I decided to compile a record of Director Radakovich's tenure at Tech, to see where he came in and where he left us, as well as to look at the future a little bit. Since I wasn't in any way associated with Tech when he showed up (just barely, as Joey will be want to point out I'm sure), the beginning times might be a little sketchy, but I'll do my best to get the history accurate.
In the beginning, there was a man without a Braine. He had just been fired, and stingtalk (representative sample of your normal, sane GT fan that they are) was cheering, but hopeful for a real businessman to come in and take over a athletic program struggling financially, academically, and physically. But who to get to right the ship? Not surprisingly, Bill Curry's name was floated around at the time, as well as former football/baseball player Cam Bonifay. But president Clough wanted someone who "be familiar with the workings of a major college athletics program and understand the 'character' of a small, specialized school," and none of these guys fit that bill. Clough decided to go with a candidate with athletic administration experience at a major southern program and hired Dan Radakovich out of LSU in 2006. Radakovich inherited a program rife with strife including, but not limited to:
- A coach with a contract a 6 month old monkey with down syndrome would not write.
- An academic scandal.
- A program that had the expressed stamp of disapproval by its own director.
- A football team that had a loss of scholarships and a coach seemingly pleased with mediocrity.
And made a hell of a thing out of it. He oversaw the transition of the football team from 7-5 to ACC champs, raised the money to get rid of the aforementioned "monkey contract" coach, and raised our athletic facilities up to the grade of "best in the nation." He did all of this while keeping the program in the black, which is a truly impressive feat of fiscal finagling. His administration oversaw 14[sic] ACC championships, a new basketball arena, a new tennis complex, and a new indoor football facility. The only real (read: big) negative was his dealings with the NCAA, which is what you get when you have a finance guy doing a lawyer's work. Admittedly, though, he didn't screw up that bad, and did what anyone without a law degree would've done given the situation. One interesting thought, though: he admitted at his introductory press conference that he went looking for this job when it was announced that Climpson's AD was retiring. Whether that points to him being sick of GT or simply wanting more money is only for him to say and know, but that doesn't mean you can't bitch about it in the comments section!
Now, a little bit on the future of the program. I'm not going to start throwing around names, because A.) I have no facts or accurate information regarding the decision and B.) that could be a whole article in itself. What we can do is examine Bud Peterson's history with the hiring/firing of athletic personel at major universities. What's that, you say? He's never done it before? Well, crap. After some pretty exhaustive research, I discovered that he has only made one AD hire in his academic administration tenure, Mr. Ken Ralph at RPI on May 30th, 2002 after the previous AD retired in the middle of 2001. Firstly, it took him almost a year to find a new AD. I don't know about you, but that's not very comforting to me. Secondly, in my research, I didn't encounter much about the success of Mr. Ralph. Granted, he was overseeing athletics at a school where they care more about hockey than football, but still! The biggest accomplishment I could find in Ralph's tenure was the women's hockey team moving up to division I in 2005, and a fundraising project to build some new athletic facilities. My point is, Peterson may not have the experience or know-how to know how to pick 'em based on what the fans want and what the program needs. Here's hoping the search committee's good.