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Georgia Tech parts ways with basketball coach Josh Pastner after 7 seasons

His highlights while in charge of the program included winning the 2021 ACC championship. Anthony Wilkins will serve as interim head coach, Georgia Tech announced.

ATLANTA — Josh Pastner's roller coaster time at Georgia Tech has come to an end. The school announced Friday a change in leadership for the men's basketball program. 

Pastner led the Yellow Jackets for the last seven years, during which he oversaw some remarkable moments of success - including an ACC championship - and also endured a recruiting violations scandal for the program and extortion attempt that his once-close friend pleaded guilty to.

Pastner arrived at Tech a fairly marquee hire from Memphis in 2016, having established a track record as one of the most successful young coaches in college basketball with the Tigers, before a pair of disappointing seasons led to his departure.

His first season in charge was a promising one - with the Yellow Jackets going 21-16 and reaching the NIT Tournament championship game. 

They stumbled the next two years, going 13-19 and 14-18, before the NCAA levied sanctions on the program in March 2019 for recruiting violations by a former assistant and Ron Bell - the former friend of Pastner's whose extortion attempt of the coach would turn into a federal criminal case.

The violations included an alleged trip to an Atlanta strip club and payments to prospective players for the strip club visit.

RELATED: Arizona man pleads guilty to extorting Georgia Tech basketball coach

It resulted in a postseason ban for the Yellow Jackets in 2020, which they served after going 17-14. The sanctions were then overturned in Feb. 2021.

"I'm glad to have this part of the process behind us and to be able to continue to put our full focus on this outstanding team and building on the momentum that we have for the rest of the regular season and into the postseason," Pastner said at the time.

The team would then ultimately complete its most successful season under Pastner - going 17-9, winning the 2021 ACC tournament and reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2010.

“Coach Pastner has been an incredible ambassador for Georgia Tech, treating others with the utmost respect and wearing his passion on his sleeve,” Georgia Tech director of athletics J Batt said in a news release.

The ACC championship was the program's first in nearly 30 years.

It was the high-water mark, however - Tech, a 9-seed, lost their first round game to Loyola Chicago by 11 points and then went 12-20 the following season, rounding out a disappointing two-season stretch with a 15-18 record this year.

Pastner ultimately finished a hair under .500 - 109-113 - during his mixed-bag tenure at Tech.

Bell, meanwhile, and his fiancée pleaded guilty this year to conspiring with a security guard to falsely accuse Pastner of sexual assault after he refused to pay them a bribe. Sentencing for Bell in that case is June 8.

As for the Yellow Jackets, Anthony Wilkins will serve as the interim head coach. Wilkins has been a member of Georgia Tech’s coaching staff since 2018.

Credit: Georgia Tech
Anthony Wilkins

Tech plans to conduct a national search for the next head coach.

Batt wished Pastner well on his future endeavors. 

“His genuine care for student-athletes, our men’s basketball program, our athletics department and the Institute is unquestionable. On behalf of the Georgia Tech community, I want to offer my sincere gratitude to Josh, his wife, Kerri, and their family for their service to the Institute. We wish them all of the very best wherever their journey takes them next," Batt added.


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