Oct. 19, 2017
Pastner talks Past, Present and Future
Thatsportsguy AJ is at it again! This is a two-part series interview exclusive Q&A with new Georgia Tech Yellowjackets head coach Josh Pastner. He talks to @thatsportsguyAJ about life before, during and after the Memphis Tigers, where he spent the previous seven seasons at the helm.
Q: Describe what a day in the life of Josh Pastner has been like the last couple of weeks?
A: “It has been a whirlwind, it has been non-stop, it’s been fast and high paced, but I loved every second of it. I wake up very early, I go to bed very late and I feel like there's not enough time in the day. Late at night sometimes you want to be in the Pacific Time zone just to get a few more hours just to get some more work done.”
Q: Can you talk about exactly how its been trying to get caught up to speed, where you looking as far as trying to get a staff in place and getting recruiting done?
A: “I've said this before, this is going to be a rebuild. It's going to take some time, it's not going to happen overnight. I think the three key things when you're rebuilding something is: staff, scheduling and recruiting. I think those are three big components when trying to build something back to where we all want it to get back to. Staff-wise, I want make sure I do it right and make sure I make the right hires. So I'd rather be slow and get it right, than quick or fast and not get it right. Obviously, the 2016 recruiting class has pretty much passed, I mean there's some guys out there, but to be honest your focus is going to be the ‘17, '18 and '19 classes to try and get it done there. Those are three areas that I'm really making sure you do well in rebuilding – staff, scheduling and recruiting.”
Q: Is that something that you learned from your previous job on how to manage things a little bit differently?
A: “I was the head coach at Memphis for seven years. It was one of the most intense situations in all of college basketball. I followed John Calipari, who had one of the greatest runs in a four-year period – winning over 90 percent of his games in four years, and I was his assistant there and that was what I was following. So I understood what I was going into at age 31. Nobody wanted the job and what ends up happening is I get the job.
Most times at your first job you get an opportunity to make some mistakes and fly underneath the radar. At Memphis, you're under an extreme intense magnifying glass, in a complete fish bowl glasshouse, basically where every decision you make in-game, out-of-game, what you say, what you don't say is scrutinized debated and talked about. So through that seven years, I've had a chance to grow and be better maybe some things I liked that I did that I want bring here, some of the things I felt I could do better and that maybe I learned from that situation that I'll be better not putting myself in that situation. Being a head coach for seven years in that situation helped me prepare for my vision, mission, focus mentality going into this situation here at Georgia Tech."
Q: Can you talk about your decision to come here and leave Memphis?
A: “What a great opportunity I looked at was this was an unbelievable opportunity to come here and coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), and beside the NBA is the best basketball league in the country -- that is exciting. The Georgia Tech brand is so exciting, the opportunity to build something from ground zero to build it up, that's really exciting. All the great things about Ga Tech, the city, and obviously it's the ACC -- is the best in all of college basketball.”
Q: You’ve mentioned that the environment at Memphis was a bit hostile, everything gets scrutinized and you can’t fly under the radar. Do you anticipate things being the same or little bit different here?
A: Memphis wasn’t hostile, it’s just that within a 50-mile radius, it was as intense of any situation here in the country. And I was under such scrutiny because of whom I was following and my agent at the time – it was some scrutiny there, but we won over 70 percent of our games and had been very successful. When I left there, I left clean. The program is in great shape and now we move forward. It was time to have an opportunity to come to Ga Tech, but I loved my time in Memphis, I loved every second of it. Loved being an assistant with coach Calipari, loved being a head coach and I felt the timing was right to come here. In terms of there being scrutiny, well maybe 25 years ago there may have been just a newspaper and a local TV station. And in this day in age, because of social media, there’s no hiding anything anymore. You’re going to be to criticized, praised, debated, talked about anywhere because of the social media aspect because of the instant information. I don’t think it matters where you’re at you’re gonna always be under the microscope in that sport because of social media.”