UGA needs to be more than a ‘basketball’ or ‘football’ school

The Dogs won big despite Trey Thompkins being hobbled by a toe injury. (Associated Press)

The Dogs won big despite Trey Thompkins being hobbled by a toe injury. (Associated Press)

Wednesday night’s 20-point win over LSU to close out the home schedule at the Steg was a big step on the road to where UGA athletics needs to be.

With Trey Thompkins hurting from a toe injury, Mark Fox’s Dogs flipped their usual scenario of playing great in the first half and collapsing in the second half. Instead, Georgia started cold, missing all but two shots and falling behind 13-4 before coming back to lead 30-25 at halftime and then blowing out the Tigers in the second half, led by Gerald Robinson’s 16 points.

That ensures a winning SEC record for the Dogs, gives them their first regular season 20-win finish that counts since Tubby Smith’s final year as coach and all but locks up an NCAA tourney spot.

It’s not a sure thing until the bracket is announced (unless you win your conference tournament), but as Fox put it after the game, “Nine wins with a chance of 10 in this league, OK? Twenty wins in the regular season. A good nonconference resume. I wouldn’t sit here and tell you that we’re in the NCAA tournament, that we can be satisfied with where we sit. [But] if I were sitting here with the selection committee, with some other coaches, I’d argue all day for our team. You’re darn right I’d argue all day for our team.”

Twenty wins just two years after suffering 20 losses is quite a turnaround and Fox deserves major accolades for the job he’s done in Athens.

Of course, with the roundball Dogs outshining their football counterparts this school year, we’ve already seen the predictable jibes about UGA now becoming a “basketball school.”

But the truth is Georgia needs to be aiming for a lot more than being a basketball or football school, and I’m sure that’s exactly what Greg McGarity has in mind. After all, he spent the better part of two decades at Florida, which has the kind of all-around successful athletic program that the University of Georgia should want to emulate. The Gators are a conference and even national power in just about every sport they play, currently leading the SEC East in men’s basketball and ranking No. 1 in the country in baseball and women’s gymnastics.

That latter standing is particularly galling to the Bulldog Nation, as Jay Clark’s Gym Dogs have fallen off stride in the past couple of years in a sport where they formerly dominated under Suzanne Yoculan, who closed out her UGA career with five consecutive national titles. There’s still a chance the Gym Dogs can get back where they belong this year, but so far it’s looking a bit shaky. Meanwhile, David Perno’s Diamond Dogs, which had become close to an every-other-year regular in the College World Series, are off to another terrible start.

Yes, what the vast majority of folks who frequent this blog are most concerned about is having Mark Richt get his program, the financial underpinning of UGA athletics, back among the SEC and national elite.

But UGA fans need to take a broader view and expect the kind of excellence across-the-board that UF fans have become accustomed to.

I think McGarity is the man to see that goal accomplished.

Meanwhile, a hearty “well done” to Fox and his scrappy team for doing their part.

"Dooley's Junkyard Dogs" is now available again. (Hip-O Select Records)

"Dooley's Junkyard Dogs" is now available again. (Hip-O Select Records)

SPEAKING OF THE JUNKYARD DOGS …

A tip of the hat to the Senator, for pointing out that a new collection of James Brown singles was released this week, and it includes both the long and short versions of the Hardest Working Man in Show Business’ ode to the Georgia football program, “Dooley’s Junkyard Dogs,” which hasn’t been commercially available in quite a while.

It’s always been a source of pride that a legendary performer like the Godfather of Soul recorded a song for UGA, not something that happens very often.

We unfortunately don’t hear the song played by the Redcoats at games any more (anything with “Dooley” in the title apparently is verboten while Mike Adams is still around) and you don’t even hear it on the radio on game days that often any more. I got so caught up in a rare airing on an Athens area station a couple of years ago as my daughter and I were entering the Classic City for a game that I took the wrong entry ramp on the Loop and had to drive the long way to my folks’ home! It was worth it, though.

Anyway, if you don’t already have “Dooley’s Junkyard Dogs” in your music collection, here’s your chance.

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— Bill King, Junkyard Blawg

145 comments Add your comment

Cuz

March 3rd, 2011
11:02 am

I did not know we are a basketball school.

AltamahaDawg

March 3rd, 2011
11:04 am

I did not know we were a football school.

Cuz

March 3rd, 2011
11:06 am

Well at least the Lady Diamond Dawgs are kicking butt and taking names. Nice facility at the end of Milledge.

Cuz

March 3rd, 2011
11:07 am

Not lately Alt, not lately.

AltamahaDawg

March 3rd, 2011
11:09 am

The twirling team is top notch though.

AthensDawg

March 3rd, 2011
11:10 am

Our Equestrian team just won a national championship I think.

Big Tom

March 3rd, 2011
11:11 am

Let’s see…our football program finished below .500 with a loss to UCF and has been heading downhill for three years.

Our basketball program is FINALLY semi-relevant with the help of two guys who are headed to the NBA after this year.

Can we really claim to be either? I think we’re more of a party/women’s basketball/gymnastics school.

AltamahaDawg

March 3rd, 2011
11:13 am

We would be a football school….if it weren’t for those darn “religious views”.

jWall

March 3rd, 2011
11:15 am

bill, what are you talking about? UGA have one on the best tennis, gymnastics, swim, softball, golf and equestrian teams in the country!!! Baseball and women’s basketball is been down but has been a very quality. The dumbest article I’ve ever read on ajc. and that is saying a lot.

jWall

March 3rd, 2011
11:18 am

should’ve proof read my post

Cant Beat Gatauh

March 3rd, 2011
11:20 am

Dawgs are always a hit or miss program. Not too much consistency for this program. SC now pretty good in football and and a power house in baseball. Clemson good in baseball, basketball and in football they are always tough. UGA ? Golf Tennis and now gym team is slipping away. UGA is a party school and not too serious sometimes.

AltamahaDawg

March 3rd, 2011
11:21 am

I vote no, on the proof reading standards.

AltamahaDawg

March 3rd, 2011
11:23 am

ah, party school….there’s another #1 right there.

Bawbie

March 3rd, 2011
11:23 am

Fire Dave Perno immediately Mr. McGarity !

Dawg Dude

March 3rd, 2011
11:36 am

We have a football team? After last years embarrassment, I thought we did away with it.

JOE

March 3rd, 2011
11:42 am

I would rather have a few recent NC’s & a yearly top-5 team in FOOTBALL & mediocre teams in all other sports than vice versa.

Judge Dawg

March 3rd, 2011
11:52 am

I guess UGA will never be as succesful as Tech – at least not in the AJC.

Zack

March 3rd, 2011
11:56 am

UGA is more than a footbal school. It is the press that makes it appear that way. Diamond Dawgs and Gym Dawgs are champions but who knows about it huh. Gotta watch ESPN 2 just to see (only when they have national tournaments though) that but nothing done locally like they do for football or basketball. How about AM 750 get involved and broadcast the other sports.

AltamahaDawg

March 3rd, 2011
11:57 am

Well, Judge it IS tech! We need to set some realistic goals.

Zack

March 3rd, 2011
11:58 am

Tech, is that the school who just got smacked in basball by GSU last night??

Joey

March 3rd, 2011
11:59 am

Bill-

Get a clue. Nobody cares about sports except Football, if the BasketBall team ever has a few top 10 finishes, maybe they’ll get on the radar.

The rest of the sports don’t matter to fans, or don’t make much money, McGarity should be focused on football #1 (Richt has a worse season 90% of the time than year before last 8 years), Basketball #2, nothing else really matters.

AthensDAWG

March 3rd, 2011
12:10 pm

How long until we get rid of Perno?

george

March 3rd, 2011
12:11 pm

could get real ugly for the dawgies. All sorts of rumors going around the NCAA is dropping the hammer soon on the puppies for the recruitment of one of the esteemed dream team members.

AthensDAWG

March 3rd, 2011
12:17 pm

George… And what are you hearing? I heard where Cowherd reported that a major football program was about to get busted for major recruiting violations… Details on what you’ve heard?

DawginLex

March 3rd, 2011
12:26 pm

Here we have Joey and George talking to themselves again.

You are FOS regarding Mark richt cheating in recruiting.

Try Bama
Try Auburn
Try UT

Not UGA. Not while Mark Richt is the head coach.

You should beat the rush and reference my list from yesterday that I provided. Just type a number instead of the same old drivel. Saves time and energy for you Trolls.

DawginLex

March 3rd, 2011
12:28 pm

athens,

don’t fall into the TRoll pit. He is baiting you.

Georgia is not on anybody’s radar for recruiting violations in football.

Word is the rumor that came from Colin Cowhered involves either Oregon or Tennessee.

It’s not Georgia.

Dawg Fud

March 3rd, 2011
12:28 pm

Hate to say it but Perno will not be the coach next season. He is simply not recruiting well.

I like Coach Perno, too.

DAWGMAN

March 3rd, 2011
12:30 pm

Georgia is a very fine academic, public university. Its students are exposed to the opportunity to receive a very fine education. I received one, and have used it every day since graduation in ‘71. I am also a loyal fan of Georgia Football. At the present time, my level-headed loyalty requires me to be very critical of that program. coach richt has lost his competitive compass while maintaining his serenity, and pocketing $2,000,000.00 per year. We can do better. Why not try? I want to go to the games and yell,’It’s Great to be a Georgia Bulldog’ and mean it once again. First and ten; do it again; Go Dawgs Go! And for you DBs, Run to the Ball and Hit Something!

TROJAN

March 3rd, 2011
12:32 pm

UGA is so bad, perhaps they should close the University down and have a University such as Auburn (great admissions standards or payouts) or like Florida that had no problem with Cam’s academic cheating or PC stealing. Or maybe we could aspire to be like the high character of Nick Saban who is obviously above any puny NCAA rule like oversigning.

schmeckdawg

March 3rd, 2011
12:47 pm

Bill, even though I cannot stand Adams, what would be the reason to play Dooley’s Junyard Dawgs at the game? It would make absolutely no sense. Were you joking?

Keep Hunkerin’

McDawg

March 3rd, 2011
12:52 pm

gym dawgs, tennis, softball, golf, (horses)–don’t know what you are talking about

Michael

March 3rd, 2011
12:57 pm

I can’t stand Georgia fans who say nobody cares about basketball. You, may not, but it’s obvious the students at the school do. The Steg’ has been selling out all year.

The scene with Jeremy Price kissing the floor last night was one of the best moments in UGA sports I’ve seen in a long while!!

The entire basketball program deserves tons of praise. They have turned things around in a jiffy. Jeremy Price had his best season as a senior, and was hugely valuable.

If Thompkins and Leslie return next year, this team will be a top 20 caliber team all season. The people involved with UGA care about this…while the 60 and 70 year old, football gurus scattered around the state may not.

As a UGA fan who’s religiously watched UGA hoops, no matter the record, since my early childhood, It feels AWESOME right now to be a Dawg fan.

Yeah, I can’t wait for football…but it baffles me that so many people just refuse to emotionally invest themselves in anything else. The University of Georgia isn’t a professional football franchise…it’s a school full with multiple athletics and deserves praise in each field.

Good write up here.

watcher16

March 3rd, 2011
12:59 pm

What about shout outs to the Softball Team, Bill? Currently #1! Also doing very well in swimming/diving, equestrian, tennis, golf, soccer, and gymnastics is still perennial top 10.

collegeballfan

March 3rd, 2011
1:08 pm

“After all, he (McGarity) spent the better part of two decades at Florida, which has the kind of all-around successful athletic program that the University of Georgia should want to emulate.”

With all due respect Bill, there is more about Florida that Georgia needs to emulate. Florida not only excels athletically but also academically. Florida, and Vandy, are the only SEC members of the Association of American Universities, the nation’s most prestigious group of 61 U.S. public and private institutions. The University of Georgia should aspire to join this select group of universities.

Bill King

March 3rd, 2011
1:09 pm

No slight intended to the great softball, equestrian or swimming-diving programs or any of the other sports at UGA, but I was focusing on the main sports that people actually pay money to see.

AthensDAWG

March 3rd, 2011
1:10 pm

Lex… Those are the two schools I’ve read, too. It will be an interesting couple of weeks to see what/if any comes from this.

Ronnie

March 3rd, 2011
1:13 pm

You should rename your Blog to the ignorant rantings of Capt. Obvious.

AltamahaDawg

March 3rd, 2011
1:20 pm

Joey, I am a fan and I care very much about the other sports. I know firsthand that others do too. You are incorrect.

Bill Fan

March 3rd, 2011
1:23 pm

All the “fans” who support football and nothing else are not supporters of the school at all. If you care about UGA, you want them tops in everything. That’s the way it works at the schools that dominate, take Texas or Florida as examples.

Bill Fan

March 3rd, 2011
1:24 pm

Joey is not just wrong, he’s arrogantly wrong.

BobDawg

March 3rd, 2011
1:30 pm

Watcher16, I agree with you… UGA has always been well rounded/respected in all sports and no reason we can’t be the “Stanford” of the SEC. Great academics and Great Sports programs. McGarity will lead the charge. Finances are in order so all is good and looking up!!!!

Cuz

March 3rd, 2011
1:52 pm

Wasn’t it nice that the idiot who posted first did not post, “First”. Maybe that fool can start a trend.

timthebrave

March 3rd, 2011
1:53 pm

Great job coach Fox and a special thanks to all the seniors on this basketball team. I thought it was great when they started chanting thank you seniors in the last minute of the game

gg

March 3rd, 2011
2:18 pm

It wasn’t too long ago that I was already accustomed to Georgia’s overall athletics program ranking in the top 10 on a national basis every year. About five or six years ago UGA even ranked second to Stanford. Spring sports were a large part of that…tennis, golf, swimming and especially gymnastics! Lately we’ve been on a slide, but I’m confident we’ll be back.

BIRDDAWGONE

March 3rd, 2011
2:34 pm

” but I was focusing on the main sports that people actually pay money to see.” (basketball and football)

“UGA needs to be more than a ‘basketball’ or ‘football’ school”
I haven’t read your “BLAWG” in a long time. It will be longer before I readthis nonsense again.

Bawbie

March 3rd, 2011
2:36 pm

And all of you use to rave about our former A D Damon Evans. Our program as a whole was on a slide till those red panties revealed the truth.

Bawbie

March 3rd, 2011
2:39 pm

Fire Dave Perno and Fire Mark Richt now !

anotherdawg

March 3rd, 2011
2:42 pm

From what I’ve read UGA is in the top three in the SEC both academically and overall sports. This article says we need to be more than a “basketball and football” school. When you look at our other sports, such as tennis, golf, gymnastics, softball, and even baseball, how can anyone say we’re not good in the other sports?

Party Thuga

March 3rd, 2011
2:47 pm

UGA is # 1 in Tattoos and bling and we be all da way turnt up!

Just saying

March 3rd, 2011
3:02 pm

Perno was a stop-gap hire at best.

Rewarded for being a loyal Dawg ala Goof & BooBoo.