Hewitt's deal rolls over for another year

ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt's job is safe once again, after the Yellow Jackets won three games at last week's ACC tournament to receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

The No. 10-seeded Yellow Jackets play No. 7-seeded Oklahoma State in a Midwest Region first-round game in Milwaukee on Friday.

On Tuesday, Hewitt's six-year contract was automatically rolled over, per the agreement he signed with Georgia Tech after leading the Yellow Jackets to the 2004 national championship game. Georgia Tech officials had to notify Hewitt at least 30 days prior to April 15 if they did not intend to roll over the deal. Under the terms of Hewitt's contract, the deal becomes void if it is not rolled over to six years and the school would owe him at least $6.8 million as a buyout.

When Hewitt was asked about his deal rolling over on Tuesday, he lashed out at his critics, who have questioned whether he has done enough in his 10 seasons at Georgia Tech to deserve such long-term job security.

"I think it's pretty cheap that anybody would make an issue out of it," Hewitt said. "I think it's really underhanded. I think it's the lowest form of journalism there is. I was taught by my parents a long time ago you work very hard, you get what you deserve.

"I think I've proved to myself that if I was no longer the coach at Georgia Tech, I would find a job some place else. I really resent the hell out of somebody trying to insinuate that it's like I'm stealing money from somebody and that the only reason I have my job is because of this contract."

The Yellow Jackets have a 176-143 record in Hewitt's 10 seasons, including a 67-93 mark in ACC regular-season games.

Hewitt's contract was negotiated by former Georgia Tech athletics director Dave Braine, who hired Hewitt from Siena to replace Bobby Cremins before the 2000-01 season.

Since losing to Connecticut 82-73 in the 2004 national championship game in San Antonio, Texas, the Yellow Jackets have won one NCAA tournament game. The Yellow Jackets have played in the NCAA tournament in five of Hewitt's 10 seasons on the bench.

"I think it's very cheap and deceitful to think I pulled one over on them," Hewitt said. "Everyone went into the situation with eyes wide open. If Georgia Tech doesn't want me as their basketball coach, I'm confident I could get a job somewhere else."

On Tuesday, Hewitt said he turned down two other job offers from colleges to sign a new contract at Georgia Tech in 2004.

Hewitt's long-term job security became an issue after the Yellow Jackets limped to a 7-9 finish in the ACC this season. A year go, Georgia Tech finished last in the ACC with a 2-14 mark against league foes. In fact, since Hewitt led the Yellow Jackets to a surprising run to the Final Four in 2004, his teams failed to finish with a winning record in ACC play in each of the last six seasons.

"Don't make this contract situation look like I walked in someone's office with a gun and mask and said, 'Hey, sign this contract,'" Hewitt said. "We all knew what we were getting into."