Georgia Tech hires Alabama's J Batt as athletic director

Georgia Tech has hired Alabama's J Batt as the school's new athletic director, the university announced Friday.

Batt will take over Oct. 24, according to the school.

"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," Batt said in a statement.

Batt has been at Alabama since 2017 and established himself as one of the country's top fundraisers. Since former Alabama deputy athletic director Jeff Purinton left for Arkansas State in May, Batt has been the No. 2 in the athletic department with significant roles in both the football and men's basketball programs.

Batt's title at Alabama is executive deputy director of athletics, chief operating officer and chief revenue officer, which showcases his internal and external capabilities. He came to Alabama from East Carolina as one of athletic director Greg Byrne's early hires. He has been part of Byrne's executive team since then and was closely involved in all aspects of the Alabama athletic department. Batt served as the lead administrator for multiple sports, including men's basketball.

Batt is replacing Todd Stansbury, who was fired last month as part of an overhaul of the athletic department, and the immediate issue for Batt will be Georgia Tech's head-coach opening in the football program. The Yellow Jackets fired football coach Geoff Collins when Stansbury dismissed.

Finding Collins' replacement is expected to take most of Batt's energy early on in the job. Georgia Tech has made just one bowl game since 2017 and has seen the program's relevance slip in Atlanta. As Georgia Tech has spiraled, Georgia has become one of the elite programs in the sport thanks in part to significant and relentless investments since hiring Kirby Smart after the 2015 season.

Part of what Batt must do at Georgia Tech will be reviving the school's fundraising metabolism. Georgia Tech's most recent athletic directors, Stansbury and Mike Bobinski, didn't bring fundraising expertise. As results and interest in the football program have waned, that has left the school with a lot of work to help energize the base.

Batt's efforts raising money at Alabama included the launch of a 10-year, $600 million capital initiative that supported significant renovations of Bryant-Denny Stadium. At East Carolina, he improved the fundraising standard by 60% over the prior best year. He also worked in fundraising at Maryland, James Madison, William & Mary and North Carolina.

"We're excited to welcome J to Georgia Tech," Georgia Tech president Angel Cabrera said in a statement. "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."

Batt's arrival at Georgia Tech will bring him back to a conference he competed in, worked in and grew up around. Batt was a goalie for the North Carolina soccer team, helping win a national title in 2001. He has both an undergraduate and a graduate degree from North Carolina and worked at Maryland as the school transitioned from the ACC to the Big Ten. He also grew up in Charlottesville, Virginia, giving him a decades-long history of being around ACC sports.

Batt was recognized in 2021 as one of Sports Business Journal's Forty Under 40.