Georgia Tech’s new athletic director J Batt coming over from Alabama is huge for interim head coach Brent Key, as well as potentially Crimson Tide offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.
The Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets reportedly have a new athletic director in J Batt, who is coming over from Alabama to make the Ramblin’ Wreck matter once again on the football field.
Batt has been Alabama’s executive deputy athletic director. The former soccer player at North Carolina is adept at fundraising and has deep ties to the ACC. He holds two degrees from UNC, worked for Maryland when the Terrapins left for the Big Ten and hails from Charlottesville, home of the Virginia Cavaliers. Of course, his biggest task is to make the right hire at head football coach.
Let’s discuss why it might end up being the interim Brent Key in the end, or potentially Bill O’Brien.
New Georgia Tech athletic director is good news for Brent Key and Bill O’Brien
Since Key took over for an ineffective Geoff Collins in the interim, the Jackets have gone 2-0 to get back to .500 at 3-3. While it remains to be seen if Georgia Tech will have what it takes to go bowling at season’s end, Key has lit a spark in the football program we would be foolish to ignore. Not only he is a Georgia Tech alum, but he spent time with Batt when he first got to Tuscaloosa.
Key was Nick Saban’s offensive line coach from 2016 to 2018 prior to leaving for his alma mater to join Collins’ staff in 2019. Batt first arrived at Alabama in 2017 as one of Greg Byrne’s first hires by way of East Carolina. Simply put, there is a familiarity with Key that actually gives him a legitimate shot at getting the job outright. Of course, O’Brien’s track record cannot be overstated.
O’Brien is in his second season serving as Saban’s offensive coordinator. Prior to arriving in Tuscaloosa, he was best known for being a four-time AFC South champion head coach of the Houston Texans, briefly leading the Penn State Nittany Lions in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal and Tom Brady’s quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator while with New England.
But before any of that happened, O’Brien first made a name for himself as an assistant coach for George O’Leary in Atlanta. He spent eight years on The Flats from 1995 to 2002. This was a time when Georgia Tech had the upper hand on its arch rival Georgia. He also saw quarterback Joe Hamilton become a Heisman Trophy finalist. It has been a minute, but O’Brien does have GT roots.
Of course, Batt may go in a totally different direction at head coach, but going with those who have Alabama-Georgia Tech ties would make a lot of sense. Another guy who would fit this bill is noted offensive line coach Doug Marrone. He is back in the NFL with the New Orleans Saints but has worked at both schools, as well as being the head coach of Syracuse, Buffalo and Jacksonville.
If Batt is as good as advertised, Georgia Tech might finally prioritize its athletic department again.