Who's Next at Georgia Tech?

With the announcement of GT Head Coach Chan Gailey being fired on Monday, it's time to look at his possible replacements. Time is of the essence in this search due to the importance of being in the middle of the recruiting season. It is expected that a new Head Coach will be named in an expedient manner. Here are some of the names that could be under consideration as the next head man at GT.

With the announcement of Georgia Tech Head Coach Chan Gailey being fired on Monday, it's time to look at his possible replacements.  Time is of the essence in this search due to the importance of being in the middle of the recruiting season.  It is expected that a new Head Coach will be named in an expedient manner.  Here are some of the names that could be under consideration as the next head man at Georgia Tech.





Jimbo Fisher


Age:                42


College:           Played QB for Salem College & Samford University (transferred to Samford to follow head Salem Head Coach Terry Bowden.)



* 1991-1992 - OC/QBs, Samford

* 1993-1998 - QBs, Auburn

* 1999 - QBs, Cincinnati

* 2000-2006 - OC/QBs, LSU (Record: 70-20)

* 2007-current - OC/QBs, FSU (Record: 7-5)


Significant players coached:

Josh Booty, Rohan Davey, Matt Mauck and JaMarcus Russell


Significant achievements:

2001 - Broyles Assistant Coach of the Year Award finalist 



Due to his LSU connection with current GT Athletics Director Dan Radakovich (former Senior Associate Athletics Director at LSU), Jimbo has to be an obvious top candidate.  A consistent knock on the Yellow Jackets in the Chan Gailey era was a lack of a consistent offense and the issue of not being able to develop the quarterback position.  Fischer's strengths as a proven OC and QB coach would immediately go toward fixing that side of the ball.  He was the OC at LSU in 2003 when they were national champions and has coached several successful college quarterbacks including eventual the #1 overall NFL draft pick from 2007 – JaMarcus Russell (just ahead of GT's own Calvin Johnson).



Though there's a seemingly good track record as an Offensive Coordinator, Jimbo does not have any previous head coaching experience – though you've got to start somewhere, right.  Also, Tech fans will no doubt dissect this year's Florida State stats to determine what kind of upgrade we'd be getting and looking for a reason why they only won 7 games as well in Jimbo's first year as OC under Bobby Bowden.  One stat that sticks out initially is that FSU this year was 4th in the conference in total offense (GT was 3rd with over 25 more yards per game).  While FSU was more proficient in the passing game, GT had nearly 1000 more yards on the ground.  Putting yards aside, how did the two teams compare in scoring?  GT was 5th in the conference while FSU was in the bottom half of the conference in 8th place.  GT also ranked better in total first downs, third down conversions and time of possession.  Fischer had so much success at LSU that this year at FSU could be an aberration or could be a sign that he needs the great talent for the great results.  That could make his ability to recruit an important factor for his potential success in Atlanta if he were the choice.


Another point to mention – and it could be the case with many others as well – but when a HC has had success at GT, the job has been used as a stepping stone to other jobs: See George O'Leary, Bill Curry and Bobby Ross as examples from the past quarter century.  Even Chan Gailey flirted with NFL overtures during last year's off-season.  If Jimbo became everything Tech fans wanted him to be, how long would Tech get to hold onto him before other top programs (and possibly the NFL) came calling.  The answer to that though is to not concern yourself with it too much though that reality is a bridge that could be crossed much later down the road.



Jon Tenuta

Age:                49

College:           Virginia – three year letterman as a DB


* 1981-1982 – GA, Virginia
* 1983 – GA, Maryland
* 1984-1985 – Assistant, Vanderbilt
* 1986, 1987 (DC) – Marshall
* 1988 – DC, Kansas State
* 1989, 1990-1994 (DC) – SMU
* 1995 – Assistant, Oklahoma
* 1996-1999 (DB), 2000 (DC) – Ohio State

* 2001 – DC, North Carolina
* 2002-current – DC/DBs, Georgia Tech


Significant players coached:

Shawn Springs, Antoine Winfield, Ahmed Plummer and Nate Clements from Ohio StateDawan Landry, Chris Reis, James Butler from Georgia Tech.


Coach Tenuta, being on the current staff, would help with continuity in the coaching change.  Many fans admire his intense, no-nonsense approach to coaching.  He is fiercely loyal to his players and asks a lot of them, plus won't have to take much time to get to know the current players' tendencies.  He also has extensive experience at major football programs and has even coached now at 4 ACC schools, so he's very familiar with the conference.



Tenuta's no-nonsense approach is both a positive and a negative.  The gruff demeanor has lead many along the way to believe he doesn't have the "political" skills that a head coach should have.  Additionally, he has not shown a real penchant for involving himself too deeply in the recruiting process, which is important for the head man at least in terms of being able to "close" with a recruit and his family.  Tenuta could be very good in the role; there just aren't a lot of examples to go by to know if that might be the case.



Randy Edsall


Age:                49


College:           Syracuse '80, Masters in Physical Education from Syracuse '81-82 -- Quarterback at Syracuse, lettered in '79



* Graduate Assistant for Syracuse 1980-82

* Syracuse 1983-90 (Running backs/tight ends/Defensive backs)

* BC 1991-93 (Defensive Backs)

* Jacksonville Jaguars 1995-97 (Secondary)

* Georgia Tech 1998 (Defensive Coordinator)

* UCONN 1999-2007 (Head Coach)



Edsall has coached for 27 years, 24 at the college level.  Success: highly rated secondaries at Syracuse, BC, and the Jaguars (NFL).  He has been a coach of 9 teams that have gone to bowls, winning 6 of them.   He was DC at GT when Tech shared the ACC title and won the Gator Bowl. 


Has coached UCONN through the transition from D1-AA to D1-A.  One win shy of tying for Big East Championship in UCONN's first year in the Big East.  UCONN was 9-3 this year, challenging for the Big East crown.  He is a probably hot on the market right now.  Past six seasons, UCONN has finished in the national top 20 in either Total Defense or Total Offense.



Not from the South.  Only experience there is one year at Tech and a few with the Jaguars.



Will Muschamp



Age:                36


College:           UGA '94, Masters in Education from Auburn '95-96.  Playing Experience:   Walk on safety at UGA from 1991-94.  Defensive Co-Captain his senior year.



* Graduate Assistant for Auburn 1995-96

* West GA 1998 (Secondary)

* Eastern Kentucky 1999 (Secondary)

* Valdosta State 2000 (Defensive Coordinator)

* LSU 2001-04 (Linebackers/Defensive Coordinator)

* Miami Dolphins 2005 (Assistant Head Coach for Defense)

* Auburn 2006-07 (Defensive Coordinator)



A young mind in this era of college football which can be innovative and creative, enabling to adapt easier to today's game.  This could bring more aggressiveness than we're used to in recent years here.


Has a very full resume in just 13 years of coaching experience.


He coached a national championship defense as Defensive Coordinator at LSU in 2003, coaching 4 all-Americans on that defense.   Jimbo Fisher has been quoted as saying Muschamp deserves more credit than he was given for that LSU defense's performance.


His defenses at Auburn have been among the best in the nation each year.

Fiery Intensity/Work Ethic-his players on the college and professional level have taken a liking to these aspects of Muschamp.


He has coached dominating defenses in the SEC and was a coach at LSU while Radakovich was there.



Some think he may not be ready to be a head coach at 36.  He has not been a head coach yet.  Additionally, there may be some GT fans who won't buy into have a University of Georgia grad as their head coach.



Paul Johnson

Age:                50

College:           BS Phys Ed, Western Carolina 1979, MS Health & Phys Ed, Appalachian State University, 1982


* 1981-82 Off Coord, Lees-McRae Junior College

* 1983-84 Off Line, Georgia Southern

* 1985-86 Off Coord, Georgia Southern

* 1987-94 Off Coord, Hawaii

* 1995-96 Off Coord, Navy

* 1997-2000 Head Coach, Georgia Southern W-L 62-10

* 2001-Present Head Coach, Navy W-L 43-29

Significant achievements:

·         1 of 4 coaches to win 50 games in 1st 4 years at Div I level

·         2 I-AA National Championships, GSU 1999 & 2000

·         OC for 2 I-AA National Championships, GSU 1985 & 1986

·         5 straight bowls, 2003-2007

·         Offense led I-A in rushing 3 of last 4 years


Johnson has won at every stop in his career posting an overall head coaching record of 105-39 and part of 4 I-AA national championships. His time at Navy also gives him experience in an environment with more academic restrictions. Johnson is highly regarded as being a genius of the triple option offensive system. His tenure at GSU gives him familiarity with Georgia. Johnson has run a more conventional offense at Hawaii and has indicated that he would pass more with a more talented QB.



Johnson's offensive system is considered by many to be gimmicky, antiquated and questionable as to whether it can be effective at a BCS level. The offense also may be less attractive to recruits interested in playing NFL football. Johnson's overall track record of recruiting is a bit unclear. Johnson's track record on the defensive side of the ball is not as stellar as his offense (though it's hardly bad). Additionally, Johnson's age may work against him based on the criteria set forth by Dan Radakovich. He is reported to have a hefty buyout to leave Navy. Last, some Navy players were involved in a minor scandal involving performance-enhancing drugs in recent years. Johnson, however, was not implicated in any way.



Dan Radakovich seems to be leaning in a direction of a coach with an SEC pedigree – which Johnson does not have. Additionally, it is unclear whether Johnson is interested in leaving Navy.



Skip Holtz


Age:                43

College:           Mgt degree from Notre Dame


* 1987 -  Grad asst. FSU
* 1989 - WR coach Colorado St
* 1990 - OC - Notre Dame
* 1994 – HC UConn -  1AA - 38-23
* 1998 - Assistant HC - South Carolina
* 2005 to present - HC ECU - 19-17
overall - 57-40


Significant players coached:

James Pinkney to 2773 and 2783 seasons at ECU to become one of the top three qbs in ECU history along with Jeff Blake and David Garrard.


Significant achievements:

Led ECU to first winning season since 2000. 2005 team had 4th best passing attack in school history. Notre Dame averaged 37 points a game when he was offensive coordinator. 2001 named national assistant coach of the year.



He's always had high scoring teams wherever he went. He's turned around a poor defense since he arrived at ECU.



Winning % at ECU is not what we're looking for to upgrade our program. Lack of ties to the state of Georgia could hurt our recruiting here.  ECU was the taking off site of the worst coaching pickup from GT's history.  It's not fair to Skip but the ECU hangover is still there for many fans.



Chris Hatcher


Age:                34


College:           Valdosta State University (Two-time All-American QB)



* 1995 Student Assistant, Valdosta State

* 1996 Assistant, UCF (QB/TE)

* 1997-98 Grad Assistant, Kentucky (QB)

* 1999 Assistant, Kentucky (QB/WR)

* 2000-2006 - Head Coach, Valdosta State (Record: 76-12)

* 2007 Head Coach, Georgia Southern (Record: 7-5)


Significant players coached:

Daunte Culpepper, Tim Couch (No. 1 NFL draft pick)


Significant achievements:

·         Two National Championship Game appearances

·         2004 National Champion Coach

·         Atlanta Touchdown Club Coach of the Year (multiple times)



On a smaller level of college he's had a ton of success and as a head coach.  He led his team to the Division II NCAA National Championship in 2004.  There are little doubts that his contacts in South Georgia and Florida will be an asset in recruiting.  He has coached big-time NFL drafted quarterbacks and can run what appears to be a wide-open offense while also playing to the strengths of his personnel when he as to.  He's young and if he works out – and doesn't use the job as a stepping stone – could be around for a long, long time.



One might ask – Did GT fire Chan Gailey only to bring in a former HC from Valdosta State and Georgia Southern.  It definitely appears to be a risky choice to bring Tech's winning way to "a higher level".  Being young could also be seen as a downside to some though being a role as a head coach is valuable experience.  Name recognition alone may not fulfill the goal of energizing the fan base initially – especially if some were expecting a head coach or coordinator from a good BCS team.



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