Tech assistant hires may not be far off

April 8, 2016 Atlanta - Georgia Tech's newly appointed basketball head coach Josh Pastner speaks at a press conference at Georgia Tech. TAYLOR CARPENTER / TAYLOR.CARPENTER@AJC.COM

New Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner can delegate responsibilities once he completes his assistant coaching staff.  TAYLOR CARPENTER / TAYLOR.CARPENTER@AJC.COM

Off the road and back on campus, Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner may have his staff of assistants assembled before too long.

Georgia State assistant Darryl LaBarrie and former Tulane coach Ed Conroy are among candidates who have met with Pastner, according to multiple people familiar with the search. LaBarrie and Conroy would fill different and needed spots on the three-person staff. Pastner has given indications that the hires would come not long after the April evaluation period ended this past weekend.

Conroy was a head coach for six seasons at Tulane and four seasons at Tulane prior to that, and would bring head-coaching experience to the Tech bench. Conroy and Pastner coached against each other for much of their concurrent runs at Tulane and Memphis, respectively. Memphis was in Conference USA and jumped to the American Athletic Conference prior to the 2013-14 season. Tulane was in Conference USA and joined the AAC in 2014-15. His tenure at Tulane was a rough ride – he was 92-103 and 29-71 in league play, leading to his dismissal in March – but is reputed to be a skilled teacher and strategist.

His Tulane bio includes an endorsement from Tech coaching great Bobby Cremins, who credited Conroy for turning around the Citadel program and developing its crosstown rivalry with Cremins’ College of Charleston into a competitive series.

At 38, Pastner has already been a head coach for seven seasons, but would likely stand to benefit from having a voice of experience in his ear.

LaBarrie would bring a number of qualities to the job. He is a Tech grad who played for Cremins and coach Paul Hewitt and later coached two seasons for Hewitt. He also has a deep knowledge of Atlanta recruiting circles – he played at Tucker High, later coached at Stone Mountain High and also for the Atlanta Celtics AAU team and has been at Georgia State for the past five seasons. Of Georgia State’s 15-man roster, 11 are from Georgia.

LaBarrie’s understanding of Tech’s culture would also serve Pastner well as he begins his tenure at a school unlike most. Were Pastner able to persuade LaBarrie to leave Georgia State, he could prove a helpful navigator of new terrain.

Two others who have interviewed are Miller Grove High coach Sharman White and Alcorn State assistant coach Cabral Huff.

Pastner has said that he intended to be meticulous in his hiring, which he apparently has been. Friday is the three-week anniversary of his hiring.

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