Sunday, January 29, 2006

A Look Back in Time

Ran across this article from ESPN detailing the hiring of a new head basketball coach at Georgia Tech - some guy named Paul Hewitt

Hewitt replaces Cremins at Tech

ATLANTA -- Mirroring a move that occurred 19 years ago, Georgia Tech has turned to a relatively unknown coach to rebuild its basketball program.

Siena coach Paul Hewitt was introduced Thursday as Bobby Cremins' replacement at Georgia Tech -- where he becomes the Yellow Jackets' first black coach. Hewitt had told's Andy Katz on Wednesday that he was accepting the job.

"There are very few places I can imagine are better for me," Hewitt said. "Today a dream has come true for me and my family."

Hewitt, who signed a five-year deal, was 67-27 in three years at Siena.

"We were looking for a coach who is a great recruiter, a very good communicator and an excellent teacher," said Georgia Tech athletic director Dave Braine. "Paul fits all three of these qualifications very well."

Hewitt, 36, a former assistant at Villanova and Fordham, is known as a strong recruiter and favors a running, up-tempo style popular with fans. Siena averaged more than 6,500 per game over the last two years to lead the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in attendance.

"I feel like I'm very prepared to take the job," Hewitt said today. "I expect to win next year. I have high expectations."

Braine said Hewitt "coaches an exciting brand of basketball, and he feels confident in being able to bring people back into our coliseum and recreate the Thrillerdome atmosphere of the 1980s and early '90s."

Former Southern Cal coach George Raveling, who Hewitt worked under at USC, told ESPN that Braine said he was "blown away" by Hewitt. Braine told Raveling that he saw Hewitt as another Tommy Amaker, the successful young Seton Hall coach.

Hewitt rebuilt a Siena program that went 23-59 in the three years before he arrived. His contract at the Loudonville, N.Y., school runs through the 2002-03 season, but includes a buyout provision that allowed him to take the Georgia Tech job.

Cremins was a 33-year-old coach at tiny Appalachian State when Georgia Tech hired him as coach in 1981. He pushed the Yellow Jackets to national prominence, recruiting such players as Mark Price, John Salley, Kenny Anderson, Dennis Scott and Stephon Marbury -- who all went on to the NBA.

Under Cremins, Tech went to the NCAA Tournament nine years in a row and 10 times overall, including the 1990 Final Four. The Yellow Jackets fell on hard times during the latter stages of Cremins' 19-year tenure, reaching the tournament only once the last seven seasons.

At Siena, meanwhile, Hewitt guided the Saints to the NCAA tournament in 1999, its first appearance in 10 years. The Saints finished 24-9 this year, losing to Penn State in the second round of the NIT.

Hewitt takes over a program that has fallen to the bottom of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Yellow Jackets (13-17) will lose Jason Collier, their top scorer and rebounder, and shot-blocking center Alvin Jones may enter the NBA draft a year early.

Cremins announced Feb. 18 that he would not return, saying the Tech program needed a new direction. He accepted $1.5 million to buy out the final three years of his contract.

Hewitt was a late entry into the coaching search after higher-profile candidates Leonard Hamilton of Miami and Bill Self of Tulsa agreed to contract extensions.

Among the others mentioned as candidates for the Tech job were Appalachian State's Buzz Peterson, Delaware's Mike Brey and Dayton's Oliver Purnell.