Mark Richt’s position will be even stronger with a new AD

Mark Richt will be getting a new boss. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

Mark Richt will be getting a new boss. (AJC photo by Brant Sanderlin)

There’s a belief Damon Evans’ fall will render Mark Richt’s job less secure. For the life of me, I can’t imagine how.

Evans was apparently seen by some as an ardent Richt defender, but was he really? It was Evans who responded to a question posed by this correspondent via e-mail last October, saying he had “some concerns about where we are at this point in the season.” He also expressed “total confidence” in Richt’s capacity to “properly evaluate our team, address concerns and prepare the right path that will direct us back into the position we all want to be in — competing for championships.”

That seemed, at least to me, a nuanced statement: Not pleased but not at all panicky, expectant of improvement ASAP. I didn’t read it as anything approaching a blind-faith endorsement of the head coach. And I would remind you that the same athletics director issued a recent challenge to his charges after Georgia finished second — second, please note — in the SEC all-sport standings. Said Evans:

We are not where we want to be nationally. I think our program should be much higher than it is. This is probably one of the toughest years from a competitive standpoint that we’ve faced in quite some time.

At the SEC meetings last month, Evans said of Richt:

“Mark is a good football coach. I’m glad he’s our football coach. He’s had a great track record here … I think when they see a little adversity, people want to jump on it and attack it. There is no need for that because he’s not on a hot seat. Mark is in a good place with us.”

I read that not as a he-can-coach-here-as-long-as-he-likes burst of effusion but as standard operating procedure. (I’m unaware of any AD who has ever said of his coach: “Know what? He is on the hot seat.”)

Let’s recall: Evans didn’t hire Richt; he inherited him. The relationship between the two appeared neither exceptionally chummy nor uncommonly chilly. Evans wasn’t Richt’s mentor in the way Bobby Bowden and Vince Dooley are; Evans was his boss. I never expected Evans to fire Richt after one lesser season; at the same time, I never thought Evans would be one who ardently supported his highest-profile coach through several lesser seasons.

Administratively, Evans was a pragmatist. He wasn’t an ex-coach, and ex-coaches tend to be easier on current coaches. (Ex-coaches, like many current coaches, find reasons to make excuses: Injuries, scheduling, bad luck.) Evans was ready to dump Dennis Felton — whom he also didn’t hire — before the coach won the SEC basketball tournament in 2008, and even that seeming breakthrough bought Felton only 10 more months.

After six years on the job, Evans was also secure in his job performance: He’d presided over a department that was the second-most profitable in the nation, and he had reason to feel buoyed by his decisions to can Felton and hire Mark Fox. I submit that an entrenched Evans would have been quicker to cool on Richt — or any coach — than an AD new to the position.

And that’s what Georgia will have. New ADs are traditionally slow to make major decisions. (Dan Radakovich, who fired Chan Gailey 21 months after taking over Georgia Tech, is an exception.) New ADs prefer to take time to assess, which only makes sense. Put simply, I can’t see Greg McGarity or Carla Williams recommending that Richt be fired if he goes 7-5 again this fall. But I could have seen Evans issuing a statement of extreme displeasure.

Not many people can be said to have gained in Evans’ ouster, but Richt is surely chief among them. Bulldog Nation has just been buffeted and embarrassed, and if there’s one thing this famously placid coach isn’t apt to do, it’s cause a stir.

248 comments Add your comment

renegade#1

July 5th, 2010
11:54 am

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Bradley. Mark Bradley said: Why Mark Richt's position at UGA will be even stronger with a new AD. http://bit.ly/djPaXF [...]

Mark Bradley

July 5th, 2010
11:54 am

Kudos, renegade#1.

Techman

July 5th, 2010
11:55 am

ill say it first

Techman

July 5th, 2010
11:55 am

GHF

July 5th, 2010
11:57 am

Totally agree. Hire McGarity!

A man of Wisdom

July 5th, 2010
11:58 am

The University of Georgia, sadly, has fallen almost irretrievably beyond hope. The salaciousness of the charges against Evans are a sad embarrassment to all that is the University of Georgia. Stanford University wins the NACDA Director’s Cup every single year, with scholar-athletes, while the University of Georgia comes in, at best, number 17-18, or so. And Stanford is NOT engaged in all the sordid affairs, as UGA is. This is a sad moment and I sorely pray the University can somehow move beyond this. However, this will take leadership which I believe is sorely lacking!

Whopper Dawg

July 5th, 2010
11:59 am

I think you are right.

George Stein

July 5th, 2010
11:59 am

Call me, Damon!

The Deegan

July 5th, 2010
12:00 pm

To the idiot on the Dawgvent who suggested Mark Slonaker, you are a tool.

collegeballfan

July 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

Not being familiar with the “inside” at UGA I would not have a clue as to how this will effect Richt. But I have been in the situation where the “boss’ was fired. That does leave an unbalanced feeling and I am sure Richt has that same feeling now. Hiring a new AD probably can’t happen quick enough for Richt.

Inspector G

July 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

I’ll say it this way: Mathew Stafford could throw the football a mile, but he also is a psychic. I heard, one time, at a practice he came to Evans and warned him of his demise. Evans, of course, brushed it off citing the obviously bewilderment of such a remark. I wonder if he thinks that now?

cantondawg

July 5th, 2010
12:04 pm

This is not a sad moment for UGA. UGA cannot control the actions of its employee. THIS is a sad moment for Damon Evans. He is 100% responsible for his actions not the University.

renegade#1

July 5th, 2010
12:05 pm

Any fan that would willingly choose to fire coach Richt needs a shrink. The only thing I can think of that would get him fired is to go on a midnight ride with Damon in his yeehaw cruiser. I can see it now Mark; drunk with a fat gal and a pair of red panties on his head. That will get your job every time.

Ga Dawg Stuck in Florida

July 5th, 2010
12:05 pm

Doesn’t matter who it is, they are nothing but a puppet for Adams. That is why he liked Evans so much. Gave him a chance and told him what to do. Adams, with his controlling personality, will hire another puppet. McGarity is too strong and is capable of actually making decisions on his on. He will never take the job when he figures out what Adams wants….you watch!

Pick of the Litter

July 5th, 2010
12:06 pm

I was perfectly happy with DE before last week. UGA is the second most profitable athletic department in the country. All AD’s should be interested in this opening. If Adams and the board understand this, UGA will hire an improvement over DE.

It is always good to be a Georgia Bulldog, even in the worst of times.

Loran, Whatayagot?

July 5th, 2010
12:06 pm

Adams has the final say on Coach Richt’s job, and he was boss when he was hired. Adams runs the show, and don’t forget it. Having said that, Evans situation is a tradgedy for him and his family and a terrible thing for the UGA Athletic Dept. Pray for his marriage.

John

July 5th, 2010
12:06 pm

You alluded to it just now, but the biggest reason Richt benefits from this whole thing is his character! Granted, anyone is capable of royally fouling up, but I would need to be picked up off the floor and provided smelling salts if Richt was ever arrested for drunk driving with panties in his lap from a woman (not his wife) in the car. Richt would never embarrass his family, university or (most importantly to him) his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with a move like that! After this horribly bad press, UGA wants as many Mark Richts around as possible!!!

What Da

July 5th, 2010
12:08 pm

“Mark Richt’s position at UGA will be even stronger with a new AD”. Richt is a head coach in the SEC.
WIN or GO HOME!

Vince Rules!

July 5th, 2010
12:09 pm

Except for Ms. Fuhrmann’s unborn child and the Evans family, pretty much EVERYONE associated with UGA is in a better position today than they were last Monday.

Oh, Fire Adams, too!

Dawg Jones

July 5th, 2010
12:09 pm

Hey Mark…how good a shape is this department? Seems like most felt it was doing well, so why does a DUI change what is happening. Seems like Damon was more concerned about high price drinks and the like so somebody in there must have been doing something. By the way the Directors cup finish would have been Top 15 if Gymnastics and Baseball would have done what they normally do…and that is the Georgia avg over the last 10 years?

We Drink This State

July 5th, 2010
12:10 pm

Nothing succeeds like success; if Richt continues to win, his job security will take care of itself. Can’t see the AD change having any effect one way or another.

Beast from the East

July 5th, 2010
12:10 pm

I don’t think it will affect Richt one way or the other. Win and you’ve got job security. Lose and you’ll be gone. That’s just the way it is in the SEC with the exception of Vandy. If Richt was to go 7-5, then he would be on the hot seat. I don’t think that will be the case this year. Look for them to be 9-3 or 10-2.
Good luck in the search for a new AD, Dawgs.
I’m sure it’s a relief to have this sordid mess behind you.

DIT

July 5th, 2010
12:10 pm

Larry Munson for AD!!!

Grandpa Right, formerly of Cochran

July 5th, 2010
12:11 pm

This “man of wisdom” has none. He doesn’t know anything about the Director’s Cup- Stanford wins it year after year because of the NUMBER of teams it fields, not the quality of those teams or the character of their athletes.

This incident is embarassing and a horrible tragedy for Evan’s family, but the UGA Athletic program is much larger than this. This will pass and pass soon for everyone but the Evans family.

oh my

July 5th, 2010
12:11 pm

Bradley continues

bitter adolph adams

July 5th, 2010
12:12 pm

I RUN THIS STATE, 30-24, I ONLY matter fools, get me athother yes man, girl. ps screw vince and that stupid football team, its memememe

Denver Dog

July 5th, 2010
12:14 pm

Glady to see that quck and decisive action took place. It is a shame, the man had the world on a rope and blew it. I feel more for his family, but life must go on and hopefully there will be a great life learning exprerience and we all we move on stronger and better.

renegade#1

July 5th, 2010
12:19 pm

Anybody that would fire Coach Richt needs help who are you going to find better? Ya’ll cry that he’s too good of a guy; well ya’ll dont have to keep too tight of a rein on him to keep him out of clubs picking up amusement as he goes he’s not a drunk, whore mongering crackhead. He actually seems to care about the players on his team leave him alone and let him do his job.

BigdaddyJ

July 5th, 2010
12:19 pm

Man of Wisdom – get some wisdom. If UGA fielded a team in every sport like Stanford we would end up near the top too. They field in almost 12 more total sports than us.
Bottom line is the sky isn’t falling folks. Evans made a poor choice which at this level you pay for with your job. More sad is the Evans family. UGA will overcome this like any school does in their follies. However, the unity at the school will not be there until Dr. Adams also leaves. Too much friction with other people there as well. What we don’t want or need is an Adams disciple taking over as AD.

Can You Dig It

July 5th, 2010
12:22 pm

Bradley once again you try to read peoples minds….This article just proves what an idiot you are.How the hell do you know what Evans was thinking?….you don’t your just a below average reporter who thinks he’s got all the answers….I think your boss is thinking about firing you….I can read between the lines …..he thinks your an idiot…I know what he’s thinking…yah..right!….. Can You Dig It!

Bob in buford

July 5th, 2010
12:23 pm

We don’t need to make a statement with Carla Williams. We need the best person for the job and that is McGarity. It’s a bonus that he’s a UGA guy. He has the experience and is probably working for the best AD in the country.

renegade#1

July 5th, 2010
12:23 pm

I had some other stuff to write besides first but some internet demon is eating the letters off my keyboard.

OSCAR

July 5th, 2010
12:25 pm

I can’t wait until Damon’s book tells all!!!!!!

Mountain Man

July 5th, 2010
12:26 pm

Evans who? I didnt even know he was there.

Mountain Man

July 5th, 2010
12:26 pm

Evans who? I didnt even know he was there.

oh my

July 5th, 2010
12:28 pm

well said…. can you dig it!

Great-Grandpa More Right

July 5th, 2010
12:29 pm

Youre exactly correct, Grandpa Right, Stanford fields more teams so its an unfair fight. Florida, on the other hand, almost always finishes first in the standings within the SEC because of the quality of their athletes

DIT

July 5th, 2010
12:31 pm

I’ve done a good deal of research on both McGarity & Williams since yesterday. Both are obviously qualified. However, McGarity has far more experience and would be more “seasoned” to take over and get our University back on track.
I just hope that if it does work out that way that the Ncaap won’t wage war on UGA just because they hired a more qualified person than Williams. You know Jesse is chomping at the bit for some attention right now! Again, Carla has some great qualities and one day will make a good AD. For right now, this University needs a seasoned person at the helm!

The Thin Guy

July 5th, 2010
12:36 pm

If the USC gig doesn’t work out you could get Lane Kippin, his dad, and his gorgeous wife. What does the AD @ UGA or anywhere else do that could possibly be worth $550k/year? That more money than the ajc pays Mark Bradley.

Ted Striker

July 5th, 2010
12:36 pm

A lot of people want to jump on Damon Evans and that’s fine; Evans made a poor personal decision (or series thereof) and now he has to deal with the consequences.That said, I’ve read some forums where a number of people take shots at Damon by comparing him to Vince Dooley, saying that Coach Dooley would’ve never made the poor personal choices Damon Evans did.

And to that, I say, au contraire, ixnay atthay argumentway.

During the last 18 months of Coach Dooley’s tenure as AD, I witnessed things every bit as damaging to his reputation — they just weren’t seen by very many people and they were never publicized. Coach Dooley just never got caught.

Truth be told, I actually respect Damon Evans a little bit more because he at least got out of town and off the UGA campus when he did what he did.

Greg

July 5th, 2010
12:42 pm

Richt 12 conference losses last four years-1-3 vs UF and UT-2-2 vs UK plus losses to LSU ,SC,Vandy and Alabama-plus is 4-0 against Auburn-
Donnan-10 conference losses last four -1-3 vs UT UF and Auburn and one loss to SC

trey

July 5th, 2010
12:42 pm

Oh brother here we go a million hit blog with: “Richt’s job is on the line now with a new AD”, “no it’s not”, “yes it is”, “no it’s not”, “yes it is”, “no it’s not”. “Fire Richt!”, “no don’t! I’ll cry”

Fer crying out loud Mark, didn’t you pick up ANYTHING substantial from the presser to start a column on?

bitter naacp

July 5th, 2010
12:44 pm

its time to impose our will by making whitty fill bad about what happened 150 years ago and get our pic in. its all about black this black that, nobody here cares about the most qualified it didnot matter when we pushed for a under qualified “evans” at 40 years to be named a.d., it only matters that he or she is black, dig this fools, jesse has been placed on stand by to put down whitty by using the race card at will, hahaha see what guilt will do just look at the monster that we have created, punk as— white folks. you lose again, guilt is great

NorthWestDawg

July 5th, 2010
12:44 pm

@A Man of Wisdom … you are nothing more than a sad lamentor. UGA is “irretrievably beyond hope”? What kind of statement is that? Hope for what? The AD was young and brash and a known womanizer … and he finally got caught. While it’s embarrassing for UGA, the athletics program has an outstanding group of coaches, which are the ones who really run the show.

Evans was a puppet — even a wise man should know that. … And as for your comparison with Stanford, who cares about the NACDA cup? Seriously, I mean who throws a party for that? Stanford = irrelevant in sports that matter.

Paul in RDU

July 5th, 2010
12:44 pm

Stanford having a better record in the Directors Cup is not a consequence of them fielding more Div 1 teams than UGA – The Directors Cup points are based on 9 men’s and 9 women’s teams and UGA has that covered.
Perhaps winning NC championships has something to do with it.

TROTTINGHOME

July 5th, 2010
12:48 pm

Evan’s didn’t have a problem with Richt…it’s a very complex relationship AD’s and coaches have…in the end you have to win and if you don’t someone has to go…if your to close to the coach in question you may be going too. It’s business first and drinks afterwards..both to be done with utmost respect and measured caution…cause it has been said many times over…”nothing lasts forever”.

jw

July 5th, 2010
12:52 pm

A well thought out article and I for a change I did not feel like you were just hating on UGA. It was actually very objective.

Cash In

July 5th, 2010
12:53 pm

Richt never liked Evans — he’s glad that he can make decisions without evans telling him no. Richt may push for an AD that will do what the football program wants for a change.

Elliot Garcia

July 5th, 2010
12:53 pm

Don’t forget who is number one in the SEC all sports standings….