Here are a few quotes from Paul Hewitt. After 11 seasons, he was fired Saturday morning as Georgia Tech's head men's basketball coach. The ouster was all but a foregone conclusion after the Yellow Jackets fell to 13-18 overall Thursday with a loss to Virginia Tech in opening round of the ACC tournament.
He was just leaving Tech as he spoke about his departure via phone. Here are a few quotes from the conversation. Make sure you read it all:
(On being surprised by the news out of his Sat. meeing with AD Dan Radakovich): "I was not necessarily surprised. In this business, you come to expect anything....(On Thursday, he told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he expected to be back, before adding "but you know..." He knew the decision was one that many were seeking and believed Radakovich might act upon it.)
"I feel very fortunate I had the opportunity to be here for 11 years. I'm thankful to Georgia Tech for giving me the opportunity to coach. I hope the team can turn things around. I have nothing at all to be angry about or upset about."
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(On what's next): "I don't know. I'll have to see where it takes us. This thing is all obviously still pretty fresh. In talking to Bobby (Cremins) when he left Tech (at the end of the 1999-2000 season) and when I got the job here, he said 'When you leave Georgia Tech, you need to take a break. You need to catch your breath.' Coaching at Georgia Tech is a full-time job." ....(Cremins was out of coaching until 2006, when he took over the College of Charleston program. He still leads the Cougars.)
As far as what's next, Hewitt also said he has informed his daughters, specifically his oldest, who is a high school junior, that he isn't planning to pick up the family and move anytime soon. "She's very intrenched in her school right now and she's doing very well. So she'll get a chance to have her senior year."
(On the years since 2004): "If anything, I'm disappointed in myself knowing I wasn't able to reverse the trend. I didn't adapt to change swiftly."
(On final thoughts): "One thing I'll say, in parting, is that we've got some really good fans at Georgia Tech. I just wish they would be more protective of Georgia Tech. I respect Georgia Tech and all the people there and all the fans, I just wish people would realize that when these things happen (as far as firings of coaches), it's a pattern. Anybody who's been around Georgia Tech the last 20 years can see that." ....(He was referring to fan abandonment of the various athletic programs when firings come to a head. He cited one prominent Tech coach who spoke to him before leaving the Institute. The coach told Hewitt, "I like working here, but I can't take this. I can't give people what they want in their expectations." Hewitt added, "He was very disappointed in the reaction of the fan base" as he left Tech."
"Tech's a great place, but it should be protected by the fans and encouraged by the fans. They do that, and they'll do well in everything."