Georgia is wisely spending to keep Mark Fox in fold

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Mark Fox wants to stay at Georgia, and he'll get paid to do.

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

Follow me on Twitter @JeffSchultzAJC; friend me at Facebook.com/JeffSchultzAJC

134 comments Add your comment

DawginLex

March 30th, 2011
1:53 pm

Sorry Jeff, but i have to post here since Tim banned me.

Fox is a keeper.

Now get Thompkins and Leslie on that Auburn payola plan and we are set……………

Gulf Life

March 30th, 2011
1:55 pm

At least they remembered their shoes for all away games this year…

It does take time to change mindsets and for players to even believe they belong. I’m glad UGA has him as its coach.

Jeff Schultz

March 30th, 2011
2:00 pm

DawginLex– What did you do to upset a mild-mannered Tim Tucker?

Don

March 30th, 2011
2:04 pm

Jeff, you are right again. How can anyone question Fox when we just went through an insufferable decade of hoops.

pj

March 30th, 2011
2:06 pm

Any criticism of Fox at this stage BAFFLES me Jeff. Georgia became relevant in BASKETBALL this year. What more could anyone ask for? He’s recruiting 4 and 5 star players, competing against the best in the country and landed us in the big dance for crying out loud. Anyone who berates him is either a cynic about life or has a preposterous sense of the worth of the hoops program over the years.

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN

March 30th, 2011
2:08 pm

just no rollover contract please

Jeff Schultz

March 30th, 2011
2:12 pm

Gulf Life — That story about players forgetting their shoes on the first road trip was an all-timer.

D A DoubleU G

March 30th, 2011
2:12 pm

Good news.

But we need to see more recruiting out of him.

I feel too much talent left the state last year, from both UGA and Tech. It’s a work in progress, but UGA could soon become a (to borrow the term of one, Jeff Schultz) “sexy” location for recruits.

I feel this is only a step in that direction.

Go Dawgs!

DawginLex

March 30th, 2011
2:14 pm

Got into a urination contest with a TROLL and must have used some not so good descriptions of said TROLL.

D A DoubleU G

March 30th, 2011
2:17 pm

You should know not to feed the trolls, DawginLex.

However, I wish the ajc would do a better job of identifying said trolls and banning them first.

I know this is a transient city, with outspoken fans from all over wanting to take over the roost here, but an antagonist shouldn’t be tolerated on these things.

I have learned to stop feeding trolls, and it has made me a much more positive person. Just shake your head and feel sorry for trolls, and that’s the most you should do.

Jeff Schultz

March 30th, 2011
2:18 pm

DawginLex — Spoke to Tim. He said your case has gone before the appellate board. You may want to email him.

Walker, Texas Ranger

March 30th, 2011
2:22 pm

The next order of business should be a baketball facility that doesn’t resemble a quonset hut.

DMR

March 30th, 2011
2:26 pm

Is there a time to be critical of a coach? Yes. Could you argue about some of the calls, non-calls, timeouts, or the not taking of timeouts Fox had this season? Yes. Can we agree it wasn’t Mark Fox’s fault that Thompkins had a sprained ankle early in the season? Can we agree the “non-contact to impede (OVER THE BACK PUT BACK) in the Tennessee game was not Fox’s fault? Can we agree that if Florida’s Walker, as good as he is, wouldn’t hit that mid-court, three point shot, 9 out of 10 times?

You can be critical of a few events in Fox’s second year. If you understand where this program has been or sports in general, you cannot criticize the results of Fox’s second year in Athens and be taken seriously.

Results. Showing improvement. Increased winning. Bringing back the fans. Building a foundation. Creating a culture. Changing the mindset. Changing perception internally and externally. Fox did all these things. You want to be a critic? Go watch a movie.

Fox should be getting a thumbs up from anyone who looks at the situation objectively.

5150 UOAD

March 30th, 2011
2:30 pm

dawginLex it wasn’t with me because I can still post with TIM. Good Luck with that. It doesn’t really matter too much. Football is still months away right?

Me

March 30th, 2011
2:42 pm

Poor job down the stretch by Fox. Thompkins is a team cancer and needs to get gone.

5150 UOAD

March 30th, 2011
2:42 pm

was anybody really contacting UGA to talk to FOX or just Media types throwing out Fox’s name?

Sven Ottke

March 30th, 2011
2:44 pm

Ah yes. The old “I’m not leaving” line……..right before they bolt.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 30th, 2011
2:50 pm

Walker, Texas Ranger, well at least it isn’t Alexander. When most people build a new building they “break ground”. When they built that one somebody “broke wind.” Oh well they will be breaking wind for a new facility pretty soon.

phil

March 30th, 2011
2:50 pm

In all candor, we weren’t very good this year. Yes, we were better than most years and yes we won 20 games. But the days of that really mattering are over. A team should win 20 games. When you can’t beat the good teams, when you lose in the first round of the SEC tourney and then the ncaas when the VCUs and butlers of the world are mopping up the floor with number one seeds, something ain’t right. We barely gave pathetic Washington a game and out we went.

I’m just tired of it myself. Tired of the excuses, tired of wait til next year, til we recruit some more, til this, til that….it’s always another excuse.

Go win some damn games that count for something and give us something to be proud of and THEN we’ll believe a little…and no more timeouts with one second on the clock even as the winning shot is being waved off….

UGGA

March 30th, 2011
2:52 pm

Nobody else is calling Fox. His agent is throwing crap to the wind so that Fox gets a raise and McGarity is the fool falling for it. Fox inherited Trey and Travis. The program will slide back to normal next year. Mr. Timeout is making sure he negotiates his buyout done. Mark it. The new contract will remove the $2 million buyout Fox has to pay. Fox’s past is closing in on him and he is getting as much out of UGA as he can before he is exposed.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 30th, 2011
2:56 pm

Only our competition is questioning Coach Fox. The only question I might have is why couldn’t he perform more miracles. I’ll take the 21 win season, tourney appearance and some good national press.

5150 UOAD

March 30th, 2011
2:58 pm

Dawginkala
The Dawgs basketball arena is an old Horse riding ring and livestock auction barn. Why would TECH build a totally new building at a new location on campus? Where AMC sits it is close to O’keefe, the interstate, and the MARTA train.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 30th, 2011
2:59 pm

phil, didn’t we beat Kentucky this year? They might be considered a good team.

AceDawg

March 30th, 2011
2:59 pm

Fox deserves the utmost support from fans. I did think UGA could do even better, but the style of play for UGA was solid. Good defense, great ball movement. Fox can’t shoot it into the hoop for players, and he will likely grow the program even stronger once he has players that knock down more open shots and layups. By next year, or the year after, we’ll probably know if he can recruit well enough to turn UGA into an annual tourney and top 25 team. Fans need to do their part and sell Stegman out consistently too. Players want to play for the programs that draw attention and excitement.

5150 UOAD

March 30th, 2011
3:01 pm

gdawginhaka
Bama and Colorado proved the NCAA Selection comity mad a bad choice picking UGA. VCU turned out to be a shocker, but Bama beating UGA 2 times the last week says everything.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 30th, 2011
3:04 pm

5150, yes when at the Steg watch where you step. I can’t answer that question. Seems like every team has to have a new facility. Don’t know where that mentality came from, build a new stadium and you shall win. Worked well for the Cowboys. I am glad they renovated Stegman. Good solid building.

Taylor

March 30th, 2011
3:05 pm

If Alabama and Colorado wanted to make the tournament, they should have stepped in up in non conference play. In particular, Colorado shouldn’t have lost to Georgia w/o Trey Thompkins. Alabama should have showed up in the tournament they played in Hawaii. You have to be really stupid to say going to the NIT championship is some major validation that someone deserved to be in the tournament. Especially when all but one game has been played at home

SOGADOG

March 30th, 2011
3:05 pm

Sgt. Schultz, I agree. Fox is a good investment and UGA needs to keep him. Fox has shown enough so far to justify paying more to keep other schools away; however, the jury is still out on whether he will bring long term consistent success. I predict he will work fine over the long haul if we can keep a Kentucky Duke or UNC from snagging him.

ATL Sports Fan

March 30th, 2011
3:07 pm

UGA beat Colorado this year so how did leaving Colorado out be a bad choice and harm UGA.

ATL Sports Fan

March 30th, 2011
3:09 pm

Who knows, if Alabama wins the NIT maybe Anthony Grant can be the head coachin in waiting at Tech.

vahidawg92

March 30th, 2011
3:10 pm

I do agree that Fox’s contract should be “tweaked” but nothing major. He needs to be around 2 or 3 more years and have a consistant top 1 or 2 SEC standing and NCAA appearances before anything major needs to take place. I dont think Fox is going anywhere personally. The bracketology guy (cant think of his name right now…) said the other night, he felt the state of Georgia was in the top 3 states in the country as far as high school basketball recruiting goes. That along with UGA’s very strong athletic department as a whole makes the UGA job very appealing. If Fox continues to build and win, he will be paid close to what the other “big name” coaches out there are.

5150 UOAD

March 30th, 2011
3:11 pm

Well good points TAYLOR, but UGA went 10-10 in their last 20 games and lost what? Their last 3 or 4?
SOGADOG
Duke or UNC? you are kidding right? Fox had better become the next Donavan at Florida if he wants the Duke, UNC, of Kentucky job.

Taylor

March 30th, 2011
3:13 pm

UGAs 10-10 was against much better competition than Alabama’s 8-6 start

SOGADOG

March 30th, 2011
3:17 pm

No not kidding, my point is, if Mark Fox succeeds over the next few years at UGA, a Kentucky. Duke or UNC may hire him if UGA does not make it worth his while to stay with a lucrative contract. Kentucky hiring Tubby Smith from UGA and the fact Fox seems poised to succeed going forward brought this thought to mind. I will agree with you that Fox is not quite Duke UNC or Ky. material yet, but he is heading in that direction rather quickly.

ACC HOOPS #1

March 30th, 2011
3:18 pm

Fox is a fantastic coach…for the first 30 minutes of a game. The last 10 are a fiasco.

Taylor

March 30th, 2011
3:19 pm

That’s what happens when you have no depth ACC Fan

OCDawg

March 30th, 2011
3:23 pm

I’m just wondering when we might get a chance to chat about two huge stories. 1. That HBO program coming on tonight. 2. Eric the drug addict. ??????????????

I mean, come on. Equal opportunity for all offenders. We’ve been hearing about all those UGA thugs forever, and now all this hits the news and we don’t get to comment.

Jeff Schultz

March 30th, 2011
3:23 pm

UGGA — “Fox’s past is closing in on him…” … Sorry? Was he an axe murderer several years ago, and the feds are closing in?

gdawginkalamazoo

March 30th, 2011
3:25 pm

Didn’t Fox work with Williams a number of years ago? UNC might be a possibility. Kentucky? No way after Calamari gets done putting them on probation. Duke will be one interesting job vacancy when it does open up.

DawginLex

March 30th, 2011
3:25 pm

Big difference, Tubby was on Pitino’s staff at UK. Fox never coached at UK.

GT Alum

March 30th, 2011
3:27 pm

SOUTH GA DAWG FAN -

Aww, why not? That worked out so well for us.

5150 UOAD

March 30th, 2011
3:28 pm

OCDawg
The paid thing? Really? I don’t think there is a single school in the SEC that has not paid it’s players at one time or another.
The Drugs are surprising. I don’t know how he could function well enough to play ball it he was doing that many drugs.

DawginLex

March 30th, 2011
3:29 pm

kalamazoo,

Check out the current UK squad. No SAT cheaters on this team

Hard not to like Josh Harrelson.

Brandon Knight has a 4.0 and will be a junior in school and a sophomore in eligibility next fall.

Never thought I’d defend Calipari, but I do. Rose cheated-Calipari and Memphis paid dearly. Camby hired an agent-Calipari and UMASS paid dearly.

I don’t see any problem with this UK team except they overachieved big time.

brokebackvol

March 30th, 2011
3:29 pm

UGA is smart to hold on to Fox and not let him go – especially with Tennessee crashing and burning, that will open up things a little bit in the SEC East.

5150 UOAD

March 30th, 2011
3:30 pm

UNC will go IN HOUSE first. Somebody in the UNC tree will have to get the first shot. Coach K has so many ex-players in coaching I would be surprised if you doesn’t get the first look too.

BYRDDAWG

March 30th, 2011
3:32 pm

Jeff, I think the FBI is closing in on Ruben Houston!!!! Thanks for the GREAT article! GO DAWGS

GTFANFROM1951

March 30th, 2011
3:32 pm

Another year like this year and some school will pay enough to make fox move.

gdawginkalamazoo

March 30th, 2011
3:34 pm

Listeining to Rocky Top as many times as Ainge did would make you want to do drugs. Good luck to him I hope the kid straightens his life out.

Wait until Fox does get some help on the bench. Look out. We could have easily beaten Washington IF our bench had done something. Zero points from the pine is NOT good. I could come off the bench and score something and I have the vertical leap characteristics of lead.

5150 UOAD

March 30th, 2011
3:37 pm

I wonder if that is true GTFANFROM
Fox and Grant can stay at UGA and BAMA for a long time if they win but never become Kentucky or Florida. The Fans can live with that because FOOTBALL is all that really matters at those schools.There isn’t TOO MUCH preasure to win the SEC in basketball every year. IMO that is how I see it. UGA and BAMA have the money to keep both happy. Winning record and get in the NCAA’s every so often and FOX and GRANT can live very well off.

Buzz ME

March 30th, 2011
3:38 pm

Fox is a good guy and a good coach. Don’t let him get away. As much as it pains me to say he is building UGA into a powerhouse.