To bring students to McCamish, Josh Pastner offers incentive/bribe

January 12, 2017, Atlanta: Georgia Tech defenders Josh Heath (left) and Abdoulaye Gueye force a turnover on a double team against Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame during an NCAA basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Atlanta.     Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

January 12, 2017, Atlanta: Georgia Tech defenders Josh Heath (left) and Abdoulaye Gueye force a turnover on a double team against Clemson forward Jaron Blossomgame during an NCAA basketball game on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner wanted the McCamish Pavilion student section full for Thursday night’s game against Clemson. He did what might have come naturally to the father of four. He offered them television.

As in a 40-inch high-definition television. To help draw the Tech student body to the game, the athletic department raffled off five of the big screens after the game. It worked. The student section was full or nearly full for the first time this season. With Tech’s win over Clemson, all students went home happy, five especially so.

“I thought the student section was terrific (Thursday),” Pastner said. “The fans were just great overall. It was a great home-court advantage.”

It was a welcome change for the Yellow Jackets. In their first two ACC home games, they didn’t get much fan support because the first game (against North Carolina) was played during the TaxSlayer Bowl and the second game (against Louisville) was played last weekend amidst winter storm warnings to drive only in an emergency. Meanwhile, hundreds of Louisville fans came to Atlanta in no fewer than 14 buses, eschewing weather concerns.

Pastner said that fans and alumni have urged him to bring students back to the games. Pastner has spoken to different student groups and helped the ticket office to come to games, even when prospects are dim, because he believes that an energetic environment will help sell Tech to visiting recruits. He credited Tech marketing staffer Phil Lewicki for the idea of raffling televisions.

“We obviously enticed them with some TV’s,” Pastner said. “Hopefully they can keep coming back because they saw an entertaining game. Fortunately, we won, but it was a good basketball game. Both teams played a good basketball game. It was up and down, so hopefully they’ll keep coming, and that’s important to us.”


View Comments 0