Paul Griffin will be an unpaid consultant while still being paid by USF, which forced him to resign in March.
By BRUCE LOWITT
© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 18, 2001
It's not costing Georgia Tech anything, and athletic director Dave Braine thinks everyone deserves a second chance. So he's giving Paul Griffin one, hiring the former South Florida athletic director as a special consultant.
Griffin, 54, was forced to resign as USF's athletic director March 9 after seven months of controversy and allegations that he tried to coverup complaints about racial discrimination within the women's basketball program.
"He's an AD who has a great wealth of experience who has nothing to do for the next 21/2 years, being paid by South Florida, so I'm going to put him to use," Braine said Tuesday.
"I ran this by our president (G. Wayne Clough) and we both felt it was a chance well worth taking. I don't think (Griffin) created any of those problems and we all are very aware of what transpired. We feel he deserves the opportunity to get back into the profession and we're willing to give him that chance. I think the latest court ruling justified his chance to come back."
Griffin fired women's basketball coach Jerry Ann Winters in December. On July 2 a Florida administrative law judge said Winters had been wrongfully dismissed and recommended her reinstatement. Judy Genshaft, USF president, said she stands behind the school's decision to fire Winters and will not accept the judge's recommendation.
Braine said he is "hopeful Paul will get another job (before the 21/2 years passes). I respect him a great deal and I think Georgia Tech will benefit from it, but I also think it will give Paul a chance to get back in the business. We're in the business to help kids, but I think any time you can help a colleague there's nothing wrong with that, and that's what we're doing."
Griffin helped St. Petersburg land (and USF host) NCAA men's basketball tournaments, including the 1999 Final Four. Georgia Tech hosts the 2002 men's Final Four and 2003 women's Final Four. Griffin was meeting Tuesday with Final Four officials and could not be reached for comment.
"Two weeks ago I talked to the people who run the Final Four and told them that Paul was going to come to work with us and they were ecstatic," Braine said. "They basically said he's probably the most honorable person they've ever dealt with as far as the Final Four is concerned. I think that speaks volumes."
Braine, Georgia Tech athletic director since 1997, was Virginia Tech AD for 10 years before that, when the Hokies and Bulls were in the now-defunct Metro Conference. "Paul and I go back a long way and I think we're getting one of the best ADs in the country for free, and that's not bad."
Griffin is not on the Georgia Tech payroll. The only thing the school is paying for is his housing. It is believed his wife Maureen will remain in Tampa. She teaches fifth grade at Tampa Palms Elementary.