UGA President Michael Adams raised a few eyebrows Tuesday when he said that while he thinks there are three or four people currently on the athletic association’s staff who would make “very strong” candidates to replace Damon Evans, “my first look in this case is going to be outside.”
I’m not a big fan of Adams generally, but I liked his reasoning here. (And not just because Greg McGarity, my favorite candidate for the athletics director’s job, currently works at the University of Florida, though he has strong ties to UGA.)
Said Adams: “I want an outside opinion to take a hard look at what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. As well as we’re doing it, can we do it better?”
Of course, it’s entirely possible that in the end the very capable search committee appointed by Adams might decide to recommend interim AD Frank Crumley or some other in-house candidate. But I wouldn’t bet on it. This is certainly no knock on Crumley or anyone else currently on the athletic association staff, but fresh blood is generally a good idea. While promoting from within can at times be a sound philosophy, it also can lead to the Ray Goffs and Ron Jirsas of the athletic world.
As Adams said, Georgia’s athletics director is “one of the five or six best” such jobs in the country and “there’s no shortage of interest.” UGA would be foolish not to survey the national landscape.
Speaking of the next AD, David Ching of The Athens Banner-Herald predicts Evans’ successor will have a background from the financial side of athletics administration. I’m not so sure that’s necessary, though.
Yes, the financial bottom line drives college athletics in the ESPN era, but that doesn’t mean your AD has to be a numbers cruncher or contract negotiator. That’s what you have guys like Crumley on staff for. And the athletics director also is the face and voice of your program, so a familiarity with the intricacies of public relations is a must.
I do agree with Ching that the days of putting old coaches into the AD’s spot are mostly past (at least, at forward-thinking schools), and it is a certainty that UGA’s next athletics director will come from the ranks of college sports administrators — likely one with experience at a school with a big athletics budget like Georgia’s.
OBSESSION WITH RICHT
It’s not been particularly surprising that the same folks who keep trying to put Mark Richt on a “hot seat” in terms of job security have been advancing the idea that a change of athletics director at UGA will be bad for Richt or put more pressure on him to succeed.
Sure, new administrators like to bring in their own hires, but where you’ll mostly see that is in the staff. No new athletics director is going to come into Athens and mess with a guy who’s won 90 games in nine seasons.
In the wake of the Evans debacle, the wholesome image and consistency that Richt represents is extremely important for UGA. And a slightly subpar season — or even two — isn’t going to change that.
As Barrett Sallee of CollegeFootballNews.com put it: “Georgia needs stability, and Mark Richt — a man that is the epitome of stability — is the perfect man to provide it. Now, if the football programs continues to deteriorate for the next couple of years, then yes, maybe it will be time for him to go. But that will have nothing to do with the athletic director and everything to do with the direction of the program.”
Richt is a competitor and he wasn’t happy with an eight-win season. He doesn’t need anyone, including a new boss, to tell him that UGA needs to be regularly in the running for the SEC championship game.
I think Chris Low of ESPN.com was on the mark with this prediction: “Ultimately, I still say there’s a better chance Richt wins an SEC championship in the next two or three years than there is that he loses his job.”
What to make of the “breakdown of communications,” as the UGA police chief called it, that resulted in football player Jordan Love being arrested for not giving an officer his middle name?
Simple. When a cop asks you for information, give it to him, no matter how silly it might seem. You don’t use your middle name, you’re not sure how to spell it, and you don’t understand why he needs it? Never mind. Just give him a polite answer. Because too many police officers, particularly on the campus force in Athens, seem to have Mayberry’s Deputy Barney Fife as a role model.
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