Friday, June 20, 2008

D-Rad's Extension - Good Idea?

At this point I don't think anyone really questions the hire of Dan Radakovich. However, I was curious about your thoughts on him getting an early contract extension this week. He just signed a new 5-year deal after a 2-year performance review.

Here's what we know about his contract:

New base salary = $300,000 / year
Supplemental income = $260,000 in year 1, increasing by $20,000 / year.

Salary year 1 = $560,000
Last year he made $477,000

What has Mr.Radakovich done in 2 years? There are primarily two faces of success to examine and both are somewhat intertwined. There's the front-end - wins, losses, championships, all-americans, graduation rates, program excitement & momentum. I also put coaching hire decisions on the front-end since they are so public. Then there's the back-office stuff - fundraising, investment in facilities, organization building, GTAA balance sheet / income statement, etc.

On the front-end, two years really isn't long enough for D-Rad's impact to be felt. We have experienced some strong success in women's sports, but it's been in bumpy ride in the "big 3" men's sports. D-Rad has basically put his stamp of approval on all legacy coaching hires except Chan Gailey. In the highest profile program, he recognized that something needed to change "off the field" to generate more excitement and energy. So he brings in Paul Johnson. Only time will tell if this was a master-stroke. While there was a clear split in the fan-base on if Chan Gailey should stay or go, once the decision was made, the vast majority of fans seem to like the new hire and where he's taking things. Of course it's going to be a rough first year and it's going to be a long-term process. Patience will be required.

Behind the scenes, D-Rad has taken some tough steps to get the GTAA back in the black. It's always painful to change the ticketing fees and season ticket structure, but honestly there wasn't much choice. If Georgia Tech wants to be competitive on the field, they've got to be competitive off the field. That means money for facilities, academic support, to keep the gears greased. It means separating us from more of our money - all in the name of progress. It means attracting more fans, particularly the non-alumni. It's necessary and difficult at the same time to raise ticket prices. In terms of fundraising, I don't think we have a good idea of the change in fundraising activities with donors at this point. We do know he managed to extract more money out of the students with an increased activity fee, and overall we know GTAA's financial picture has postive momentum. Looking at the facilities, there are capital projects on a new softball complex and fundraising is ongoing for a hoops practice facility by next year. So he's gets good marks on the behind the scenes stuff at this point.

All-in-all, I have no problem with the contract extensions. He done a lot of good things and seems to be building a good foundation for future success. He is energetic and has passion. He reaches out and talks to everyone he can. He's trying to build bridges. He's trying to connect new fans with Georgia Tech. While he has also been named in a couple of recent AD searches, including LSU and U of Washington, he has withdrawn his name from both. You want guys that other people want. You just want them to stay where they are. So far so good.

So kudos to Dan Radakovich for the progress so far. Keep up the good work!!

That's my opinion - what's yours?