Two weeks ago, it was rumored that North Carolina State was targeting Georgia’s Mark Fox as a candidate to be its next basketball coach. I wrote then that I doubted Fox would leave, and he followed that up with the expected generic denial: “I’m not a candidate for any job. All of my focus is on the Georgia team.”
Not surprisingly, that door to Raleigh is pretty much closed now.
Fox today reaffirmed to our Tim Tucker that he is “not interested” in any other job, and he and Georgia are working on a new or amended contract.
Fox makes $1.3 million, and he is about to get a healthy raise. His salary is already $300,000 more than Georgia Tech just gave to new coach Brian Gregory, whose hiring has been met with a cool response.
Such is the financial state of the two athletic departments.
Credit goes to former Georgia athletic director Damon Evans for hiring Fox and his replacement, Greg McGarity, for trying to keep him.
Fox is not without his detractors. Some believe the Bulldogs should have done better than go 21-12 and lose in the opening round of the NCAA this season.
Not to cast him as the next John Wooden here, but I don’t understand the criticism. He has taken Georgia from being 12-20 two years ago to 21-12 in his second second. They went 9-7 in the SEC, their best conference record in a non-probation season since 2000-01. Injuries to their best player, Trey Thompkins, had an obvious effect on the offense. There’s also something to be said about needing time to change the mindset and learning how to win games.
Fox is accomplishing that. Georgia is doing the right thing by making sure he doesn’t get away.
By Jeff Schultz