he started back in 2009 in which he made a note of whatever he wanted as a head coach. “One thing I never would have intended on was having a manager like J. Batt,” Secret stated. “He’s amazing.”
“To have a man that’s simply as driven, to have a person that does his task like football coaches do their job. It might be 9 or 9:30 during the night, and you’re here doing work, and to have an administrator just pop in and state, ‘Hey,’ due to the fact that they’re working, too.
“To know what that position appears like at the most successful program in the history of college football, and they understand what the most successful coach appears like, and how he sets about his organization, but likewise to be able to enable those things to happen, and after that provide the resources and to help those things. And if the resources aren’t there, he gets out on the street and gets things done.
“A lot of people come up with a great deal of concepts and sayings and all this sort of crap. He gets things done. He works. And when your manager is working that hard, it keeps you rolling now.
“You know everybody’s on the very same page.”