The odds already were long against Damon Evans keeping his job as UGA’s athletics director after his DUI arrest this week. But the damning and embarrassing details that surfaced with the release Friday of the Georgia State Patrol incident report pretty well seal the deal.
According to the state trooper who made the arrest, Evans repeatedly invoked his position at UGA to try to avoid being taken into custody, which alone would make it difficult for President Michael Adams to justify keeping Evans at the head of the school’s athletics program. Throw in the widely quoted report of Evans crying uncontrollably and his companion’s red panties in his lap and, well, no institution wants a drunken punchline as its public face, no matter how well he otherwise might have done his job.
Evans, who we now know was less than forthcoming at his press conference the other day, said he wants to keep his job, but if he somehow thinks he’s going to come out of this still as Georgia’s AD, he’s thinking about as clearly as he was when he got into that car with Courtney Fuhrmann.
That’s why, if he really wants to do what’s best for the school where he played football and graduated as well as for himself, Evans won’t wait for Adams to fire him. He’ll resign. Without delay.
And if Evans doesn’t step down right away, Adams doesn’t need to wait for the DUI case to make its way through the courts before acting. It doesn’t really matter whether Evans is convicted of those misdemeanors. He might have been a great financial administrator of the nation’s second most profitable college football program, but that’s only part of the job. The AD also represents the university’s athletics interests to the public, and in that capacity Evans clearly no longer will be able to function effectively.
So one way or the other — through Evans resigning or Adams going ahead and terminating him — this situation needs to be resolved as quickly as possible and an interim AD named, presumably from the UGA Athletic Association staff.
Moving ahead in finding a new athletics director, maybe it’s time for UGA finally to call home Greg McGarity, an Athens native who grew up as one of Dan Magill’s tennis brats, graduated from UGA, worked for quite a few years for the UGA Athletic Association and is currently the senior associate athletics director at the ultra successful University of Florida, where he’s worked since 1992.
Quite a few folks in Athens thought McGarity should have had the UGA job back when Evans got it. After what’s transpired this week, it looks like they were right.
What’s happened to Evans is a tragedy for the man himself and especially for his family, even if it’s of his own making. I’m not here to condemn him morally. What we’re talking about is what’s best for the University of Georgia.
Whether Adams hires someone with UGA ties like McGarity or decides to lure an athletics director from another school, one thing is clear: There should be no foot-dragging in bringing the Damon Evans era to an end.
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