Georgia Tech’s Damon Stoudamire not retaining any assistant coaches

Georgia Tech assistant coach Julian Swartz before the Yellow Jackets' season opener against Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 9, 2021, at McCamish Pavilion. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

Credit: Danny Karnik

Credit: Danny Karnik

Georgia Tech assistant coach Julian Swartz before the Yellow Jackets' season opener against Miami (Ohio) on Nov. 9, 2021, at McCamish Pavilion. (Danny Karnik/Georgia Tech Athletics)

None of former Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner’s assistant coaches will be retained by new coach Damon Stoudamire. On social-media posts Friday, assistant coach Julian Swartz announced that his time at Tech had come to an end, and assistant coach Brian Eskildsen also will not have a place on Stoudamire’s staff, a person familiar with the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Decisions on support staff are pending. Rivals reported the news first.

Earlier this week, associate head coach Anthony Wilkins announced that he was not being retained. It is commonplace for new coaches to hire their own assistant coaches. Pastner himself brought in his own three assistants upon his hire at Tech in 2016.

Swartz had been with Pastner for his entire seven-year tenure, coming with him from Memphis as director of recruiting and compliance before being named an interim assistant coach during the 2017-18 season. He was elevated to full-time assistant coach after that season, a role he held through this past season.

“Honored to have worked with an amazing group of young men & staff,” Swartz wrote in posts on his social-media accounts along with a list of team and player accomplishments achieved during Pastner’s (and his) tenure. “Very proud of all we accomplished under Coach Pastner (with $0 NIL or opportunity).”

Eskildsen was hired by Pastner from Harvard in June, having been an assistant coach with the Crimson for the previous eight seasons. Eskildsen was hired by Pastner in part because of his recruiting strength in Canada and at prep schools. One of Tech’s late-signing recruits in the 2022 class, forward Cyril Martynov, is a Canadian national who played at a New Jersey prep school. Eskildsen primarily worked with Tech’s post players, helping forward Ja’von Franklin accumulate seven double-doubles in the Yellow Jackets’ final nine games and only the fifth triple-double in team history.

Swartz’s on-court responsibilities were focused on defense, where the Jackets finished in the top 75 in Division I in defensive efficiency (KenPom) three times in his five seasons as a full-time assistant coach. He also led the recruitment of Deebo Coleman, Miles Kelly and Jalon Moore in the 2021 signing class that ranked 30th in Division I (247Sports Composite), the highest ranking of any of Pastner’s seven classes at Tech. Guard Blue Cain, a 2023 four-star signee, also was recruited by Swartz, whom Cain likened to a big brother. (Since Pastner’s dismissal March 10, Cain asked for and received a release from his letter of intent to reopen his recruitment.

Swartz also benefited players with his own life experiences. Facing mental-health challenges – he was diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder in high school – Swartz gave up his playing career at Wisconsin, which led him into coaching. His experience and background in counseling made him a skilled and sympathetic resource for players facing their own mental-health issues.

“First of all, I think he’s an outstanding person and also a coach,” Tech guard Kyle Sturdivant said of Swartz in 2021. “He’s always there outside of basketball, always an ear to listen and a voice of reason, not only for me, but I feel like for all the players.”

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