Our Georgia beat writer, Tim Tucker, talked with former UGA coach Jim Donnan, who’s being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame this weekend primarily on the basis of his successful tenure as head coach at Marshall, where he won a 1-AA national championship.
Donnan, who still lives in Athens in semi-retirement, remains a point of controversy among UGA fans, with some noting he took a floundering program and achieved 40 wins in five years, including four straight bowl wins, and recruited the foundation of the team that Mark Richt took to the 2002 SEC championship. Others point out he had a losing record against main rivals Florida, Tennesee and Georgia Tech and, as I noted here before, completely mishandled the quarterback situation with Quincy Carter.
In discussing the Bulldog Nation critics who denigrated his work at Georgia after his Hall of Fame induction was announced in May, Donnan said to Tucker, “one thing I would ask is, how many of those [critics] would turn down $5 million three different times to be the coach at Georgia?” He was referring to offers he said he received to leave UGA to coach at North Carolina, Oklahoma and N.C. State. Donnan says he feels he was “loyal to the Georgia program. Regardless of what people say about what I did or didn’t do, I feel like I made a commitment here and did all I could.”
So what does that mean in terms of Donnan’s UGA legacy? If loyalty is the criterion, then a lot of folks need to rethink their attitudes about Donnan’s spectacularly unsuccessful predecessor, former Georgia quarterback Ray Goff, because you couldn’t find a more loyal Bulldog than Goff.
Are we supposed to feel all warm and fuzzy about Donnan because he turned down chances to go elsewhere in order to continue his mediocre work at UGA?
What do you think?