Georgia AD McGarity: ‘Focused on the Kentucky game’

Greg McGarity in his office. (Josh L. Jones/AJC photo)

Greg McGarity in his office. (Josh L. Jones/AJC photo)

Greg McGarity in his office. (Josh L. Jones/AJC photo)

On Dec. 17, 2014, I asked Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity if he felt Mark Richt was capable of delivering a championship. His measured response: “Until I’m convinced he is not, then I believe he can.”

On Sunday, I emailed McGarity to pose the same question. His response: “Mark, am focused on the Kentucky game and supporting our coaches and players.”

Georgia lost 27-3 to Florida on Saturday in Jacksonville behind quarterback Faton Bauta, a fourth-year quarterback making his first collegiate start. (He threw four interceptions.)

The Bulldogs were 1-3 in October after rising to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll. They lost to Alabama by 28 points in the worst home loss under Richt, then wasted a 21-point lead and fell to Tennessee. Their one October victory was a 9-6 edging of Missouri. Georgia was outscored 109-53 in the month.

Credit McGarity for fielding the question — he didn’t go the “no comment” route — even if what he supplied wasn’t really an answer. He expressed his support of his team and his coaches, which is what an AD should do.

Still, I can’t say I took those 13 words as an endorsement of anything. If his December answer wasn’t nearly a “Heck yeah!”, this seemed even less. But your interpretation might differ.

Further reading: Georgia under Richt has run out of ideas.

Still further: The furor over Faton Bauta — much ado over not much.

Reader Comments 0

287 comments
Diane Back
Diane Back

So we have crashed and burned from the 4-0 football high of September. Not sure many would have predicted the fall would have been so far and fast but October football has been just as gloomy as the weather. In recent days the program has been characterized as dysfunctional, and the only news from the administration or the football offices is to deny speculative accusations, and state that everything else is status quo in preparation for Kentucky. Changes certainly need to be made and can be expected but whether they require a change at the top, a complete overhaul or just certain position coaches the larger issue is who will be making the decision on these changes.

Which direction the athletic department needs to move is certainly a subjective call with the number of opinions vast and varied. Most have the same underlying goal of achieving exceptional results and hopefully competing for a national championship in football. The athletic department has to start planning for the future even if Coach Richt is retained because he will likely walk away from football in the next 3-5 years regardless. How many Bulldog faithful trust that we have the leadership necessary to identify and hire that dynamic coaching personality that can excite Bulldawg nation and more importantly hire a staff that can lead a group of young men to personal development, academic success, and championships on the football field?

To be fair to our current administration, there were inherited debacles, most notably the decision made for an indoor football training facility. It is no fault of Greg McGarity that our previous leadership thought it was wise to spend millions of dollars on an inadequate indoor football facility which has provided limited productive use; meanwhile, Georgia remains the only team in the SEC without a true indoor practice football field. In the ongoing and ever escalating arms race of college athletics it should have been clear the facility was going to be inadequate from the start! After millions have been wasted, hopefully, the new facility serves the programs, coaches, and athletes well but it was abundantly clear that it was required to stay competitive in the SEC. This wet fall certainly serves as an example of the need. The vast UGA coffers have finally been opened and used to improve facilities and support for all of the student-athletes. These decisions regarding support, new programs, and new infrastructure have been reached adequately. The trouble with the UGA Athletic Administration stems from its failure to establish anything beyond a cursory rapport with a majority of the coaches and their staff in the athletic department. This is definitely intentional as Greg McGarity has indicated he does not want to have anything more than a professional relationship with any of his coaches despite knowing many for decades.

There has been plenty of press proselytizing the virtues of the athletic department’s policies, policy changes and agenda with very little questioning of its efficacy. The high moral virtue which the leadership claims to espouse has many intoxicated if they haven’t bothered to look beyond the surface. When talking about Coach Richt’s potential future replacement, Dan Wolken from USA Today sports stated “Then again, nothing is guaranteed at Georgia, which operates differently than other SEC programs and does not like to be viewed as a cutthroat operation.” If nothing else can be claimed about Greg McGarity you can say he has been very aggressive and trigger happy in dismissing coaches from his staff and is unabashed in letting them know how they will be handled for any personal or professional transgressions they make. The previous soccer coach was confident he was in good standing after making the NCAA tournament for the second time in five seasons and achieving an in season ranking of 16th nationally. However, two days after a first round tournament loss the coach was fired and later it became clear the administration had been unknowingly to him meeting with disgruntled players and their parents. This past summer the former head track coach was also dismissed after a long and successful career and the very next day one of his assistant coaches, who had been having personal meetings with the Athletic Director on several occasions, was promoted to the head coach position. The former head baseball coach’s dismissal was also controversial but that has been documented. Controversial transitions make the already perfunctory relationships between the administration and coaching staff more tenuous and many changes to the contracts offered to the head coaches have resulted in National Championship winning coaches refusing to sign extensions due to the contractual language. Our AD is also unwilling to meet with agents or representatives for coaches in the hiring process, which every football and basketball coach in the country now has. Beyond the quick trigger firing of several coaches the measured success of the replacements has yet to pan out with the potential to need to make further changes already looming in some cases.

The new head football coach hire may be imminent or it may be around the corner but the question begs is this the guy and leadership that Georgia alumni and faithful want as it begins the process of identifying the next head Football coach at Georgia?

Concerned Booster

 

TideDawg
TideDawg

Clemson number one in the poll that counts. Not a bad choice. Baylor out because of strength of schedule?? What is Ohio States strength of schedule.......they didn't mention that. Doesn't matter where they put Alabama. The Tide has to win out and that's going to be tough. Alabama's strength of schedule was ranked 3rd. This weekend is going to shake the rankings up pretty good. In the Big Twelve they don't have a championship game and that works against those teams......Why? Notre Dame doesn't play a championship game either....it doesn't affect their over rated ranking. Notre Dame will move into the top 4 after this weekend.


This weekends games will be brutal. At least the ones that count.

jim771991
jim771991

You and Jeff Schultz are something else.  You guys are so good you should be coaches or athletic directors.  I am surprised someone hasn't hired you yet.  As a Ga. Tech and Auburn fan, I sincerely  hope you are successful in getting Mark Ritch fired.  We would like to get a shot at those 4th string running backs.  Monday morning quarterbacks are always good.


I give you two words...................Bill Battle.  Tennessee fired him after he put together one of the best winning percentages, if not the best in Tennessee history.  Look at the record after that with all Bill Battle's recruits back.  Look at Bobby Bowden, second winingest coach in history.  Look at his record the year after Mark Ritch and all those other coaches left.  With the same recruits.  I told Buck Belue this was a transition year and that they would be lucky to go 8-4, probably end up 7-5 before the season.  When you have that much coaching turnover, it just takes a while for the team to coalease, almost always.  But you two know what should happen.   Please tell me the winning lottery number's.

Chilidawg
Chilidawg

Chuck and Chernoff (680 the fan)  interviewed Fran Tarkenton today, and naturally the topic turned to UGA football. When asked what or who was the problem, Tarkenton declined to say anything about anyone specifically associated with the team.  He did say there was a real problem over there with some very unsavory things going on in the football program. As the interview was about to end, Tarkenton was asked if Jeremy Pruitt was really interested in staying at UGA as DC or was he looking to become a head coach.  Tarkenton replied Pruitt would definitely not be the head coach at UGA.  He said Pruitt had been very "boisterous" with his demands when he came in and had " basically hired"  four people for the staff who he had worked with.  Although he initially would not comment on individuals, Tarkenton was willing to talk specifically about Pruitt.  These comments definitely raised some concerns in my mind about Pruitt.

TideDawg
TideDawg

The playoff system is the best it's ever been but 8 teams would be better. Too many deserving good teams are left out.

TideDawg
TideDawg

Over reaction Monday & Tues......Jeff Schultz and Mark Bradley, despicable articles regarding Richt. Save that crap for the end of the season. You're both bushwhackers and this is not the time for it. You have all winter to get a coach fired. Do you think his family is not suffering enough.

TOJacket
TOJacket

Brilliant!.............no wonder he is the AD.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

I wonder why McGarity even responded to Bradley's email.


It is obvious Bradley was just trolling him in order to get him to say something for a column he would write to stir the pot of angry UGA fans after a nasty loss.

Stinger2
Stinger2

Richt will not go anywhere. UGA will win out and win a bowl game. Why would anyone want to fire a coach coming off a 10-3 season regardless of who the losses were to? The UGA fans who want him fired are in the minority.  

TideDawg
TideDawg

Kirby Smart may be a head coach some day, but he, like Pruitt, have both had mentors that wouldn't let them make defensive mistakes. Both of their mentors were defensive minded coaches and would oversee every plan they drew up and either sign off on it or correct it in the necessary areas. Richt is offensive minded. It's sad to see the defense get in position and then miss tackles, hopelessly. They have to teach tackling also.


Don't misunderstand......Great head coaches (Saban, Fisher, Miles, Pinkel, etc.) make mistakes on game plans, they also get out coached, but I'll settle for 95% efficiency and stick with what they say. Being able to correct their mistakes at halftime is a great attribute. I haven't seen Ga. correct anything at halftime on the defensive side of the ball.

Danush
Danush

Go ahead and screw up what could have been our best recruiting class .. We will be back to Donnan years. Remember sports columnists and bloggers are nothing but parasites hoping to cause more controversy to earn their pathetic salaries because they can't do anything else.

MaybeMaybeNot
MaybeMaybeNot

@Danush What about the Dream Team from 2011?


Wasn't that the best recruiting class EVER?

reckingball
reckingball

He should have been replaced at the end of the last season.

w.f.mcgee
w.f.mcgee

It has been apparent for some years that the root problem of UGA’s athletic problem is in fact due to the secret Star Chamber call the “Athletic Board”.  The alumni, general public nor the Press know of its proceedings. It appears that, much like that of the World Football (soccer) governing body, it is corrupt and should be investigated by the Attorney General. Corruption (blackmail, bribes, kick-backs and the Lord only knows what else) is the only well grounded suspicion and logical explanation for the gross mismanagement  and failure to correct the disaster that has been apparent to almost everyone for many years. Is there any serious person who believes that Alabama, or Auburn, or Florida, or LSU or any other
program would put up with this “lack of accountability”? I want to make it clear that I do not hate CMR ; he is I am sure a fine decent man but he has been over his depth for years and should resign and the Governor should order the investigation.

Termigator
Termigator

If McGarity remotely resembles the man who trained him (FL AD Jeremy Foley), Richt will be gone at the end of the season. If UGA loses to KY on Sat, it might be announced before next Monday. I believe Richt is on a week to week deal. He must run the table to keep his job. I hope not; he is a great man and has bought at least the right to see how his next "great" qb, Jacob Eason turns out.

Caius
Caius

Re Kirby Smart and other top assistants: History proves that being a great coordinator does not automatically make one a great head coach.

TLaw
TLaw

Mark Bradley was right when he wrote a column on October 6, 2015 ("Dogs' dud rekinkes Richt debate) and again he is right to say nine-win seasons are just not good enough.  Georgia might win eight or nine games again this year and be invited to a mid-level bowl again that will have a meaningless outcome. Another season without winning the SEC East in which Georgia was strongly favored to win.  Each year we keep waiting for a better outcome but it never materializes. When will UGA beat a top 10 football team again?  Under Richt, the answer is unknown. UGA should be in the hunt every season for a national championship. Nine wins and three loses will not get any team to the playoff championship. When will McGarity politely say Mark Richt has a terrific coach for many years and has run the organization professionally and honestly but it is time to change the direction of the program? Why can't UGA football mirror the recent successes of Ohio State and Alabama?  There is no reason except UGA does not have Urban Myers or Nick Saban as its coach.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@Floppy @TLaw

So Floppy,

Which CFB teams are in your top tier ? 

BAMA, Ohio St. , USC,Florida, Texas, Notre Dame,LSU, Baylor, Oklahoma, TCU, Ole MIss, Texas A&M. Michigan St. Michigan, Penn St., Clemson,FSU Miami,(Nike U Oregon) , Nebraska, Tennessee,Virginia Tech,Iowa, Oklahoma St., UCLA, Utah, BYU, 

So where does the top tier end and where in this group should UGA fall in ? 2nd Tier ,3rd Tier are lower .

Floppy
Floppy

@TLaw What UGA fans fail to realize is that UGA football is not a top tier program! The rest of the country does not think about Georgia at all. Travel the USA, talk college football and you will soon see.

If UGA was a top tier football program, Richt would have been gone 10 years ago. I hope UGA keeps him for another 15 years!

Wreck13
Wreck13

This season PROVES Anybody can win 9-10 games a year at UGa. Richt is NOTHING SPECIAL. 

Chop_Chop
Chop_Chop

Here's the deal:

Are we willing to have Richt coach here for twenty years without producing a consistent title (SEC and national) contender? We Georgia fans are spoiled in that we are used to our team having winning seasons and chances at doing something better than just being a winning team. The bar is not Ray Goff, who incidentally had a winning record at UGA. The bar is not Vince Dooley.

Here's the bar:

Getting the most out of our talented recruiting classes, which means the creation of a smart, tough, and disciplined football team.

I don't think Mark Richt can pull that off. This is his 15th season. It's been ten years since the end of Richt's best four-year span as coach (2002-2005; 44-9 overall, 25-7 against the SEC, and two SEC titles). When the hallmark of a head coach's team has become its inability to win big games (or even to show up to some of them), then I think it's time for a change to be made. 

For those that bemoan the fact that we don't have a good QB right now, remember that Richt has been the head coach here for fifteen seasons. Who else deserves the blame for that? It's on him. If the defense can't do the job, it's on him. He's the guy who can't get it figured out. The responsibility for poor special teams play is on him as well.

Time to make a move, McGarity. This is a good job. Richt has been a good coach here, but he's had plenty of time to earn legendary status. It hasn't happened.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

@Chop_Chop One of CMR's strengths (perhaps undisputed) is his ability to recruit talent.  He hasn't recruited the QB position well lately.  

SW31
SW31

Athens1,  thank you for correcting my mistake.


What I should have stated is that prior to the arrival of MR in 2001, the UGA football team had not won a single SEC football title since 1982.  Over that period, the average season saw eight wins with multiple bowl visits.  Changes came and went but the status quo prevailed.  


Coach A won 135 games over 15 years; a coach whose resume included THREE conference titles during that span while averaging nine wins per year. Pretty good, huh?


Coach B won 141 games over 15 years and TWO conference titles while averaging ten wins a year over that period.

Pretty darn good as well.


Coach A went 5-6 in one year and 6-5 in two of three years before the big breakout in his career.   


Do you really think that Coach B has not earned "one more shot" at the title?  As an outsider looking in, I think you know the answer. 


Again, thanks for catching my mistake.  

Athens1
Athens1

SW31, at least know what you're talking about. Alabama has 24 SEC Titles, Tennessee 13, Georgia 12, LSU 11. Those are your top 4. The rest are in single digits. Big difference than saying Georgia has "ZERO"


You see, we (those of us who actually attended UGA) have a much richer tradition than most.....



SW31
SW31

And this fan base thinks that there are others in America that are out of touch with reality?  Really.


This conversation is absolutely nuts!!  In fifteen years, MR has won 73% of his games, averaged nine wins a year, won six division titles, and two conference titles.  His .730 winning percentage is the program's BEST in the past fifty years.  Prior to his arrival on campus, this program had won exactly ZERO Southeastern Conference titles. ZERO!! And now, the cries are out there to fire him or work out a deal in which he is "gracefully" allowed to leave.  


Perhaps the issue here is not MR.  Perhaps the REAL issue is that you are not what you think you are.  Assuming that he leaves, where do you turn?  Homecoming for Kirby Smart or Will Muschamp?  As much as so many of you hate him, would you attempt to go after Jimbo Fisher?  Now, that would be rich; you dare reach into the "weak" ACC to hire your next leader?  After all, you guys thumb your noses at other leagues; insulting their programs, coaches, schedules, etc.  All the time, being the post child for underachievement time and time again. 


Look in the mirror, guys.  Sure, you get a lot of great recruits and flash potential on many a Saturdays.  But if history is any indicator over the last quarter of a century, you are and have been, an average football team that has benefited from membership in a talented league.


So, as the parade passes you by to the north, the west, and the south, you now are feeling the heat to try and become relevant.  We deserve better is your battle cry. And perhaps you do. But before you throw the baby out with the bath water, take a long hard look at the options out there. You may want to pump your brakes, take a breath, and see what the next round brings.


141 wins is a marvelous piece of work. Go ahead and force him out.  But when he goes to the next job, and there will be one, and he FINALLY breaks through, just remember what could have been with just a little patience. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@SW31 @ShootinTheHooch

So CMR will being able to choose where he lands. OK pick one of the following where CMR would likely be a top candidate:

1. USC

2. Miami

3.Carolina

4.Kansas State

5.Minnesota

6.Maryland

7.Illinois

8.Boston College

9.Vanderbilt

10.Purdue

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

@SW31 There will be no "next job" for Richt. He will be the next Goff and Donnan. Living a life of luxury at UGA's expense and McGarity's ignorance, but unemployed. 

As for Richt's record, the better question is how has he managed to lose 51 games. Oh, I forgot. Richt would be undefeated if the players executed. It's sad that Richt and his supporters claim to care about the team but are quick to throw the players under the bus when we lose.

With three cupcakes, Vandy, KY, the rest of the weak SEC east, and Tech on the schedule, a .700 winning percentage should be a lock most years. Get a coach that has a clue about game management, special teams, and motivating players with more than pious platitudes, and UGA will be off to the races and competing for championships will be the norm.

SW31
SW31

@ShootinTheHooch @SW31


Your points are fair.


But I would caution...MR will rebound quicker than most think. If he is released, given the current ten jobs that are available as well as the several that are sure to follow soon, he (MR) will have his choice of jobs.  The ONLY thing that will keep him unemployed is HIS CHOICE to be so. 



CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

@SW31 A"little patience"?  Mark Richt has had more second chances than Lindsay Lohan.  


If UGA and CMR part ways because they aspire to move the program to a higher level,  then you coudn't come up with a much better rationale than what I clipped from your post and pasted here:


"But if history is any indicator over the last quarter of a century, you are and have been, an average football team that has benefited from membership in a talented league."



dawgeatdawg
dawgeatdawg

Seriously..................we owe this head coach 5 more years at 4 mill....................now we are going to become G/T

They have 3 basketball coach's that they are paying now.......................But richt has got to FAT and HAPPY

with his earnings................just bring back COACH BOBO to be assist head ball coach and let him retake the offence back over.........................richt has made a massive mistake in his chose of shotty..................geezzzz

...................But the reality is .CHANGE IS IN THE WIND and NO-ONE CAN STOP IT NOW.


PS..............the only saving grace is that .TECH has MORE PROBLEMS with COACH PJ


.....BLAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

RangeRover
RangeRover

What Florida has done so well (with exception of Ron Zook) in recruiting Meyer and McElwain (same with Saban at Bama) is resist the urge to hire former players or assistants as UGA fans are calling for just because they once wore the "G."  Need evidence?  Okay....Ray Golf!

Don't hire Smart.  He's another Muschamp waiting to happen and believe me, Saban is in charge of that defense and the recruiting therein.  Smart is a warm body puppet doing noting more than that ordered by Saban.

Georgia has the wherewithal to attract the top talent in coaching just like they do with players.  No need to compromise or perpetuate incestuous hires.

Saban left the pros for a luminary college job.  Perhaps Chip Kelly would do the same?

Imagine the buzz (pardon the term, GT fans) around these parts just thinking about the offenses Kelly would bring UGA?  One thing for sure, you wouldn't see that train wreck of an offense and overall play we just saw in Jacksonville! 

TideDawg
TideDawg

@RangeRover  Right on about Smart. Pruitt got his reputation from Saban and Fisher.....both defensive guru's. You can bet that Saban and Fisher had to sign off on everything Pruitt did. Those coaches leave it up to the DC to carry out what they have agreed on. Their assistants don't have full authority to game plan. Pruitt's reputation was built on following orders as was Muschamp. When Muschamp had to give the orders.......well, you know what happened.

Termigator
Termigator

@ShootinTheHooch @RangeRover Kelly cannot even accept a job until after Jan 1 because of his probation issues he left Oregon. Kelly is a cheat and scumbag. UGA has too much class to come knocking on his door.

TideDawg
TideDawg

@ShootinTheHooch @RangeRover  I don't know about Kelly. He has a certain style of coaching a specialized offense. That type of coaching worked at GT with PJ for awhile but look at it now. Once all of the defensive gurus figure out how to stop it......what do you do next if that's the only way you know how to coach? Every defense knows what you are going to do. Tech's PJ hasn't figured that out yet so he blames his players for not carrying out their assignments.


Hire a coach that can coach the talent he has and game plan a diversified offense and defense that suits that talent.



ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

@RangeRover Got to give it to you. If Kelly would come to UGA with a SEC quality defense, something he never had at Oregon, it would be great times "tween the Hedges. Kelly is someone that would waken the sleeping giant.

Brainstorm
Brainstorm

Three coaching recommendations (just off the top of my head)  Kyle Whittingham, David Shaw, Chris Pederson...take your pick....any one of these will do a better job than Richt.  I am going to enjoy watching his demise because he stayed here about 5 years too long sucking up resources.

RangeRover
RangeRover

@Brainstorm

"I am going to enjoy watching his demise..."

Anyone that would "enjoy" such is one sick puppy.  Shame on you!

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

Kirby Smart needs to be the coach at UGA. Here's why: Richt has proven that there is enough talent willing to come to UGA even with a pedestrian HC to win 7 of 10 games. 

Unlike Richt, Smart has very good relationships with many HS head coaches in the state where he routinely beats Richt for the best blue chip recruits, same with north Florida. The talent level would be enhanced. 

The best assistants we have all have Bama roots, with the exception of Rocker, and have either worked for Kirby or with him in some capacity. Contitinuity should not be a problem. 

He has learned from the best. Winning the east would not be his goal. His mentality is to compete for championships. He is a tireless worker who is committed to football, his interests are not divided as with Richt

And, above all, he would want his success or failure to be measured by the results of his team, again unlike Richt. Lord knows he could be no worse at game management and motivating and inspiring his team to achieve their potential.

Grant1296
Grant1296

What did Richard Bell accomplish Techeye???

Big Wally
Big Wally

@ShootinTheHooch I could go with that.  He is obviously a good coach, or Saban wouldn't have kept him around for so long.  As Buck Belue was saying earlier today, if you get Smart, then you probably have a good shot of keeping Pruitt.  

OH:IO
OH:IO

@Big Wally


Herman kicked Smart's butt for all to see, Lil wally.


What has Savior Pruitt accomplished?


The Rocky Top Comeback?

JeffersonDavisHogg
JeffersonDavisHogg

Just heard Kimbo Fisher would definitely be interested. Not sure what to think about that one.

Kirby is intriguing

ShootinTheHooch
ShootinTheHooch

@OH:IO @Big Wally And Frank Beamer of all people kicked Urban's butt last year. We are talking about a possible head coaching position and you're talking one game. What's your point?

Grant1296
Grant1296

I'm quite sure Kirby's accomplishments pale in comparison to yours Techeye...

tombea75
tombea75

@ShootinTheHooch No Kirby Smart. After Kirby's little foray

the last time he looked for a job, there is no way in you- know- where, that GA would hire him!