Evans isn’t out of the woods yet

Damon Evans, seen here with Mark Richt, will have to do more than apologize. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

Damon Evans, seen here with Mark Richt, will have to do more than apologize. (Brant Sanderlin / AJC)

So, did Damon Evans do enough in his news conference late Thursday to save his job?

He struck the expected contrite tone, apologized for the shame he has brought on the University of Georgia and his family with his arrest on DUI charges, promised to learn from his “grave, grave” mistake, and thanked UGA President Michael Adams for standing by him.

Somehow, just learning a tough lesson doesn’t seem enough, does it? And it should be noted that Adams said in a statement released by UGA that he “will reserve further action pending a full review by staff and legal counsel,” so Evans isn’t out of the woods yet.

Frankly, I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t have to do a lot more than just apologize. UGA athletes arrested on alcohol-related charges must sit out at least 10 percent of a season. If Evans is going to get to keep his job, it would seem only fair that he at the very least forgo that $110,000 salary increase that went into effect today.

Beyond that, some sort of outreach program aimed at restoring his credibility with UGA students, employees and supporters would also seem a must.

And there’s still the possibility that the backwash from all this could result in Evans and/or Adams concluding that he no longer can effectively lead the UGA Athletic Association.

After all, he is in a position of responsibility over more than 600 student athletes at a university that’s put a big emphasis on trying to stem an almost endemic underage drinking problem. And on top of that he was the public face of those don’t-drink-and-drive messages that run on the scoreboard at Sanford Stadium in the fall.

DUI is a hot-button issue. You never know who might be coming over the center line straight at you or one of your loved ones out on the road late at night.

It doesn’t matter that Evans has been an excellent financial steward of the UGA Athletic Association’s $85 million budget since taking over the athletic director’s job six years ago today, managing to keep the program among the few in the country that are highly profitable in tough economic times.

While the bottom line usually rules in modern big-time college football, institutions like the University of Georgia are very sensitive to a public relations nightmare like having Mr. “If You Drink and Drive You Lose” accused of doing exactly what he’s warned UGA fans against.

So when that Atlanta DUI arrest mug shot of Evans looking more than a bit worse for wear hit TV and the Internet Thursday, the odds of him getting out of this with his career intact grew rather long.

All the facts of Evans’ case still aren’t known. And it has yet to be adjudicated. DUI cases don’t always stick, as has been proved this week in Gwinnett County with County Commission Chairman Charles Bannister.

But you’ve got to wonder how a guy like Evans, a graduate of UGA’s prestigious Terry College of Business and one of the youngest ADs in the nation when named to the position at 34, got himself into a situation like this.

Frankly, he seemed so much smarter than that.

461 comments Add your comment

59bulldawg

July 2nd, 2010
8:26 am

I agree that nobody is perfect. But this is not about perfection. It’s about poor decision-making by a man who leads a major college athletic department and his future ability to be taken seriously by the student athletes and fans in that program. It’s difficult for many people in these current economic times to understand why a man who has been given so much . . . a great job that pays him exceedingly well to do something that he dearly loves and a beautiful wife and family . . . would jeopardize it all like this. Evidently Damon either has something eating at him or he thinks he’s ten foot tall and bullet proof. Before this sorry episode I thought we had a rising superstar among major college ADs. I still think the guy is super talented but his ability to lead has been greatly eroded . . . and perhaps tarnished beyond repair.

Santa Cruz CA Dawg

July 2nd, 2010
8:29 am

The female passenger will be his undoing. He couldn’t learn from scumbags liuke Tiger Woods to mind his buisness at home? And to say this is racist is nonsense; didn’t Bama fire a white coach a few years ago who was running around on his wife. The basketball coach at Tenn got away with it, but look at their moral history. He is gone and I wish Adams would go out with him.

AP

July 2nd, 2010
8:29 am

Unfortunately, this incident reveals alot about Damon’s true character. So sorry this happened to him, but more so for his wife and family. Not saying I don’t have faults, but I don’t command the salary and respect of so many required of his lofty position. I believe after careful evaluation, Damon will be let go and we will be better off in the long run for it. Just what we didn’t need going into a promising football season and what has become a busy summer recruiting period. Go Dawgs!!!

Mike Oxbig

July 2nd, 2010
8:36 am

Roll tide– you’re back for more of your idiotic comments? Bama fans talking about ANYTHING related to sleaze, poor ethics, crooked boosters, low-rent coaches, toothless fans, etc is a friggin’ joke. Everyone is laughing at you right now! Go back outside and make sure your above-ground propane tank is full

Scooter dawgs

July 2nd, 2010
8:37 am

Dont worry Damon they wont catch you “ridin dirty” for at least a year !

Burnt Toast

July 2nd, 2010
8:42 am

Well guess Michael Adams will have to come in from vacation and put on his Bow-tie. Not tooooo good Damon !

meh

July 2nd, 2010
8:49 am

he’s human. humans screw up. suspend him a while, let him pay his fine or serve his sentence or whatever and move on.

MichaelMon

July 2nd, 2010
8:49 am

This isn’t a firing offense. Other than headlines that say “GA AD arrested for DUI” it brings little shame to the UGA. Mr. Evans gets the shame. He should voluntarily forfeit his salary for 1 year or donate to MADD or another similar organization. Then go to rehab. Then explain the non-wife female in his car. Who was playing at Chastain that night?

Red

July 2nd, 2010
8:52 am

Bottom line: if Damon Evans cared about UGA, he would have resigned yesterday. Now the President has to make the decision for him which will alienate some and make others happy. The ONLY decision that can be made is to fire Evans. His position demands a high standard on issues like drinking under the influence & personal character. He has been paid handsomely and has done an excellent job as AD. The fact that he has thrown all that away (and damaged his family life) is a reflection on him, not UGA. UGA has an easy, yet painful decision here. Energy needs to be directed to finding the next AD. Scary times to be a Bulldog, but tough times don’t last forever.

JB

July 2nd, 2010
8:52 am

DUI bad, but the woman………..Adams can’t gloss this over…….Private business, you survive this, State University, you don’t………CEO of a company has this happen, it’s old news,no news in 24 hours.
Not here.

collegeballfan

July 2nd, 2010
8:56 am

Do you UGA grads, no one else matters, just you grads, want to listen to Evans sing: “I’m sorry, so sorry..” for the next few years?

The AD at UGA, GT, UT, etc all live in glass houses. Same for the coaches. Same for the University presidents. A “near perfect” image is expected and required.

You UGA grads need to decide.

JB

July 2nd, 2010
8:58 am

She wasn’t a hooker….He was on a DATE ! Geez……….maybe we will hire someone who demands and gets excellence…..

JB

July 2nd, 2010
9:00 am

Wonder what Rev. Wright would say?

dawgster

July 2nd, 2010
9:00 am

First, want to address all the classless fans that want to throw this man under the bus…You need to be careful throwing stones at our program or personal attacks on it…This is a huge mistake and everyone should be thankful that there was not an accident and someone wasn’t hurt…I hope people will not try and make this a racial thing, but already that has been the case, and that is very sad…Damon has done a great job for UGA and that should be taken into account, but with that being said, i don’t know if magnitude of the position and leadership he had can be maintained…He has to repair his image and whatever personal issues he has will need to be dealt with between him and his family…I don’t know how i feel about him keeping his job as we all make mistakes and it would be unfortunate to ruin his career, but what public senitment be in either keeping him or letting him resign..that would appear to be a no win situation for UGA as whatever decision is rendered will not please everyone…I hope people will not want a rush to judgement and give the university time to look at all the facts and the bottom line have the university’s best interest at heart…Whatever happesn i wish the best for Damon and his family….

Jack

July 2nd, 2010
9:02 am

There is no way he survives this event. The DUI is bad, but the 28 yr old white girl (not his wife)in the car puts the fork in it. The girl was so classy, she got arrested for disorderly conduct. Once the media starts focusing on her, Adams will be forced to fire Evans.

Uncle Sam

July 2nd, 2010
9:02 am

Bet there were some fireworks last night at the Evan’s residence last night !

Paddy

July 2nd, 2010
9:02 am

gadawg…..Mett’s fondling of that woman and his public drunkeness is a lesser offense. Evans DUI could have killed someone! Fondling a woman in a bar is not going to get an inocent person killed. It was not a mistake on Evans part. It was a decision on Evans part, big difference! The higher up the food chain you go the fewer 2nd chances you get. He is high up-no 2nd chance!

Paddy

July 2nd, 2010
9:03 am

Jack….you make some good points.

JB

July 2nd, 2010
9:06 am

He’ll end up being a liquor route salesman for Leberman( sp) the regents heavy guy. about 200,000 gross. 120,000 net, 6,000 a month to wife and kids, 4,000 a month to live on…laugh, but real world stuff.

Cow horns hook

July 2nd, 2010
9:08 am

Dawgster….. Damon is paid the big bucks to not make those kind of mistakes. I hope he bounces back but not as Georgia’s A D. There is a win win situation here for UGA and its obvious, Dismiss Damon.

JB

July 2nd, 2010
9:09 am

Or a Zaxby’s franchise aka Ray Goff……..

gdawginkalamazoo

July 2nd, 2010
9:10 am

I would hope that his contract has a morals clause in it somewhere. If so, see ya, unless he can explain the stupid chick in the spagehtti strap dress and hooker make-up. I would imagine that this in not the first time he has done something like this. If so call it dumb luck that he got caught.

JB

July 2nd, 2010
9:11 am

You can save up some nice change at 550k a year…….This is a shame……pray for the family.

Crackhead

July 2nd, 2010
9:19 am

He should only be fired if he has to drive a company car.

Tom

July 2nd, 2010
9:23 am

How can Adams/UGA justify firing him when the name of a former HC & AD who was a womanizing drunk is on the front of the freaking athletics building?!

Rick Pitino

July 2nd, 2010
9:23 am

Damon…. you should have waited till the bar closed and got you a booth in the back my friend.

Jimmy Jack

July 2nd, 2010
9:29 am

How can he POSSIBLY STAY AS AD??? Think about the next athlete who gets a DUI! Can CMR or any coach kick the kid off the team/scholarship/et al with D Evans as AD??? No way-the lawyers would have a field day and the UGA would pay and pay big. Is his treatment to be commensurate with that of the young QB that was run out of town on a rail or, due to his position, will he be coddled? I think he has done a great job as AD but in my mind, this disqualifies him for the position immediately. Surely he has a “morals” clause or some such in the contract. Too bad but “Management sets the pattern”.
UGA must come down on equal treatment for all.

Paddy

July 2nd, 2010
9:31 am

Rick Pitino……you offer some sage advice. Why do the good ideas always surface too late? Must be the Crown Royal that gets in the way!

Nick Nolte

July 2nd, 2010
9:32 am

Hey Damon….Nice Mug Shot! I’ve always heard you do things the right way !

AHS

July 2nd, 2010
9:35 am

FIRE HIS ASS!

1eyedJack

July 2nd, 2010
9:35 am

I don’t claim to be a lawyer…and I don’t play one on TV, but I have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express before so I guess that qualifies me to comment.

Legally in this country you are innocent until proven guilty. (I think that still holds true.) But in the court of public opinion and from the preponderance of evidence thus far submitted…he’s guilty. Guilty of violating state driving laws, e.g. driving under the influence, a misdemeanor, I believe. That, in and of itself, is a serious matter worthy of dismissal from a publicly funded institution. Court matters will have to play out.

Damon, I hope you have a good lawyer, because you’re going to need one, not only to get your driver’s license back, but to try and keep some assets. Your wife didn’t look too amused in that picture.

This would be serious enough to call into question Damon’s judgment to continue to lead this storied program during a time when it is already struggling with alcohol related problems. But that is not the worst problem here. People have historically imbibed alcohol, some responsibly, and some not so responsibly. I’m no hypocrit here. In my younger days I woke up a time or two not remembering how I got home.

The major problem here is credibilty, lack of judgment and character. His credibility is shot, he showed a major lack of judgment and his character is at the least questionable (And so is that of your consort).

This is not just a question of guilt or innocence. This is a public relations nightmare. If not dealt with it will call into question the integrity of the entire institution. Questions will drag on into the fall and be a MAJOR distraction to the efforts of the Georgia Bulldog football team to re-establish it’s on field credibility.

Damon, son, I’m sorry…but YOU HAVE GOT TO GO!!! You had your shot, and by all accounts you were doing a fine job, but…YOU BLEW IT.

Richard Dawson

July 2nd, 2010
9:35 am

gdawginkalamazoo

July 2nd, 2010
9:38 am

I bet the photographer for the mug shot said “okay Damon just relax for a minute and I will have you say “cheers” when I am ready”. With the digital technology probably took about 4 or 5 shots to get that one! Probably had a fan blowing in his face to dry out his contacts. The blood alcohol level test will be the kicker here. I think they wait until that comes back at .24 before canning him.

CALMDAWG

July 2nd, 2010
9:47 am

D. EVANS=HISTORY, He has gone against what he led everyone to believe he stood for. This is kind of the pattern for young black successful men. Not only the DUI charge but the young friend? And no Richt’s Butt Cut (we all don’t cheat)

Mr. Wiggles

July 2nd, 2010
9:50 am

Bud Man….. She was only a friend and I assure you she was only in the passenger seat. Furthermore she was not wearing jammies and no odor was emanating from the said vehicle.

1eyedJack

July 2nd, 2010
9:52 am

As a fellow state employee I know for a fact that he just had to undergo a state sponsored driver training staff development seminar. He won’t be driving a state vehicle for some time.

Dan

July 2nd, 2010
9:53 am

I heard Coach Richt has already kicked him off of the football team!

Quincy Carter

July 2nd, 2010
9:53 am

Cut da brotha some slack peoples. He just be havings some fun.

Eat and Tweet

July 2nd, 2010
9:57 am

Lawsy Mercy Quincy ….Wheres you been?

1eyedJack

July 2nd, 2010
9:58 am

Quincy, having fun like that could get a “brotha” cut or shot. Just ask Steve McNair…or not.

gdawginkalamazoo

July 2nd, 2010
9:59 am

Morals clause? Explain the stupid chick in the spagehtti strap dress and hooker make-up.

Mr. Wiggles

July 2nd, 2010
10:03 am

I’m sure that Mrs. Evans will be more than happy to drive Damon back and forth for his day to day A D job functions at UGA.

Red

July 2nd, 2010
10:10 am

There’s always someone to step in and do the job. It’s not like it’s the end of our sport program if Evans steps down. Let’s start from a clean slate with a new AD. I don’t want Evans representing my school anymore. I liked and respected him before this but not anymore. As long as Evans is AD, UGA will be the laughing stock of the SEC or maybe NCAA football. We need to continue to maintain a clean program and that starts from the top.

unhappy dawgfan

July 2nd, 2010
10:11 am

Wow, what a shocker.

From a PR perspective, the DUI is a black eye and the 28 year old female who was “just a friend” is a low blow.

I went to school with the 28 yr old and new her pretty well. I can guarantee you that she was more than a friend. That is her personality and how she was in college. I have lost all respect for her after this incident.

As for Evans, he should be outta here and needs to get tested for STDs.

Boss

July 2nd, 2010
10:11 am

UGA’s college of business isn’t prestigious. It’s very low ranked. GT’s brand new MBA program is already top 25.

And you didn’t fire Evans.

There is something seriously, genuinely wrong with you UGA people.

unhappy dawgfan

July 2nd, 2010
10:12 am

“Knew her pretty well”

Bulldog59

July 2nd, 2010
10:15 am

As Bill’s colleague, Mark Bradley said……

Michael Adams doesn’t like a lot of things — the BCS and Vince Dooley, to name two — but mostly the president doesn’t like being embarrassed.

Adams’ statement says it all. He “will reserve further action pending a full review by staff and legal counsel.”

Sounds like an old western I saw once where they said….
We’re going to give him a fair trial followed by a proper hanging (or something like that.)

Bulldog59

July 2nd, 2010
10:19 am

Actually the quote was from the movie, Silverado and it was:

We’re gonna give you a fair trial, followed by a first class hanging. …

Evans can probably sense what is coming next.

Dawghater

July 2nd, 2010
10:23 am

Don’t you think Mr. Evans should follow Tiger’s lead and check in for sex rehab. And remember Puppy Dawg fans, don’t drink and drive after tailgating. Mr. Evans says so!

JJ

July 2nd, 2010
10:24 am

What the fuss, UGA is a party school. You have to drink and party at least three times weekly to get admitted. I am not sure about graduation requirements. I never got to that point.