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USATSI

Georgia Tech has hired J Batt, a key Alabama athletic department staffer, as the program's new athletic director, the university announced on Friday. Batt serves as the Crimson Tide's executive athletic director, as well as chief operating officer and chief revenue officer. 

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

Georgia Tech identified Batt as its top candidate barely three weeks after firing former athletic director Todd Stansbury, who hired football coach Geoff Collins in 2018. However, the program went just 10-28 before Stansbury and Collins were fired in September. Interim coach Brent Key is 2-0 since Collins and Stansbury were dismissed. 

Batt has been at Alabama since Greg Byrne arrived in 2017 and is heralded as an elite fundraiser. During his time on campus, Batt spearheaded a capital initiative that has raised more than $510 million to renovate Bryant-Denny Stadium, the athletics facility and the softball stadium.

His attention immediately turns to evaluating candidates to succeed Collins. Georgia Tech's academic and funding situation makes identifying candidates difficult. However, Batt's experience in the SEC could push him towards coaches in the circle. Key was the offensive line coach at Alabama during Batt's tenure and should at least get consideration for the full-time job. Alabama offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien has also been pushed as a potential head coaching candidate. 

If Batt opts to stay in the SEC footprint, there should still be plenty of options. Georgia offensive coordinator Todd Monken and running backs coach Dell McGee both have deep ties in the state. 

This will mark Batt's first stab at leading a coaching search as AD. In addition to Alabama and four years at East Carolina, Batt has also worked at James Madison,Maryland and North Carolina, where he was also a member of the Tar Heels' 2001 national championship-winning men's soccer team.