Ga. Tech fires Pastner citing ‘high expectations’

Basketball coach Josh Pastner has been fired by Georgia Tech after seven seasons, the school announced Friday.

Pastner made just one NCAA Tournament appearance in seven seasons at Georgia Tech, finishing with a 109-114 record. He went 51-78 in the ACC with Tech’s only NCAA appearance during his time there after winning the conference tournament in 2021.

“We have high expectations for Georgia Tech for all of our sports programs, and it is imperative that our storied men’s basketball program achieve a greater level of success,” said first-year athletic director Jay Batt.

“Our men’s basketball program is important to our department and our institution. We will not back down in our hopes of consistently competing for ACC championships, NCAA Tournament appearances and sustained success.”

Anthony Wilkins, who has been on Georgia Tech’s staff since 2018, will serve as interim coach while the school conducts a search for Pastner’s successor. Tech’s search will lean toward a coach who can capture Atlanta’s rich recruiting resources, sources told ESPN.

It will be the second significant hire for Batt, who promoted assistant Brent Key to head football coach after the 2022 season. Batt, who hails from Alabama, has a background in fundraising and plans to be aggressive with NIL (Name, Image and Likeness). He watched Crimson Tide basketball coach Nate Oates come to Tuscaloosa and quickly build that program into a national title contender, and he hopes to use a similar blueprint at Tech.

Despite winning six of its last eight games, Pastner’s team went 15-18 this season — his fourth losing season in his seven years at the school. Pastner spent seven years at Memphis from 2009 to 2016, reaching the NCAA Tournament in four of his seven seasons there.

His tenure at Georgia Tech was also marred by the NCAA suspension of a former friend accused of recruiting violations. Georgia Tech received a postseason ban in 2020, when the season was shut down anyway due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and some of its bans were overturned on appeal.

The Yellow Jackets owed Pastner about $2.5 million over the remaining three years of his contract extension after the ACC title run.

Tech has not reached the NCAA Tournament in consecutive seasons since 2004 and 2005. Since losing in the national championship game in 2004, Tech has been to the NCAA Tournament just three times since 2005, with Brian Gregory failing to reach the NCAAs in all five of his times. – Year term.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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