This week we're going to take a look at some of the leaders in our athletics department and give them a "performance review", checking in on their time and success here at the Institute. First up, the leader of the leaders, Athletic Director Dan Radakovich.
Director Radakovich is in his 6th year on the Flats after being hired to replace Dave Braine in 2006. In his time here, we've seen some pretty big changes in our sports teams and some bigger ones in our on-campus facilities. Hires that Radakovich has made include two more men who will be discussed this week in our head football coach Paul Johnson and head men's basketball coach Brian Gregory. It would seem that we have a lot of the right people in place, as our programs have seen a lot of success and our coaches have received significant recognition during DRad's tenure in the form of ACC and national coach of the year awards (10 and 3 times, respectively). His term has also seen the renovation of the McCamish Pavilion (neé Alexander Memorial Coliseum), the development of the indoor football practice facility, the renovation of the softball field, the creation of the Zelnak basketball practice facility, and the renovation of the Edge center to include more academic support services for student athletes (the tennis center is soon to undergo major renovations as well).
He's done quite a lot of good for the school's athletic programs, but there have also been some downsides. The fan base seems to largely be placing the blame on Radakovich for the loss of the 2009 ACC Football Championship, saying it was his poor administration that caused that to happen. Some are also frustrated with our recent lack of success in basketball (though I think that's more due to the bed that was made for Radakovich by the documented brilliance of one Dave Braine), and there are always the folks looking for Paul Johnson to be fired. Another major issue folks have with him is our continued inability to sell enough tickets to fill Bobby Dodd Stadium while other local programs don't have such an issue. Finally, the financial state of the athletic department isn't exactly what one would call ideal, as we suffer from Paul Hewitt's enormous buyout and have to make payments on our newly developed facilities.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with Dan Radakovich as Georgia Tech's athletic director. I think some folks have issues with him here or there, but in his 6 years on the Flats, he's done some incredible things for our campus and our school. The only sports that our school isn't a major national player in are football and basketball, and even then football can be debated on what counts as a major national player while basketball is in a rebuilding stage and is providing reason to be encouraged looking forward. As far as the ticket sales go, I would like to see a different approach taken that focuses more on attendance than money, but at the same time our athletic department's financial situation may not allow for a strategy along those lines at this point in time. Regardless, I think it's fair to say that the fans as a whole are generally pleased with Director Radakovich, and I personally look forward to seeing how he continues to better our campus, our institution, and our athletic programs.