Todd Stansbury was hired from Oregon State by his alma mater, Georgia Tech, on Sept. 22. Stansbury plans to take office shortly after Thanksgiving, and ESPN.com caught up with the athletic director to address a few topics.
How does a kid from Canada end up as a football player at Georgia Tech?
Todd Stansbury: When I was about 10 I was on a family vacation in Daytona Beach and we just happened to be staying at the same hotel as members of the Georgia Tech football team. They were on spring break and having one heck of a good time. I decided that’s what I wanted to do when I grew up. So then on the way home from Florida we actually stopped at a football practice because they, by the time we left, were in spring ball, so stopped at practice and met Pepper Rodgers and saw the guys that we had met on vacation. And so I fell in love with the place and decided I was going to go to Georgia Tech to play football and it didn’t matter that I was from Oakville, Ontario, and was a hockey player and wouldn’t get an opportunity really to play football till I got to high school. But that became the dream, which ultimately became the goal.
How did that Georgia Tech recruitment work out, coming from Canada?
TS: When I got to high school I switched sports and went from hockey to football, and unfortunately I was 5-2, 127 pounds at the time, so they gave me a blocking dummy and beat the heck out of me all season, and so my journey to play football in the United States wasn’t off to a very fast start. So I ended up going to a football camp in North Carolina between my freshman and sophomore year, because at that point I had never really played even though I had been on the practice squad and figured I needed to get some skills. Then I started to grow, and one of the things that happened at that camp was I ran a 4.35 40, which, despite the fact I never really played the game, piqued the interest of a lot of coaches that were there and and I ended up growing and ended up having a pretty decent high school career and ultimately was offered a scholarship to come to Georgia Tech.
What are the challenges facing Georgia Tech athletics as it is right now, and what’s your rough sketch for how do to combat them?
TS: I think that Georgia Tech as well as probably a majority of other institutions, the big challenge is that you’re in the competition business and nobody’s standing still, and we’re trying to compete at the highest level. And so you’re competing for resources, you’re competing for talent and so I don’t think that the challenge at Georgia Tech is that much different than most other places that are competing at this level.
Paul Johnson made some comments right after you got hired about facilities being substandard compared to some of the peers. What’s your reaction when you hear comments like that?
TS: Well, I always take something like that in the context of the frustration of a head coach that’s had a couple of tough weeks, but the reality of intercollegiate athletics is that we’re in the competition business, so it’s really important that we make sure that we’re able to offer our student-athletes and coaches what they need to compete and what it takes to compete at this level. And so while I haven’t really done an analysis of where we are with various facilities and those types of things, I just know that going into any job that’s just part of it and one of the main parts of what an athletic director has to do is find the resources to make sure that our student-athletes have the best facilities and the tools and the things necessary for them to be the best that they can be. So that’s something that I think inherently is just part of the job.
Have you gotten a chance to sit with Paul or any of the coaches yet?
TS: We really at this point did just kind of initial meet-and-greets, so we haven’t really been able to dive down to anything too specific. But today, in fact, I just met with, kind of did an all-staff meeting just to introduce myself, and then had a small breakfast reception afterward that allowed me to get one on one with some people, and I’ve done that with some of the head coaches as well. So nothing too in depth really, just an opportunity for me to introduce myself and start to get to know each other.