Georgia Tech has fired men’s basketball coach Josh Pastner after seven seasons. The school announced that the decision was made due to the team’s lack of success, with only one NCAA tournament appearance in Pastner’s tenure. The firing comes with a hefty price tag, as Pastner had three years left on his contract, resulting in a buyout of approximately $2.5 million.
Disappointing Couple of Years for Yellow Jackets
Despite winning the ACC tournament in 2021, Georgia Tech failed to qualify for the NCAA tournament in the two subsequent seasons. Georgia Tech’s athletic director, J Batt, stated that the college basketball program is essential to the institution, and they will not shy away from expecting to consistently compete for ACC championships, NCAA tournament appearances, and sustained success. The decision to fire Pastner suggests that Batt has someone in mind for the job.
The school’s search for Pastner’s successor will lean toward a coach who can capture Atlanta’s rich recruiting resources, according to sources. Anthony Wilkins, who has been on Georgia Tech’s staff since 2018, will serve as the interim coach while the school conducts a search for Pastner’s successor.
Pastner has been a solid sideline coach during his tenure. But his inability to make a significant impact in recruiting has been a hindrance to the team’s success. Additionally, his inability to add needed talent via the transfer portal in the offseason, partly stemming from Georgia Tech’s lack of NIL funding, hurt the team’s performance over the past couple of seasons.
Recruiting violations leading to a postseason in 2020 ban also marred Pastner’s time at Tech.
Josh Pastner has been fired by Georgia Tech this morning.
We’ll always have this video of him smashing a Covid piñata in the Pinnacle Bank Arena visitor’s locker room. pic.twitter.com/P0EJjq3LUt
— Jacob Bigelow (@JacobABigelow) March 10, 2023
The Yellow Jackets owe Pastner approximately $2.5 million over the remaining three years of his contract extension. The firing is a bold move for Batt, who is putting his stamp on the athletic department. However, the Tech basketball opening isn’t nearly the job it used to be or what some long-time followers of the program think it is.
Pastner’s firing is part of a larger trend, as several coaches have been fired on this “Black Friday” in college basketball.
With several teams now searching for new head coaches, it will be interesting to see who they choose and what impact that decision will have on the programs’ future success.