Georgia Tech hires Alabama’s J Batt as new athletic director

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ATLANTA — Georgia Tech hired Alabama administrator J Batt as its athletic director Friday, putting him in charge of the search for a new football coach.

Batt replaces Todd Stansbury, who was fired Sept. 26 along with football coach Geoff Collins after the Yellow Jackets started the season 1-3.

Collins finished with an overall record of 10-28, the worst winning percentage (.263) of any full-time coach in Georgia Tech history. His lack of success also took down Stansbury, who hired Collins after the 2018 season and steadfastly stood by him even as fans and big-money boosters increasingly expressed their discontent.

Batt was executive deputy athletics director at Alabama, and also served as chief operating officer and chief revenue officer under AD Greg Byrne. Batt will take over Georgia Tech’s athletics program on Oct. 24.

“I look forward to working with our student-athletes, coaches, staff, supporters, and fans to reach new heights, on and off the field, and to build on the rich tradition and history of this storied athletics department,” the 40-year-old said in a statement.

Batt has been at Alabama since 2017, overseeing revenues through donations, ticketing and other sources. He guided the launch of a 10-year, $600 million fundraising campaign to benefit Crimson Tide athletics. In addition, Batt was the chief administrator overseeing men’s basketball.

Frank Neville, chief of staff under school President Angel Cabrera, has served as interim AD since Stansbury’s dismissal.

Georgia Tech set a timeline to hire a new athletic director as quickly as possible, then put that person in charge of the search for a new football coach.

Neville had said he wanted an AD in place at least for the latter part of the football season, to allow time to fully evaluate the program and determine what will be needed to turn things around.

Since taking over as interim coach, Brent Key has guided the Yellow Jackets (3-3) to two straight victories – including an unexpected one at Pittsburgh – providing some hope of qualifying for a bowl for the first time since 2018.

Key, who was Collins’ assistant head coach, will be the interim at least through the end of the season. He has made it clear he would like to be considered for the full-time job.

Cabrera said Batt was his top choice for AD after a speedy search to find Stansbury’s replacement.

“His leadership experience at one of the most competitive programs in the nation and his extraordinary track record in fundraising and revenue generation will bring great value to Georgia Tech,” Cabrera said.

In addition to deciding on a football coach, Batt’s top priority will be increasing revenues at a school that has faced tight budgets, fundraising struggles and attendance woes. Collins’ buyout of more than $11 million only compounds those issues.

He will face a far tougher challenge at Georgia Tech than he did in Tuscaloosa, where the football program has been a perennial championship contender for more than a decade under coach Nick Saban.

Georgia Tech has fallen far behind its state rival, reigning national football champion Georgia. The men’s basketball program also has struggled, making just one NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010.

Byrne said Georgia Tech has landed an AD who can turn things around.

“He has incredible vision and has done an outstanding job overseeing many areas of the department,” Byrne said. “J has been involved in all of our major decisions and has provided constructive insight and feedback to make us better.”

Batt previously served as senior associate athletic director at East Carolina (2013-17) and as associate AD at Maryland (2011-13). He graduated from North Carolina, a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. He played on the Tar Heels’ national championship soccer team in 2001.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”