Josh Pastner has been Georgia Tech’s basketball head coach for a little more than two months, and it doesn’t sound like he has slowed down much during that time.
Pastner took over as the Yellow Jackets’ head coach April 8 after seven seasons as the head coach at Memphis. He replaced Brian Gregory, who was fired by athletics director Mike Bobinski after five seasons with the Yellow Jackets.
“It’s been great. It’s been basically on a treadmill going about speed 10.0, but every day it’s been a new challenge, a new journey,” said Pastner, who was in Macon on Monday. “But we’ve been excited about it. There’s just a lot to do but in a little bit of time. It seems about 10 o’clock at night, you say, ‘Man I need another three or four hours in the day.’ But I’ve loved every second of it.
“I’ve hired a great staff. I’ve worked in partnership with Mike Bobinski, my boss, and we’re dealing with it every day because we felt the most important thing to really move the program forward, to get it back to a championship level ... in time, we’re going to have to take some time to get there, but the first order of business is the hiring of our staff.”
Pastner coached at Memphis from 2009 until last season and led the Tigers to four NCAA Tournament berths. He had a 167-73 record with the Tigers.
Georgia Tech’s most recent NCAA Tournament trip came in 2010, although the Yellow Jackets did reach the NIT this past season.
“People are wanting Georgia Tech basketball to get back on a championship level, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Pastner said. “It’s going to take time; it’s going take some time to get there. But we have the blueprint and the game plan we feel to do it. Of course, along the way, you’ve got to get a bounce to go your way, the ball to bounce your way, and you’ve got to get a little lucky here and there, but I feel the overall blue print of how we want to get there, we’ve got a good plan.”
That plan could take some time this season, especially with a talented senior class from last year that featured Marcus Georges-Hunt, Charles Mitchell and Adam Smith moving on. But Pastner expects this year’s team to compete and improve from the start of the season to the end.
“This season, we’re going to fight, scrap, claw, kick, punch, elbow, and I say that, obviously figuratively and not technically, but just in that type of mindset that we’re going to try to find a way to win every game we step on the floor to play,” Pastner said. “When we step on the floor, we’re going to coach and compete to win every single game we compete in this year.”
Long term, Pastner thinks he has plenty to sell with his new program and its conference and is excited about the Yellow Jackets’ prospects.
“The ACC is the best basketball, besides the NBA, it is the best basketball league in the country,” Pastner said. “So when you have an opportunity to sell that, along with the Georgia Tech academics, along with the city of Atlanta, the epicenter of the hip hop world, it’s the epicenter right now with the celebrities, with the TV, Tyler Perry, movie studios ... I mean all the people are coming in here. You’ve got the Super Bowl coming; you’ve got the college football championships, the Final Four, it is the happening place to be. So we have much to sell out there, and we’re excited about it.
“That’s part of what’s great about the ACC, it is the best basketball besides the NBA in the entire country, and you have an opportunity to play every night against the very best. The great talented student-athletes should want that, and being at Georgia Tech you get the opportunity to compete against the very best.”