Georgia Tech baseball coach Danny Hall, whose team has failed to make the NCAA tournament for three of the past four seasons, has the support of his athletic director.
“He knows the game,” athletic director Todd Stansbury told the AJC on Thursday. “He’s had a lot of success, and he’s willing to put in the time and energy to figure out what we (need to do), and he’s willing to make some changes if that’s what we need to do.”
Hall’s record of success at Tech in 25 seasons is undeniable. With a record of 1,019-532-1, Hall is by far the winningest coach in team history and led the Yellow Jackets to the only three College World Series trips in school history (1994, 2002 and 2006). In 25 seasons, Tech players have earned 120 All-ACC honors, including six this season. Catcher Joey Bart was selected second overall in the Major League Baseball draft Monday, the highest ever selection in team history.
However, the Jackets have struggled in recent seasons as the ACC has expanded and become more competitive. Between 1994 and 2011, Tech had a winning record in ACC play every year but one. In the seven years since, the Jackets have had a losing record in league play every year but one. After making the NCAA tournament 19 times in his first 21 seasons, the Jackets have failed to earn a berth three of the past four seasons, including this past season.
Since Tech’s last College World Series appearance, in 2006, the Jackets have not advanced past the regional round of the NCAA tournament. In that same time, 10 ACC teams have made a total of 37 super-regional appearances. Six ACC schools have made 18 College World Series trips. For good measure, they’ve lost six consecutive games to archrival Georgia.
Hall said he did not feel his future with Tech has been in jeopardy.
“But I do know the great thing about being at Georgia Tech is that we have an athletic director that really wants us to be good at baseball,” Hall told the AJC. “So he’s willing to do whatever he can on his end to make sure that happens, so that’s the good part. And then secondarily, we have a great school to recruit to and they’re doing a lot on the facilities side. We’re trying to improve in that area, as that’s what we feel like we need to improve to make our program viable.”
Stansbury said he was disappointed in the outcome of this season, which ended with a 31-27 record. Injuries played a factor, as they have in recent seasons. The Jackets were perhaps three wins shy of postseason consideration.
“We’re in the process of doing a 360 (degree review) of what do we need to do to kind of get back to where we’ve been,” he said.
Stansbury said that Hall has taken a “deep dive” into all aspects of the team to determine solutions.
“Some of this actually started last year because, obviously, we didn’t have a great year last year,” Stansbury said. “And so that’s where he started the process of really analyzing how they were doing things.”
Stansbury recognized the competitiveness of the league and Tech’s schedule, which he saw as a “good news/bad news” scenario, in that Tech won’t ever have a problem with strength of schedule, but has to win games against quality opponents.
“Danny Hall and I are kind of looking at all of those (factors) and really trying to identify where are the pinch points – what do we need to do?” Stansbury said.
Russ Chandler Stadium underwent a $4.5 million renovation of facilities underneath the stands in 2014-15, which included a new locker room and training and weight rooms. An additional $9 million project to enhance player development and fan experience is part of the $125 million capital campaign that was announced on Thursday. About $6.5 million had already been committed as of April.
“I think (Athletics Initiative 2020) is important because facilities are so incredibly important, and being able to provide our student-athletes with what they need,” Stansbury said.
Hall just completed the second year of a five-year extension awarded to him before the 2016-17 academic year. It pays him $395,000 annually.