Radakovich replaces Braine
Dan Radakovich was announced as the seventh Athletics Director in the Tech athletic department’s 102-year history. Radakovich replaces Dave Braine, who has served in the position for nearly nine years.
“It’s a pleasure and a culmination of a lot of hard work,” Radakovich said. “I’d like to thank [Institute President Wayne] Clough and the search committee for having confidence in me.”
After Dave Braine announced his retirement for medical reasons on Jan. 11, 2006, Clough and the Athletic Board spent the next six weeks conducting an exhaustive search. They were aided by search firm Baker Parker and Associates.
“Every application, nomination and name was put into a pot to consider all of those individuals,” Clough said.
After reviewing numerous candidates, the pool was officially reduced to two on Tuesday, and by early Wednesday morning Clough announced that the search was over. The athletic board had a regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday morning and approved Radakovich by a unanimous vote.
“Yesterday we narrowed the search down to two individuals,” Clough said. “We thought both of them could do this job and had great but different strengths. We had meetings with our coaches and staff and worked into the evening making sure we had all the information that we could possibly get relevant to our choice.”
Radakovich’s wife Marcie was in attendance for the announcement, but their two children were unable to be present.
Radakovich is expected to take over at the end of March or early April. It is unclear how long, if at all, Braine will remain on the job during the acclimation period.
“There needs to be an evaluation and a learning process,” Radakovich said. “There is a great staff in place that is very experienced and knowledgeable of what goes on here at Georgia Tech. You need to have that local knowledge to be successful.”
Radakovich was most recently the senior associate athletic director at Louisiana State University and has served in that roll since 2001. He was the director of athletics at American University in 2000 and helped with the school’s move to the Patriot League.
Radakovich was also an associate athletic director for six years at South Carolina after a five-year stint at Long Beach State in the same position. His career as a sports administrator started when he served as the athletics business manager for Miami in the early 1980s.
He earned a bachelor of science in Finance from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1980 where he also lettered in football. Radakovich earned his master’s degree in business administration from Miami in 1982 and completed the Sports Management Institute’s executive program in 1992.
Radakovich has made the adjustment to being at Tech quickly. During the press conference, he referred to Tech as “the Institute” and the Southeastern Conference as “that other conference.”
“I work at Georgia Tech, and I’m very happy to be here….This is the institution that gave me the opportunity to be an athletics director,” Radakovich said.
He went on to add that he doesn’t see himself going back to LSU, but the school in Baton Rouge will always hold a special place in his heart for giving him the opportunity to come to Tech.
The other finalist was former Tech head coach and ESPN commentator Bill Curry. While he lacks the administrative background of Radakovich, Curry had the charisma and backing of several alumni.
“There isn’t the name recognition with Dan Radakovich as there is with Bill Curry,” Radakovich said. “That means I have to work a little harder at meeting with the alumni and friends of the Institute.”
Clough made sure to thank Curry, who was not in attendance, during his seven-minute address.
“Bill has tremendous strengths and we have great admirations, as a person, for everything he’s done and for his contributions to Georgia Tech,” Clough said. “I am very grateful for Bill Curry, his participation in the process and his grace in actions throughout the process in his desire to serve his alma mater.”
Radakovich inherits an athletics department that competed in the men’s basketball championship game two years ago and has reached bowl games for every season under football Head Coach Chan Gailey.
“The job of an athletic director has become consistently more challenging over time,” Clough said. “Dealing with finances, issues of policy, facilities and trying to serve the needs of the student-athletes.”
The Institute is also in the process of facing its first NCAA academic probation.
“I don’t know what roll I’ll play [in the probation process],” Radakovich said. “I’ve been able to read some of the information and will serve whatever role President Clough thinks is appropriate for me.”
Clough also mentioned another candidate for the position.
“We had one candidate that could not talk to the [athletic board],” Clough said. “A gentleman by the name of George P. Burdell. Some of you may know George as a legendary student at Georgia Tech. George started at Georgia Tech in 1928. He’s managed to complete some course during all of the time since. He applied and sent in a very eloquent application, which I loved to read. However, he declined to be interviewed.”