In an email sent out to donors and football season-ticket holders Thursday morning, Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury shared his frustration and disappointment with the football team’s start to the season, but also stated his “total support” of coach Paul Johnson, his staff and team members.
“Coach Johnson is a fighter and he has proven time and again that he can mold a group of young men that can fight above their weight class,” Stansbury wrote. “I am confident that he and his team have a lot of fight left in them, to go along with a lot of ability and a lot of football still left to play.”
Tech is 1-3 with consecutive losses to South Florida, Pittsburgh and No. 3 Clemson. With each loss, calls for Johnson’s dismissal have grown louder and more frequent. The Yellow Jackets play Bowling Green on Saturday at Bobby Dodd Stadium.
While stating his appreciation for the passion therein, Stansbury also called social-media posts and emails that he has received – undoubtedly no shortage of which express dissatisfaction with Johnson – counterproductive to meeting the expectations held for the team. Instead, he urged fans and alumni to support the team through ticket purchases, donations and demonstrations of affirmation of the school, athletes and initiatives.
Stansbury also used the email to point out that Tech has “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.” He pointed out that three of the four semifinalists in last year’s College Football Playoff – Georgia, Clemson and Alabama – are within a three-hour drive of Tech’s campus.
He said he was frustrated by “always having to fight above our weight class” while noting that improvements that Tech has made to address that gap, such as the new locker room, upgraded nutrition center and training table and additional staff.
In sounding many of the notes that Johnson has often struck in his assessment of the team’s facilities and resources relative to its competition, Stansbury again aligned himself with the coach, affirming his credence in Johnson’s position. To compete in recruiting and on the field, Johnson has stated his need for a new locker room and additional staff for recruiting and quality control.
Stansbury concluded with a challenge to fans and alumni to continue to provide financial support of the team.
“I need all of our Georgia Tech Family to rally together behind this team and our athletics program, as well as decide if we’re all willing to do what’s necessary to put us in the same weight class as those we compete against on a regular basis,” he wrote.
The email, whose subject line was “Athletic Director’s Update,” is a regular communication sent out to donors and season-ticket holders, going out to approximately 16,000 recipients.