The search was fast. The search was quiet. The search was conducted with far more efficiency than many things at Georgia Tech have been in recent years.
Todd Stansbury will be the new athletic director at Georgia Tech. He checks all the boxes.
He played football at Georgia Tech for Bill Curry. He learned under the wise old athletic director, Homer Rice. He climbed the ladder in various athletic departments around the country, spending several years as an assistant as an assistant athletic director at Tech, then moving on to Houston, East Tennessee State and Oregon State.
When Central Florida was hit with NCAA scandal in 2012, it was Stansbury they hired to clean up the mess. He did such an impressive job over three years in fundraising and overseeing the school’s move from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference that he was offered a job at a Power 5 Conference school: Oregon State.
Central Florida president John Hitt couldn't be upset, just thankful: “Oregon State hired a winner in every sense of the word. Todd fostered a culture of academic and athletic success at UCF. He has done a marvelous job and the UCF family appreciates all he and Karen have done for the Knights. He will be missed.”
That was only last summer.
How badly did Georgia Tech want to bring Todd Stansbury back home? He was only one year into a five-year contract at Oregon State that paid him $500,000 per year plus incentives. Logic says this had to have cost Tech something. Maybe seven figures. With nearly four full years (or $2 million in salary) still left on the contract, there’s an assumption that Stansbury (read: Georgia Tech) had to satisfy Oregon State to some degree with a buyout.
So credit to Tech president Bud Peterson and members of the search committee for going to the wall to make this hire. Stansbury should be a significant improvement over his predecessor, Mike Bobinski, who left Georgia Tech for Purdue only six weeks ago.
Stansbury touched on all of the right talking points at his introductory news conference this morning. He said the Tech position is "more than just another A.D. job," to him and he went on to credit Curry and Rice for impacting his life. "I'd like to thank Bill Curry for showing me what the Tech way was. For the last 20 years away from the Flats I’ve done everything to bring the Tech way there.
"I was a freshman (during Rice's) first year here. My whole career, everything I’ve done, every program I’ve led, the DNA can be found here on The Flats."
Peterson said he "didn't have to twist his arm," when he asked Stansbury if he wanted the job."
Stansbury, responding to a question about keeping pace with facilities with institutions like Clemson and Georgia, said it's important to identify what an athletic program needs but added, "You don’t need a waterfall in your locker room."
As someone who just came from Oregon State, my guess is that was a veiled shot at Oregon, which has a waterfall in its football facility.
Stansbury has small shoes to fill.
Bobinski probably didn’t fully understand what he was getting into when he was hired to replace Dan Radakovich (who went to Clemson) and he certainly wasn’t prepared to either handle the budgetary issues in athletics or run a major athletic department with a football program.
Morale among Tech employees was at an all-time low. Some were fired. Others left. Bobinski’s uncommunicative management style was a contrast to Radakovich’s, leaving coaches uncertain about where they stood and what was expected.
One Tech insider told me, ““People in the department referred to him as ‘Sasquatch’ because we never saw him.”
Tech has lacked leadership and direction. But Stansbury's hire could be the first step toward fixing a lot of problems.
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