Good morning. Hope you had a good weekend.
Georgia’s baseball team certainly didn’t, getting swept at home by Florida.
The Bulldogs, No. 1 two weeks ago and No. 6 last week in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll, figure to plummet when the new rankings come out today.
One person who had a nice weekend: Mark Fox.
His family was in Athens — the first time he had seen them in 26 days.
“That’s been hard,” Georgia’s new men’s basketball coach said. “My daughter came up the escalator, and I thought, ‘Wow, she looks taller. Her hair looks longer.’”
Fox’s family — his wife Cindy, 6-year-old daughter Olivia and 8-year-old son Parker – will move to Athens this summer after finishing the school year in Nevada. Meanwhile, Fox is staying in the Georgia Center hotel, a short stroll from Stegeman Coliseum.
Hope you saw Saturday’s Q&A, in which Fox touched on topics ranging from Daniel Miller to Trey Thompkins to Vincent Williams to Travis Leslie. If you missed it, here’s a link.
Fox also discussed a few other matters that didn’t make the Q&A, but which I thought you might be interested in here:
THE 2009-10 SCHEDULE: Georgia got behind on scheduling between the January firing of Dennis Felton and the April hiring of Fox.
Fox inherited games at Missouri, at Virginia Tech, vs. Illinois in Gwinnett Arena and vs. St. John’s in Madison Square Garden — but no non-conference games in Stegeman Coliseum except for the rivalry game against Georgia Tech. He also inherited an offer to play in a Christmas tournament in Hawaii, which UGA had been penciled in to do, but declined the invitation. “We’re not going to Hawaii,” Fox said. “Had we gone to Hawaii, we would have . . . been away from home, like, five or six games in a row.” He added: “We played Hawaii every year [at Nevada]. I know how hard that is, and it was a lot shorter trip from Reno than it is from Athens. So we elected not to do that. We’ll get back there [another year].”
So, bottom line, UGA was eight non-conference games short of completing the 2009-10 schedule when Fox took over. He said three or four opponents have been identified, and UGA is “crossing t’s and dotting i’s” with them. But the other games “are going to need some work.” Look for the schedule to be announced later than usual.
“Finding teams that want to play and finding dates and situations that work will take some time,” Fox said.
SCHOLARSHIPS: After signing Williams, Georgia has three scholarships still available. Fox would like to use at least one of them this year — if he finds the right player.
He’s open to late-qualifying high schoolers, transfers and international players. He notes that at Nevada he was able to sign Ramon Sessions in August before his freshman year because Sessions didn’t get his qualifying test scores until July. Sessions, a guard, is now with the Milwaukee Bucks and averaged 12.4 points and 5.7 assists per game this season.
“We’ll keep looking,” Fox said, “because you never know what you’ll find.”
He will carry at least one and probably two scholarships over to next year because they’ll come in handy then, with only one senior (Albert Jackson) on Fox’s first Georgia team.
STAFF: Already having hired two assistants — Kwanza Johnson from Nevada and Philip Pearson from Alabama — Fox has one assistant’s opening left to fill, plus support staff. “We’ll . . . get the staff finalized, I would hope, in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
Around Bulldog Nation: The on-line edition of a Nigerian newspaper, Daily Trust, reports that former UGA hoops coach Dennis Felton is a leading candidate to coach Nigeria’s national basketball team. Daily Trust quotes Felton as saying the “competitive challenge” and “the opportunity to work with good people and such eager players” inspires him “to be interested in the opportunity.” . . . Baseball is a game of streaks and slumps, and the Bulldogs certainly are in one of the latter. They lost the opener of the rain-plagued Florida series after leading 8-0 in the second inning and lost the finale after leading 7-4 in the seventh. They’ve lost six in a row. . . . It was a much better weekend for Georgia’s softball team, which completed its regular-season schedule Sunday with a doubleheader sweep at Arkansas. Georgia won 8-0 and 8-2. Sarah McCloud and Christie Hamilton combined on a five-inning no-hitter in Game 1. . . . Mark Richt and Fox will be on the road for two more Bulldog Club meetings this week — Wednesday in Macon and Thursday in Columbus.