Posts Tagged ‘Georgia’

Mark Fox succeeding in changing basketball culture at Georgia

The lower hand shows where Georgia was when Mark Fox arrived. The upper hand shows where the Bulldogs are now. (Jason Getz/AJC)

The lower hand shows where Georgia used to be. The upper hand shows where Mark Fox has brought them. (Jason Getz/AJC)

ATHENS – Not that it was some great revelation but Georgia officials were pretty up front with Mark Fox during the interview process in 2009 about the state of the basketball program. It was a mess. So in that sense, he knew he wasn’t stepping into Eden.

But have you ever booked a room in a low-budget hotel, had low expectations and when you arrived wondered if you had just missed the hurricane? That was Fox last season. He expected bad and witnessed something worse.

“I know last year I said that I wasn’t surprised with where we were because they were so honest with me when I got here,” the Bulldogs coach said Thursday. “But as I reflect, it was probably in worse shape than I wanted to admit. We’ve made progress. But there’s still days where you feel like the train ran you over.”

Possibly. But these days, that train mostly runs through Paul …

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Our first coach rankings (and a poll about Richt, Hewitt)

Mark Richt's Dogs just lost to Central Florida and finished 6-7.

Richt's Bulldogs lost to UCF and finished 6-7.

Paul Hewitt's Jackets have loss to Kennesaw State and Siena.

Hewitt's Jackets lost to Kennesaw State, Siena.

Coaches generally are not always the most popular figures in this city (or maybe any city). But given the general current upswing of the pro sports franchises, there really are only two coaches that would draw a no-confidence vote right now: Georgia football coach Mark Richt and Tech basketball coach Paul Hewitt.

I’m going to ask you a question soon. But first, here’s my rankings of the eight coaches for the four major pro sports teams – Atlanta Dream(s) fans, please stop emailing me – and the four college teams.

Which coach is more likely to turn around his program?

  • Paul Hewitt (Tech basketball)
  • Mark Richt (Georgia football)
  • Neither
  • Both

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This is NOT based merely on their overall resume but rather how things are currently trending on their respective team/program.

♦ 1. Mike Smith (Falcons): Has led the Falcons to three …

Continue reading Our first coach rankings (and a poll about Richt, Hewitt) »

Richt gives no reason to believe he can turn Georgia around

Mark Richt finished with his worst record at Georgia (6-7) and the Dogs had their first losing season since 1996.

Mark Richt finished with his worst record at Georgia (6-7) and the Dogs had their first losing season since 1996.

MEMPHIS – Mark Richt says he is disappointed. He says he has to make changes. He says the Georgia football program is not where it needs to be, and when a once-respectable SEC program ends its season by failing to score a touchdown against a team from Conference USA, nobody is going to dispute that.

Here’s the only matter up for debate: Does anybody believe Mark Richt can still get it done?

It didn’t look like it this season, when the Bulldogs finished with a losing record (6-7) for the first time in 14 years. It didn’t look like it at Mississippi State or Colorado or in Jacksonville (again).

It didn’t look like it Friday night, because if the average Georgia fan considers it humiliating having to win in the final week of the season just to become bowl eligible — and then get stuck with the Liberty Bowl — what do you call it when the Bulldogs lose to …

Continue reading Richt gives no reason to believe he can turn Georgia around »

Falcons fans: Are you willing to let it snow, let it snow …? (UPDATE: Will Bears-Vikings be moved here?)

A fans view of last week's Bears-Patriots game in Chicago. (Don't worry, it's not this bad in Atlanta.)

Fans' view of last week's Bears-Patriots game in Chicago. (Don't worry. Atlanta's not this bad.)

(UPDATED below with news that the Chicago Bears-Minnesota Vikings game is considering the Georgia Dome as a fallback site.)

Hello. It’s cold outside. Do you love football enough to sit in this for three or four hours?

This topic has been going around ever since Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced that he wants to build an open air stadium. Personally, I love open air stadiums. The sounds are better. The smells are better. It just feels more like football.

Besides, I get to sit inside a press box.

What kind of stadium should the Falcons build?

  • Outdoors. (I love football weather!)
  • Dome. (I’m a wimp.)
  • Retractable roof. (I’m Switzerland.)

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No seriously, while I’ll give you that I grew up in the not-so-brutal winters of southern California, I did sit outside through many cold and rainy games. (The hot chocolate never stayed hot in the …

Continue reading Falcons fans: Are you willing to let it snow, let it snow …? (UPDATE: Will Bears-Vikings be moved here?) »

Jackets fizzle again, but Radakovich in Hewitt’s corner

Georgia's Gerald Robinson drives past Tech's Daniel Miller for a layup in the second half, and the Bulldogs rallied for a 73-72 win. (AP photo)

Georgia's Gerald Robinson drives past Tech's Daniel Miller for a layup in the second half, and the Bulldogs rallied for a 73-72 win. (AP photo)

For most of the evening, it looked like early December basketball: Missed jumpers, mistimed passes and long stretches of mediocrity interrupted by the occasional highlight.

Actually, if you flipped back the calendar a couple of weeks, it was the Georgia vs. Georgia Tech football game.

In the end, the Bulldogs won this one, too, 73-72 at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The difference: a 3-pointer by the Dogs’ Dustin Ware that broke a tie with 18 seconds remaining, followed by a Tech team that looked again as if it lacked either a plan or an ability to execute thereafter.

Why would Glen Rice drive the lane for a layup with 6.8 seconds left rather than attempt to set up a three-pointer to tie it?

Why, with the Jackets inbounding the ball with 2.8 seconds left, would Brian Oliver attempt a low-percentage pass the length of the court to …

Continue reading Jackets fizzle again, but Radakovich in Hewitt’s corner »

LIVE BLOG: Dogs, Jackets each looking to affirm direction

Georgia (5-2) is coiming off a narrow win over UAB.

Mark Fox's Dogs can send a strong signal about program tonight. (Hyosub Shin/AJC)

Paul Hewitt's Jackets need to make a statement.

Paul Hewitt's Jackets rebounded from the loss to Kennesaw State. (Curtis Compton/AJC)

So are the Georgia and Georgia Tech basketball programs truly headed in opposite directions? There is evidence to suggest that but we’ll get a greater sense of it tonight.

The Bulldogs and Jackets meet at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. Since the series moved back on campus in 1995-96, the home team has won all but one of 15 meetings. The exception came 10 years ago, when Georgia (coached by traveling potions salesman Jim Harrick) won at Alexander 75-70 in Hewitt’s first season with Tech.

A lot has changed since then. The Dogs have changed coaches twice (from Harrick to Dennis Felton to Mark Fox) but appear to moving forward now. Fox has invigorated the fan base, winning several big games in his first season and stepping things up in recruiting.

The Jackets had a meteoric rise under Hewitt, all the way to national …

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If Hewitt wants to alter perceptions, he needs to beat Georgia

Paul Hewitt can shout loud and clear but only winning will solve his problems.

Paul Hewitt can shout loud and clear but only winning will solve his problems.

We tend to not pay too much attention to college basketball around here until football is over, with two notable exceptions: 1) When Georgia Tech loses to Kennesaw State (check); 2) When Georgia Tech plays Georgia.

So is Tuesday night when the programs officially pass each in adjacent elevators?

The Jackets and Bulldogs meet at Alexander Memorial Coliseum. The perception since early in Mark Fox’s first season in Athens is that the Dogs have momentum and are moving forward while the Jackets are regressing and even imploding under Paul Hewitt. (Tech’s loss at Kennesaw State three weeks ago did nothing to change that.)

When I asked Hewitt Monday if he agreed with that perception, he bristled.

“How do you want me to answer that?’ he said.

Any way you want.

“I’ll leave that up to other people. We went to the tournament last year.”

Hewitt must realize a significant portion of the fanbase believes last …

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Weekend Predictions: Cam Newton and Auburn conquer all

cheese 001

Before this season’s final week of dead, solid, perfect, financial locks — give or take an Alabama meltdown and the forgotten inevitability that Steve Spurrier would make Dabo Swinney look like he had a head full of nougat (what was I thinking picking Clemson last week?) — we have this update from the world of high of finance:

Stanley Ho, a billionaire casino owner in Macau (of course), who clearly has money and nougat to burn, won an action. For a castle? No. A vintage car? No. Video of Brett Favre’s last pass completion? No.

Rather, Stanley Ho, billionaire, just paid $330,000 for two white “truffles,” which is French for, “Fungus found in dirt or sometimes under old chicken lo mein forgotten in the back of fridge and often resembling the facial expression of Nick Saban after blowing a 24-0 lead at home. Roll [Over] Tide!”

Mmmm. Delectable, delicious fungus. Does that come with fries?

Mmmm. Delectable, delicious fungus. Does that come with fries?

So Stanley Ho paid $165,000 each for two pieces of fungus. You know, …

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Gruden to Miami would be manna for starving ACC

Jon Gruden would instantly become the biggest personality in the ACC at Miami.

If Miami hires Jon Gruden, he would instantly become the biggest personality in the ACC.

Let me start by saying I’m just not convinced Jon Gruden will take the University of Miami coaching job. He probably can have any vacant NFL job he wants and the thought of  him hitting the recruiting trail and begging some 18-year-old kid to come to his school just doesn’t register.

But you know what? Every ACC school should help pay Gruden’s salary to get him to Coral Gables.

John Swofford, the conference commissioner, should throw in a log cabin.

Butch Davis should loan him his personal tutor.

The SEC championship is this week. Everybody cares. The ACC championship is this week. Nobody cares.

Do you know why? Coaches.

Yes, the SEC is the annual college football behemoth and the conference title game has been the gateway for the BCS champion in the last four years (Auburn could make it five). But one of the major reasons the conference garners so much attention during the season — and …

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LIVE BLOG: Georgia seeks bowl bid (and revenge vs. Tech)

Georgia players, angered by the home loss to Tech the year before, planted the school flag after last year's win at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

Georgia players, angered by a home loss to Tech in 2008, planted the "G" flag after last year's win at Bobby Dodd Stadium.

(This will serve as the Georgia live blog when the game starts. We’ll also have a Tech live blog on, as they say, another network.)

ATHENS — Hello and welcome to the last game this season that anybody at Georgia or Georgia Tech will remember.

The Jackets (6-5) still have a low-level bowl game to play. The Dogs (5-6) hope to still have a low-level bowl game to play. But tonight’s meeting is really about the final opportunity for either school to create a highlight in a

The memory of Tech players (like wide receiver Andrew Smith) mangling the hedges lingers with Georgia players.

The memory of Tech players (like wide receiver Andrew Smith) mangling the hedges lingers with Georgia players.

mostly miserable season.

As Georgia defensive end Demarcus Dobbs said, alluding to the last four years of his senior class: “I don’t know if we’ve left a legacy. But I know if we don’t make it to a bowl game, that will be one legacy that we leave. … We’ve done  a lot as a …

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