With just nine days until tipoff, we’re going to take a closer look at new head coach Josh Pastner, who comes to Atlanta after seven seasons as head coach of Memphis. Pastner has developed an exciting staff composed of Eric Reveno, Tavaras Hardy, and Darryl LaBarrie, who all bring something unique to the staff.
As previously mentioned, Pastner comes to Tech after spending seven seasons at Memphis, where he replaced John Calipari when he left for Kentucky. After a strong first five seasons, things were looking bright for Pastner, but quickly went downhill over the next two years. Although 18-14 and 19-15 are not terrible records, neither were good enough for postseason play and Memphis fans quickly turned on the head coach. This is where Georgia Tech enters the picture. The opportunity to come to Atlanta gave both schools what they wanted and allowed for Josh to get a fresh start, at a school fits him much better than Memphis ever did. Pastner should have no problem relating to Georgia Tech student athletes considering he took 33 (yes, 33) credits in his fifth semester as a walk on basketball player at Arizona.
That level of work ethic and passion has helped Pastner gain a reputation as one of the nation’s top recruiters. He continuously pulled in top talent at Memphis and should have a field day recruiting at an ACC school in one of the nation’s most fertile grounds for basketball talent. In about half a year, Pastner has already made connections with many of the top players in the country. An example? The Jackets are in the top four schools for top 10 players Wendell Carter Jr. and Collin Sexton, both from Georgia. Josh is already building relationships with some of the top players in the 2018, 2019, and even the 2020 recruiting classes and the result should be some elite talent playing on the flats in the coming years.
Pastner is still young and is learning every day. Already the second winningest active coach under the age of 40 in college basketball, he says he learned from his mistakes at Memphis and feels free of the pressure of following one of the game’s greatest coaches. At Memphis, he felt a constant need to sustain the excellence that Calipari built and he is excited to have the opportunity to build his own legacy from the ground up.
Be sure to check out a couple of our previous articles reacting to the Pastner hire!
A former college player at Stanford, Reveno is considered one of the best big man coaches in college basketball. Pastner brought Reveno onto the staff after he was dismissed from Portland, where he was the head coach for 10 seasons. Despite other opportunities to continue as a head coach, Reveno thought the opportunity with the Jackets was too good to pass up due to Tech’s academic reputation and the type of student athlete that that reputation brings. Combined with his prior history of big man recruitment (Rivals.com voted him as one of the nations top 25 recruiters in 2006) and development, Reveno can use his head coaching experience to be an excellent resource for Pastner, who at 39, is still learning every day.
With previous stops at Georgetown and Northwestern, Hardy knows what it takes to succeed at a school that values academics. Tavaras is considered to be an outstanding recruiter (notice a trend?) and was the lead recruiter on many of the top players that were brought in at Georgetown and Northwestern. He was an All-Big Ten player at Northwestern, where he ranks second in games played. Hardy is expected to work primarily with wings and post players.
The former Tech guard with hair that is impossible to forget returns back to his alma mater for the second time around. After holding an assistants role under Paul Hewitt, LaBarrie spent five seasons in downtown Atlanta at Georgia State before returning to midtown when Pastner was hired. In addition to his time at Georgia Tech and Georgia State, LaBarrie was a coach for one of the areas top AAU programs, the Atlanta Celtics. All that experience has allowed Darryl to develop a strong relationship with many local high school and AAU coaches and programs, making him a critical piece in many local players recruitments. He will work primarily with the guards.
Despite not being one of the primary assistant coaches, Rio gets an honorary mention from us here. A Yellow Jacket from 2003-2007, Mario was always a fan favorite during his time on the flats. After spending nearly a decade bouncing around between the NBA and different international leagues, West finds himself back on the flats as the Director of Player Personnel. Welcome home Mario!