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“The fit was more important than paying the large dollars,” he said. “If there was someone we thought was a better fit, maybe we could have gone there. But I look at this as being a great individual for who we are at Georgia Tech and where we want to go.”

Gregory went 172-94 at Daytona. He guided the Flyers to a pair of NCAA appearances, reaching the second round in 2009 with an upset of West Virginia. Dayton also won the NIT in 2010, beating North Carolina in the championship game.

Dayton had only one losing season under Gregory and won at least 20 games five times. But the team is coming off a disappointing season, going 7-9 in the Atlantic 10 and 22-14 overall. The Flyers failed to reach the NCAA tournament for the second year in a row, losing to Richmond in the final of the A-10 tournament.

They settled for a bid to the NIT and were defeated by the College of Charleston 94-84 in the opening round.

“Sometimes you don’t really know a coach until they’ve had some adversity and you see how they come back from it and how they handle it,” Radakovich said.

The Yellow Jackets sure had plenty of adversity. They went 13-18 this season and finished 11th in the ACC at 5-11 before losing to Virginia Tech 59-43 in the opening round of the conference tournament. Hewitt was fired two days later.

Making the rebuilding job more difficult for Gregory: Georgia Tech won’t have a true home arena his first season. The school is building a new campus arena on the site of Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Until it opens in 2012, the Yellow Jackets will split home games between downtown Philips Arena and suburban Gwinnett Arena.

Gregory hopes to turn that into a positive.

“There’s a great opportunity next year in terms of reaching out and maybe even getting to more fans,” he said.

There was speculation the Yellow Jackets would pursue one of the coaches who made a splash in this year’s NCAA tournament, such as Richmond’s Chris Mooney or VCU’s Shaka Smart.

But Mooney signed a 10-year contract extension with the Spiders on Sunday night after leading them to the round of 16. Smart’s team is still alive in the NCAA tournament, reaching the Final Four for the first time.

So the job goes to Gregory, who served as an assistant at Michigan State during two Final Four appearances, including the 2000 national championship.

One of Gregory’s top priorities will be re-energizing Georgia Tech’s fan base.

As the losing seasons piled up, home attendance dipped dramatically. The Yellow Jackets failed to sell out any games this season at the 9,100-seat arena, averaging just 6,095 per contest.

Georgia Tech made five NCAA tournament appearances under Hewitt but managed only one winning season in the ACC _ 9-7 during the Final Four year. His overall mark of 190-162 included a dismal 72-104 record in conference play.

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