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.

Former Navy coach Niumatalolo joins UCLA staff

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LOS ANGELES – Former Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo is joining UCLA’s coaching staff as director of leadership.

The school said in an announcement Friday that Niumatalolo will serve as an advisor to the Bruins’ football staff and players.

Niumatalolo led Navy for 15 years and was the winningest coach in school history at 109-83. The Midshipmen, however, finished with losing records the past three seasons, including 4-8 the past two.

Navy played in 10 bowl games under Niumatalolo. He also was the only coach to win his first eight games in the storied Army-Navy rivalry.

Troy, Jon Sumrall agree to new 4-year contract through 2026

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TROY, Ala. ⁠— Jon Sumrall agreed to a new four-year contract as Troy’s coach after leading the Trojans to a Sun Belt Conference championship and national ranking in his debut season.

The school announced the deal, which runs through 2026, but didn’t release details.

The Trojans went 12-2 and won their final 11 games, second only to national champion Georgia, including the league championship game and the Cure Bowl against UTSA. For the first time, they finished a season ranked, ending up 19th in The Associated Press Top 25.

“When we appointed Coach Sumrall in December 2021, we challenged him to return Troy football to the top of the Sun Belt Conference,” Chancellor Jack Hawkins Jr. said. “It didn’t take long, as the 2022 season was the best in our FBS history.”

Troy held all 14 of its opponents to under their season average in scoring, beating UTSA 18-12. The Trojans beat Coastal Carolina 45-26 in the Sun Belt title game.

“Last year was an amazing accomplishment for everyone associated with Troy football and was the product of relentless effort from our players and staff, athletic administration and university leaders,” Sumrall said.