- Associated Press - Saturday, March 12, 2011

ATLANTA (AP) - The mounting losses and declining attendance finally caught up with Paul Hewitt.

Saturday the Yellow Jackets answered the long-running question about the coach’s future when they fired him only two days after another disappointing season.

Hewitt, who took the Yellow Jackets to the national championship game in 2004, muddled through his fourth losing season in the last six years.

“At the end of the day we just didn’t win enough games,” Hewitt told The Associated Press on Saturday. “It’s part of the business.”

In the end, the financial impact of a half-filled arena for Georgia Tech’s home games overwhelmed the $7.2 million buyout Hewitt will be paid over five years.

Athletic director Dan Radakovich said at a press conference Saturday that he hopes to hire a coach before the Final Four, which begins on April 2 in Houston.

Radakovich said he already has a few candidates on his list to replace Hewitt, who did not attend the press conference. Radakovich will be assisted in the search by former Vanderbilt and South Carolina coach Eddie Fogler.

Fogler also advised Auburn during last year’s search which ended with the hiring of Tony Barbee.

Radakovich said he “got to know coach Fogler very well” when the two worked together at South Carolina. He said Fogler would not be a candidate to replace Hewitt.

Hewitt was not bitter about being let go, which was not unexpected.

“I had 11 years there,” Hewitt said. “I’ve got nothing but appreciation for how they dealt with me in my 11 years. It’s a great place and I know they’re going to get a great coach.”

When asked his plans, Hewitt, 47, said “I don’t know. For better or for worse, a lot of family time.”

Radakovich said he met with Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson twice this week. He said Peterson “concurred with my recommendation” to fire Hewitt, who could never come close to matching his Final Four season.

Radakovich called Hewitt “a true professional” and said he has “much respect and admiration for him as an individual, as a coach and as a representative of Georgia Tech.”

Radakovich said Hewitt “provided some tremendous highs.”

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