52-62, that is Georgia Tech Head Coach Brian Gregory’s record in three plus seasons at the helm of the Jackets, and this year is looking like it may be his worst with the Jackets currently in the cellar at 0-7 in the ACC. It looks like it is time for another change at Tech. Before Gregory, Paul Hewitt amassed a 190-162 record through 11 seasons, unspectacular if you take away the 2003-04 run to the National Championship. In those 11 years, Hewitt managed six winning seasons. Hewitt’s tenure went south after too many up and down seasons. Three of his last four seasons ended up with the loss column fatter than the winning column.
Gregory was plucked from Dayton after a 172-94 record including multiple trips to the NCAA Tournament and a NIT Championship. The move from A-10 to the powerful ACC seemed like a no-brainer. A strong coach at an emerging school making the leap to the ACC with a strong southeastern recruiting region seemed like the perfect fit. Georgia Tech, who usually manages to hold its own in recruiting, was supposed to bring in enough talent to at least be competitive in the ACC, but instead that has not been the case.
Gregory has managed to ink four 4-star prospects, but many have not panned out. Robert Carter was a key cog inside a year ago averaging over 11 points and eight rebounds, but he has since transferred to Maryland. Guard Solomon Poole was kicked off the team last February and is now Florida Atlantic’s leading scorer. Freshman Tadric Jackson from Tifton is shooting 25 percent and is just 5-51 from beyond the arc. Tech’s lone highly-touted recruit that has actually panned out has been Marcus Georges-Hunt, who is now a junior and leads the Jackets in scoring.
The talent has been there as far as recruiting sites say. Virginia has had just two more 4-star players in the same time Gregory has been at Tech, and Tony Bennett has turned the Cavaliers into the best defensive team in the nation and one of only two schools left this season to be undefeated. Bennett’s Cavs held Georgia Tech to their lowest output in ACC history as they managed just 28 points last Thursday.
If Gregory can’t turn things around, Tech (9-10, 0-7) should be ready to go in another direction. The ACC has only gotten tougher with the additions of Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Notre Dame, and Louisville. The Jackets have not been able to keep up with the dearth of exceptional talent and coaching. The best record Coach Gregory has managed so far is 6-12 in back to back seasons. Six of their seven ACC losses this season have been by single digits, but moral victories won’t keep any coach around. Coach Hewitt, although not an offensive genius, always had teams that could score the ball and be primed to pull an upset. In his 11 seasons, the Yellow Jackets averaged 74.25 points a night. Under Gregory, that number has dropped to 63.67; the second lowest in the ACC. The Jackets struggle to share the ball and hit open shots—a recipe for disaster. They shoot a miserable 25 percent from deep which allows teams to sag off shooters and load the paint.
Gregory has seemingly tried to hang his hat on defense during his time at Georgia Tech which isn’t a bad idea, but when your team is that inept at scoring it doesn’t make much of a difference. Tech has managed to play games tight, but once the bullets start flying in the second half, they have no playmakers to get a shot off. It definitely has been a rough three plus years for Coach Gregory. He by no means has the most talented roster in the ACC, but there is enough talent to be in the hunt for at least a NIT bid. If this season continues to sputter and Georgia Tech cannot gain any ground, Gregory’s seat should rightfully be on fire. If he is still with the program this offseason, it might be a good idea for him to meet with Paul Johnson and figure out how to turn things around and in the process, save his job.