Coach and AD fired, ex-player named interim coach

In a statement, Cabrera thanked Collins for his hard work and commitment to his players.

“Unfortunately, the results of our football program have fallen short of the level expected and deserved by our loyal community, fans and athletes,” he said. “We are committed to rebuilding the program, and the coaching change is a necessary first step in that process.”

He said Stansbury will always be respected and admired in the tech community and his dedication and love for tech and its athletes is admirable.

“Unfortunately, the results of our football program have fallen short of what our loyal community, fans and athletes expected and deserved.”

Tech president Angel Cabrera after football coach Jeff Collins fired

“The challenges facing sports in recent years have grown to the point where we need to try new approaches, and that requires new leadership,” said Cabrera, who declined to be interviewed.

Frank Neville, Cabrera’s chief of staff and senior vice president of strategic initiatives, has been named interim AD. Neville was Cabrera’s right-hand man and arrived with George Mason’s Cabrera in 2019. The fact that Cabrera has installed an interim player from outside the athletics department, rather than a Stansbury subordinate, could signal that more changes could be on the horizon.

Offensive line coach Brent Kee, a technical alumnus, has been named interim coach. Key, an All-ACC player who played for coach George O’Leary from 1997-2000, was one of Collins’ original hires. The final eight games of the regular season, starting with the Yellow Jackets at Pitt on Saturday, could be Key’s chance to earn him a full-time job.

Athletic department staff were informed of the dismissals of Stansbury and Collins during a late-night meeting in the rugby team’s conference room on Monday. Cabrera and Neville addressed the staff in a brief meeting. Neville is not considered a candidate for a full-time job.

Of Tech’s 13 full-time head coaches, Collins became the fifth coach to be fired and the second (after Bill Lewis in 1994) to lose his job by the end of the season.

In one post, a technician called Monday a “surreal day, but we have to move forward. As always, our concern is with amazing and resilient student-athletes.”

Another staff member: “Todd treats coaches, staff and student-athletes with respect, dignity and fairness. He leads with integrity. He loves Georgia Tech and it shows.”

Of Tech’s nine full-time ads, Stansbury became the first to be fired. Probably no one treasures the job more than Stansbury, a technical graduate (1984) and ex-footballer. He was hired from Oregon State University in 2016 and was eager to sit in the same position as Homer Rice, Stansbury’s school advert and eventual mentor.

“It’s like a family member because I’ve always felt that way about our players, and he’s one of our players,” tech superstar Bill Curry said of Stansbury in an interview with AJC. “I’m just sorry to everyone involved.”

Parker Headhunter has signed on to lead a search for new advertising and coaching. Typically, an AD must be available to hire a coach — it’s unlikely that a coach would accept the job without knowing who the AD is — and time is of the essence. When Stansbury’s predecessor, Mike Bobinski, left Tech for Purdue in August 2016, Stansbury was hired six weeks later and didn’t take the job until late November.

Tech companies have an advantage in coaching searches in September, but that lead may not be as useful without AD running.

exploreBradley: Georgia Tech needs #404Makeover

Collins, who joined in December 2018, is eager to elevate the Yellow Jackets to college football’s elite.

His plan starts with branding and culture, the first is to attract recruits to tech, and the second is to prevent player transfers. Collins promotes the team with energy and positivity, and is active on social media himself, creating a buzz among players and fans. When he acquired four-star running back Jamis Griffin from Roman High School in February 2019, it was seen as evidence of how he was winning a key recruit at Georgia State.

The class of 2020, his first full class, made an even bigger splash, finishing 27th nationally (247Sports Composite). That’s the highest ranking for Tech since a landmark class in 2007 that included future NFL draft picks Derrick Morgan, Morgan Burnett and Jonathan Dwyer, who Collins helped bring in as director of player personnel. At the core is Dalton High School’s four-star running back Jameer Gibbs, one of four four-star signers. Collins has often suggested that higher-level classes are coming soon, which has fueled the enthusiasm of the tech fanbase.

Tech, however, had trouble competing from the start as its offense shifted from former coach Paul Johnson’s successful selection program. Perhaps to set expectations, Collins isn’t shy about selling the scope of the transformation as historic. But while the tech offense faces challenges, so does the defense.

Collins went 3-9 in his first season of 2019, with an early-season loss to Fortress (and its option offense) as the most troubling result. The pandemic has created more problems in 2020 as hiring and growth have been hampered. The Jackets finished the season 3-7, including a 73-7 loss at home to the then No. 1 team. 1 Clemson. It was the most decisive loss for a tech company since 1894.

Meanwhile, the 2021 signing class, Tech’s efforts hampered by the pandemic, may have been the Jackets’ poor performance on the field, 47th overall. 55th in the Class of 2022.

Collins has set higher expectations ahead of the 2021 season with “WIN21” as his motto. Tech has the up-and-coming duo of Gibbs and quarterback Jeff Sims, a key addition from the transfer portal, and the sense that the Jackets are on the verge of a turnaround after a two-year run-in.

“We have some very good players; we have some very good coaches,” Collins said preseason. “We have to put it all together and focus every day on being very, very good, and we have a chance to be.”

The season started with a bang, with a 22-21 home win over Northern Illinois, which failed to win a game in 2020 (though the Huskies would go on to win the MAC title). The Jackets’ mistakes and questionable coaching decisions in that game set the stage for a season they would once again end with three wins. One of them was the highest of his tenure, beating the top-ranked North Carolina team 45-22 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

After the season, Collins fired offensive coordinator Dave Paternold and two second-level coaches in what was the start of a huge blunder. Most notably, All-American running back Gibbs left the transfer portal, one of 13 players to leave after the season. Four assistant coaches and general manager Patrick Soders also left voluntarily for other jobs.

Collins hired proven offensive coordinator Chip Lang and instead devoted more time to assisting defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker. Before the season, he talked about the team’s strengths and focus.

But the first three seasons have plagued tech — mental errors and lack of discipline — combined with a lineup that relied heavily on inexperienced players. After a 42-0 home loss to top-25 Ole Miss on Sept. 9, fan sentiment was strongly against Collins. 17, Saturday’s loss to UCF seemed to push Collins over the edge.

The final ledger assigned Collins four total losses, including the Tech’s first at home since 1957. In his 38 games, the Jackets have lost six by 40 points or more. The previous six games spanned 42 seasons.

In his less than six years in office, Stansbury has had many successes. Most notably, he led a $125 million capital campaign that was completed during the pandemic but still exceeded its target by $50 million. At the heart of the campaign is a $75 million renovation of the division’s headquarters, the Edge Center, which is expected to break ground after the football season.

Most of Tech’s non-revenue teams, especially volleyball, have become more competitive nationally and within the ACC. In the 2020-21 school year, eight teams competed in their sports’ NCAA tournaments, tying the school record set in the 2009-10 school year. Last year, for the first time at a school, every women’s program — basketball, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field and volleyball — sent a team or individual to the NCAA playoffs.

However, his tenure was not without flaws. He was sued by his former employer, Oregon State University, in December 2019 for not repaying all $2.1 million he owed the school for violating his contract with the school to work at Tech. The lawsuit was filed three months after Cabrera took office, rather than starting entirely on the right foot.

Oregon State University sued even though the institute offered Stansbury a $1.1 million loan if he fulfilled his five-year contract and also received a $900,000 salary, more than his predecessor (Bobin). Skye) received $200,000 more in salary, which will be waived. .

After the lawsuit was filed, Stansbury received another loan from the institute, this time $1.6 million, in January 2020 to pay off outstanding debts, and he also took a pay cut of nearly $300,000 to $650,000. It would also be forgivable if Stansbury held out until 2025. (Under the terms of the contract, the remainder of the loan is now forgiven for termination without cause.) But, perhaps also worth noting, the contract has no duration, and he is entitled to six months’ salary if fired. Getting $325,000 for being fired is cause for celebration in most circles, but for the athletic director of a power-conference school, it’s a sign that he’s on a closer footing with a president who took office months before the lawsuit. on thin ice.

Also, while some are out of his control, the division’s revenue has taken a hit due to the lag in ticket sales due to the football team’s performance. The transition from Johnson to Collins has also been costly, as has the impact of COVID-19. In June 2016, a few months before Stansbury took office, the department had a funding balance of $6.6 million. In June 2022, it had a deficit of $12.1 million.

While it has adapted to larger cultural trends, the department has also experienced significant turnover in recent years and has struggled to fill open positions.

But politically, none of those shortcomings compare to Stansbury’s support for Collins, who hired Collins to replace Johnson in December 2018 to carry out his own search. He grabbed attention with a seven-year deal and a $3 million starting salary, almost as much as the more accomplished Johnson could get in 2019.

Stansbury also provided a larger salary pool for Collins’ assistant coaches and authorized the hiring of more non-coaching staff.

But the results were never shown on the pitch. The ill-fated, 2021 season-ending Collins weekly radio show saw Collins as “my man,” just days after Tech was smothered by eventual national champion Georgia State in a swarm of red-shirted bullfights at Bobby Dodd Stadium in front of canine fans. Stansbury’s loyalty to Collins infuriated donors, as did his decision not to urge Collins to replace defensive coordinator Andrew Thacker, whose unit ranks 117th in FBS’s overall defense. Even with a tight budget, he authorized the hiring of offensive coordinator Long for twice his predecessor Patenaude’s salary ($800,000) (though this brings Tech in line with the salaries of other ACC coordinators, like Patenaude and Thacker, or in salaries). near the bottom of the coordinator’s meeting).

By doing so, he tied his destiny to Collins.

When Collins failed to show progress on the mission set by Stansbury — a 42-0 home loss to top-25 Ole Miss was particularly costly — it was written on the wall for both.

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