J. Batt didn’t get any time to ease into his first job as a college athletic director.

Less than 6 months into his tenure at Georgia Tech, Alabama’s former chief fundraiser faced the challenge of hiring new coaches in both of his school’s highest-profile revenue sports.

He selected Brent Key in football and Damon Stoudamire in basketball.

Though it’s still too soon to come to any definitive conclusions, early returns suggest he hit it out of the park both times.

Even though each search led him in a completely different direction.

Key was a nondescript offensive line coach elevated from interim status after starting the process of cleaning up the mess left by his predecessor and former boss Geoff Collins.

Stoudamire was the product of an intense nationwide search, a hot commodity with a resume that included a short but successful tenure as a mid-major head coach and an even more high-profile assignment as an NBA assistant.

Their hires are proof that there’s no pre-set formula when it comes to coaching searches. As Batt learned either by design or by accident, every situation has its own unique set of qualifications and circumstances.

In football, there was a desperate need for substance over style after a dismal 3-season run in which Collins produced more silly slogans and fashion statements than wins.

And Key fit that description perfectly.

He’s a no-nonsense football lifer who served as a popular sounding board for players, especially his offensive linemen, to let off steam about the unpopular Collins. He’s also a Tech alumnus well-versed in the specific difficulties of managing athletic obligations at a school with such rigid academic requirements.

His most convincing selling point was the improvement the Yellow Jackets showed on the field almost immediately upon taking over the team on an interim basis last September. They won their first game after the change, upsetting then-No. 24 Pittsburgh on the road, and went 4-4 under Key after winning only 3 in each of Collins’ 3 full seasons on the job.

That turnaround earned Key a 5-year, $15 million contract to stay on full-time.

As much sense as it made in this particular case, hiring interim coaches can be a risky proposition.

For every Dabo Swinney that goes on to win national championships, there are far more Mike Duboses, Scott Shafers and Bill Cubits. Guys who caught lightning in a bottle for a fraction of a season at Alabama, Syracuse and Illinois but weren’t prepared for the long haul and flamed out quickly.

That doesn’t appear to be the case with Key.

A branch off Nick Saban’s coaching tree having spent 2 seasons as Saban’s offensive line coach at Alabama, he put together a strong staff led by offensive coordinator Buster Faulkner from rival Georgia and used the transfer portal to its full advantage.

He finished his first full season on a high note with an impressive 30-17 Gasparilla Bowl victory against UCF. The most encouraging aspect of the Yellow Jackets’ first winning record since 2018 is that Key isn’t allowing anyone to start patting him on the back.

“Coach Saban used to say that more people would die on the way down from Everest than on the way up,” he said, even before the season began. “It’s about the ability to sustain success.”

Like Key, Stoudamire is still on his way up the mountain. His path, however, is decidedly different.

While structure and discipline were the most important factors in Batt’s football coaching search, the biggest key in basketball was finding someone capable of adding some badly needed energy into a stagnant program.

Preferably someone with a little name recognition and an ability to attract a higher caliber of players to Tech.

Stoudamire checks both boxes.

He’s a former All-American who led Arizona to a Final Four and an NBA pedigree as a player and a coach.

Although his 71-77 overall record at Pacific from 2016-21 isn’t visually impressive, it was achieved during the days before open transfers and NIL. And he was 32-19 over his final 2 seasons before leaving to become an assistant with the Boston Celtics.

Stoudamire is off to a promising start, combining a top-20 transfer class and 4-star freshman Baye Ndongo with a solid core of talent left behind by predecessor Josh Pastner, including leading scorer Miles Kelly.

After winning 2 of 3 at the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii last week, his Yellow Jackets are 8-4 heading into the bulk of their ACC schedule. That includes a pair of signature victories against Duke and Mississippi State that will look good on their resume come March.

The ACC has taken more than its share of hits over the past few years, both from outside sources and most recently from within. It would certainly help the league’s sagging reputation for the school located in its biggest and most influential media market to become nationally relevant in the 2 sports that generate the most interest and revenue.

Thanks to a pair of distinctively different home run hires off the Batt of an effective new AD, Tech might just be headed in that direction.