When Georgia Tech athletic director J Batt gave the floor to his new basketball coach, Damon Stoudamire pulled up his chair and prepared to give his introductory address.

“Wow,” he said before adjusting the microphone. “Is this on?”

He then delivered a statement that needed no words. He shook his head, closed his eyes and rubbed his brow with his right hand. He tried to collect himself, his eyes downward. Batt patted his back.

“Whoof,” Stoudamire said, shaking his head again. “It’s been a long time coming.”

For the third time in five months, media and Tech officials gathered in the trophy room of the Edge Center for a news conference to introduce a new leader within the athletic department. In October, it was Batt himself. In December, football coach Brent Key. On Tuesday, it was Stoudamire, tabbed by Batt as the Yellow Jackets’ 15th coach and giving voice to the same high aspirations that Batt and Key did before him.

“For me, it’s a really tradition-rich program,” he said. “One that I aspire to get back to winning championships, galvanizing the community, the student body and just getting this thing going in the right direction.”

The glory days of Tech basketball, when NCAA Tournament bids, sellout crowds and elite recruits were commonplace – Stoudamire remembers those almost as well as Jackets fans of a certain age. In his opening remarks, the 49-year-old coach reeled off the names of Bobby Cremins, Mark Price, Bruce Dalrymple, Duane Ferrell, Tom Hammonds, Dennis Scott, Kenny Anderson, Brian Oliver and Malcolm Mackey without barely stopping to take a breath.

Several Jackets luminaries came in support, including Roger Kaiser, James Forrest, Dion Glover, Mario West, Jon Babul, Mackey and Scott. After Stoudamire pointed out Forrest in the background, saying that he had coached his son in AAU basketball, Forrest called out, “Welcome, brother.”

The weight of Tech’s past is hefty – two Final Four trips, four ACC championships, 17 NCAA Tournament appearances and 19 first-round draft picks – and Stoudamire embraced it. He was willing to leave a position as an assistant coach with the title-chasing Boston Celtics because the two men who joined him at the news conference – Batt and school President Ángel Cabrera – plan for a renaissance, too.

In his only other head-coaching job – five seasons at the University of the Pacific (2016-21), where his record was 71-77 – Stoudamire said that “you’re trying to do the best you can” with a limited budget. Tech has been among the least-resourced teams in the ACC, but Stoudamire evidently heard enough.

“And you have an opportunity like this, this is something for me totally different,” Stoudamire said. “The shared vision, the collective vision of what we see moving forward, I heard all of that in our conversations, and that made me more than comfortable.”

Asked if he believed that the program was supported well enough and if he planned for more investment, Batt replied, “As Damon said, I think we’ve got a shared vision for what we’re going to do moving forward and what needs to be done to support him and help build the program.”

The process moved quickly after Batt met with coach Josh Pastner on Thursday night – the day that Tech returned from the ACC Tournament after losing in the second round to complete its season at 15-18. After hearing Pastner’s case, Batt said he decided Friday morning to make the change, calling upon the list of candidates that he had assembled in the months since his hire as he observed Pastner and his program.

Batt said he “visited with several nationally renowned coaches” with extreme interest in the job. That included Stoudamire, who was in Atlanta with the Celtics for their Saturday game against the Hawks.

Stoudamire was “just what we were looking for,” Batt said – a proven winner as a player and coach, a candidate with significant college coaching experience (before the Pacific job, he had served as an assistant at Arizona and Memphis, working at the latter job for Pastner) with the added bonus of NBA coaching experience with the Celtics. Batt said that, with his relationship skills and connections throughout basketball, “he will be able to change our recruiting trajectory immediately.”

Stoudamire plans to go after the state’s top players, a subset that largely has steered away from Tech for more than a decade, although it hasn’t been for a lack of trying.

“You start at home and then you venture out,” Stoudamire said. “It won’t take long to build relationships.”

The 2024 class in the state typically is rich. The top 10 players in the state (247Sports Composite) are among the top 115 in the entire class.

“You’ve got to make people talk to you that don’t want to talk to you,” Stoudamire said. “I look forward to re-creating what this was.”

As other coaches at Tech have tried with varying success, Stoudamire wants to use Tech’s academic strength and its Atlanta location as part of its recruiting pitch.

“This is a major, major hub here in Atlanta, and I don’t think that it’s been tapped into the way it can be tapped into,” Stoudamire said.

Said Scott, “I’m excited. The basketball speaks for itself. He’s one of those guys that can walk into homes now and have those real conversations about, ‘If your son’s good enough to go to the next level, why leave Atlanta?’ And I think that’s what’s been missing.”

Pastner, who did help get three of his players onto NBA rosters, did not go unmentioned. Batt and Cabrera offered their thanks to him; Cabrera said that Pastner “represented this institution extremely well.” In the end, Batt said, a change was necessary “for the long-term health of the program.”

Stoudamire said he had spoken with Pastner.

“I respect him more than anyone knows,” Stoudamire said. “I’ve known him for a very, very long time. I respect everything he stands for and everything he’s about.”

In a full day, Stoudamire was to meet individually with players Tuesday and Wednesday. That includes point guard Kyle Sturdivant, his godson. Stoudamire recalled holding him as a baby. The two remain close, and Stoudamire said that Sturdivant sometimes called him when facing “some bumps in the road,” suggesting that they included his frustrations about playing time. Stoudamire said that he sometimes didn’t answer the phone, wanting Sturdivant to figure out his problems on his own.

“Kyle’s a great young man,” Stoudamire said. “Great student, great ambassador for this university, and I look forward to coaching him.”

Stoudamire called the hire a full-circle moment. His sons, Damon Jr. and Brandon, grew up in the Atlanta area. Damon Jr. is a musician in Atlanta, while Brandon is on the basketball team at Division III Mary Baldwin in Virginia. The first recruit he ever landed, former Southwest DeKalb High four-star prospect Shaq Goodwin, was from the metro area.

“He’s always said, if the right opportunity (in Atlanta) ever presented itself, that he would take it,” Damon Jr. said. “This is the right opportunity.”

Big decisions await. He will have to hire a staff (he said he had no timetable), keep the players on the roster from going into the transfer portal, make the pitch to signee Blue Cain (a four-star prospect himself) to keep his allegiance to Tech and recruit the portal (which opened Monday), all the while getting to know his new school, city and team. He takes over a team that had its moments during Pastner’s tenure, particularly the 2021 ACC title, but was 27-38 in the past two seasons.

“I so look forward to getting this program where everybody wants to see it at,” Stoudamire said.

If he can do that, he won’t need a microphone to be heard.