Wizards

New Georgia Tech AD says he's committed to ACC

201301181021372972165-p2.jpeg

New Georgia Tech AD says he's committed to ACC

ATLANTA (AP) Mike Bobinski is still a couple of months away from officially becoming Georgia Tech's athletic director. He's already talking up the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Bobinski was introduced Friday as the school's AD, though he won't move into the job full time until April 1. He comes to Georgia Tech from Xavier, a school that does not play football and where he served as athletic director for a dozen seasons.

This will be Bobinski's first time leading a BCS-affiliated program, which he said is one of the main reasons he took the job.

``That part is exciting to me,'' he said. ``I've looked for this opportunity. I'm excited about the opportunity to rejoin the football community.''

The Yellow Jackets are longtime members of the ACC, but they've been mentioned as a possible candidate to jump to the Big Ten should that conference decide to expand its presence into the South. Another ACC school, Maryland, already announced that it's moving to the Big Ten.

Bobinski smiled when asked if Georgia Tech might be joining the realignment frenzy.

``That's the ultimate loaded question,'' he said, before quickly stressing he thinks the ACC is an ``unbelievable home for Georgia Tech. It's the right fit in today's world for us.''

The Yellow Jackets' goals - both athletically and academically - are aligned with conference rivals such as North Carolina, Duke and Virginia, he added.

``That's the company Georgia Tech belongs in,'' Bobinski said. ``It's the right alignment in a lot of ways. I don't have any inclination at this point in time that there's any different home in our future. Our goal right now - us and the rest of the members of the ACC - is be as good as we can be in football and strengthen the revenue base in and around the conference, so there's no temptation for folks to start to be picked off. We're all-in for the ACC.''

Boosting revenue is vital for Georgia Tech's athletic program, which has taken on heavy debt to upgrade its athletic facilities. In the past decade or so, the school has expanded its football stadium, built new practice facilities for football and basketball, renovated the baseball stadium and opened a new complex for softball. This year, the Yellow Jackets moved into a new basketball arena, the McCamish Pavilion, and a new tennis complex was dedicated Thursday.

In its 2011-12 annual report, Georgia Tech listed a debt service of more than $6.5 million on yearly revenues of just over $60 million. A move to the Big Ten, which has its own television network and more lucrative broadcast deals than the ACC, would surely boost the Yellow Jackets' bottom line.

While Bobinski said the debt is ``not an insignificant number,'' he doesn't think it's ``something that gets in the way of what we're trying to accomplish.'' But, he added, it will be important for the athletic department to boost fundraising and get more fans in the seats. For instance, the football team has struggled to fill 55,000-seat Bobby Dodd Stadium, failing to sell out any games last season while averaging 43,955.

Bobinski wants to make more efforts to reach out to the student body and alumni, but realizes that he faces a difficult task playing in a city with three major league teams and in a state where rival Georgia has a much larger fan base and revenue potential.

``Over time, we've got to find a way to create a feel, create an energy and a program that people want to be a part of,'' he said. ``The first prerequisite is having people in the stands.''

Bobinski is very much aware that football is the sport driving all the major moves in college athletics these days, and insists he's kept an eye on things even when he didn't have a team of his own at Xavier.

``If you haven't stayed plugged in to college football and what's going on in college football, you've been asleep,'' said Bobinski, noting that before moving to Xavier he worked at three gridiron schools: Notre Dame, Navy and Akron. ``I've stayed closely plugged in with that throughout my time at Xavier. I feel very comfortable and excited to be back in the realm of college football.''

Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson said the school was looking for someone with the ``highest level of integrity, someone who could reconnect with our fan base and alumni.'' He's confident the Yellow Jackets found the right person, noting that Xavier had one of the highest athlete graduation rates in the country, 97 percent.

A native of Long Island, N.Y., Bobinski graduated from Notre Dame with a degree in business administration and played four years on the school's baseball team. A certified public accountant, he initially worked in the business world, including a stint with the Walt Disney Co., before moving into college athletics at his alma mater in 1984.

Just to make sure he blends in at his new school, Georgia Tech officials jokingly presented him with a gift at his introductory news conference - a book titled ``The Complete How to Speak Southern.''

---

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963

Quick Links

Bradley Beal still feels 'disrespected' by referees

Bradley Beal still feels 'disrespected' by referees

Back in December following a tough loss to the Clippers, Bradley Beal's frustration with the referees boiled over. 

"Honestly, [my frustration] is out the roof," Beal said that night. "It really is. It's really unfair and unacceptable that they allow a lot of stuff to go on with me out there and I do not calls. Period. It's just unacceptable."

Everything for the Wizards' offense this season starts and ends with Beal, and while he's averaging career-best scoring numbers, he remains frustrated at how he doesn't get to the foul line enough. 

In a 134-129 loss to the Heat Wednesday night, Beal went off for 38 points on 16-24 shooting to go with nine rebounds and four assists. He only had four free throw attempts, resulting in another postgame riff about how he and his team aren't officiated the same as others. 

“It’s kind of sad the way we get disrespected," he said. "Especially myself getting disrespected like I do because I attack the basket.”

Among 32 players who average at least 20 points, Beal ranks ninth in free throw attempts per game. The Wizards themselves are 14th in the NBA in free throw attempts per game. 

What had Beal particularly upset was not getting the whistle when he aggressively attacked the basket in the game's final moments.

"You can look at my last three drives and I got fouled on all three of them," he said. 

The NBA doesn't typically tolerate players and coaches openly criticizing referees after games. Beal knows he could be fined for his comments, so it shows just how frustrated the two-time All-Star is with how he's being called this season. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS:

Quick Links

Former Washington Mystics All-Star Alana Beard retires after 14 seasons

alana-beard-usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Former Washington Mystics All-Star Alana Beard retires after 14 seasons

One of the Washington Mystics' first stars is hanging up her shoes.

Alana Beard, who spent the first seven seasons of her professional career with the Mystics after Washington drafted her No. 2 overall in 2004, announced her retirement from the sport on Wednesday.

During her time in Washington, Beard made the All-Star team four times. Her best season with the Mystics was in 2006, where she averaged a career-high 19.1 points per game and won the Defensive Player of the Year award.

After missing nearly two years with multiple injuries, Beard signed with the Los Angeles Sparks during free agency in 2012, and spent the rest of her career out west. She won her first WNBA championship in 2016 with the Sparks, highlighted by her game-winning three-pointer in Game 1 of the Finals.

Congratulations on a great career, Alana!

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports. Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream Capitals and Wizards games easily from your device.

MORE WIZARDS NEWS: