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Josh Pastner to ‘lock in’ on hiring for assistants

Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner watches his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in Atlanta, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)
Georgia Tech head coach Josh Pastner watches his team in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against North Carolina State in Atlanta, Thursday, March 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

Credit: Danny Karnik

Credit: Danny Karnik

Still in need of two full-time assistant coaches, Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said he will “lock in” on the search process in the month of May.

Pastner is seeking assistant coaches to replace Darryl LaBarrie, who resigned in February in the midst of an NCAA investigation, and Tavaras Hardy, who took the head-coaching job at Loyola-Maryland. Staff members Julian Swartz and Mario West have been filling in as interims.

Pastner said he is “strongly considering keeping Julian in the full-time role, but I have not made that decision.” Swartz has been in LaBarrie’s spot since November, when LaBarrie was put on leave, and has been active in recruiting since that point. Swartz previously was the recruiting and compliance director before he was elevated to the interim assistant position. He also worked four seasons with Pastner at Memphis in a variety of positions.

Former Georgia assistant Jonas Hayes and former Louisiana Tech assistant Tony Skinn are among coaches whom Pastner spoke with for the job, but both took positions elsewhere, Hayes at Xavier and Skinn at Seton Hall.

Pastner is not one to rush hires. After he was hired April 8, 2016, he didn’t complete his staff until nearly a month later. He points to his record of having seven former assistants become head coaches as vindication of his deliberate hiring methods.

Pastner, who while at Memphis hired a high-school coach who was the father of two blue-chip prospects (who had two younger brothers also seen as elite talents), said that all options are being considered.

“I think there’s great assistant coaches (at the college level), but on the high-school level and the (AAU) level, there’s a lot of good ones out there,” he said. “A lot. No one’s off the table. I don’t care if you’re a college coach, a high-school coach or a grass-roots coach. I’m looking at everybody.”

Pastner will have more time to devote to the search in May, as coaches are not permitted to leave campus to evaluate or meet with prospects during that month and June. In much of April, coaches are permitted leave campus to visits high schools, make home visits or evaluate prospects in competition. He said his goal is to have his coaching staff in place before June.