Damon Evans’ story not one sports writers relish covering

Damon Evans faces a room full of reporters during a press conference on the UGA campus Thursday evening. (AJc photo by Curtis Comption)

Georgia AD Damon Evans faces a room full of reporters Thursday evening at UGA. He was charged with DUI Wednesday night. (AJC photo by Curtis Comption)

Athens – It has been a pretty long 30 hours or so. That’s about how long I’ve been following the Damon Evans story.

Normally I wouldn’t be as involved as I have since I am no longer on the UGA beat. Nowadays I cover recruiting on the AJC Recruiting Blog and my talented colleague Tim Tucker normally covers the Bulldogs for us. But Tim, like the better part of the working world it seems, is on vacation this week. So I’ve been having to fill in.

I don’t think I’m off base here in saying I don’t care much for covering stories like these. I talked yesterday to virtually every one of the Georgia beat guys and assorted TV and radio reporters, most of whom I have known a long time, over at Evans’ press conference. I can tell you in all honesty that they all feel the same way.

It was a pretty surreal scene over at the Rankin Smith Academic Achievement Center. Nobody was sure what was about to take place. A resignation? Righteous indignation? But I don’t think any of us expected the soul-bearing admission of guilt that we got.

In the course of doing our jobs, we naturally get to know well the subjects we’re covering. In the case of Evans, I’ve actually known him since he signed with Georgia as a wide receiver out of Gainesville in 1989. I’ve always been impressed at how far Damon has come since he was that tall, skinny, backup wideout for Ray Goff.

Of course, I got to know him much better in the years since he returned to UGA, first as an assistant AD and then as the director of athletics. I’ve always found him to be accessible and fairly forthright. I’ve bugged him to death over hirings and firings and disciplinary rulings such as the one that apparently is about to befall him. I’ve seen him deftly preside over board meetings and articulately speak to rooms full of UGA supporters. I’ve been awed by his knowledge of finance and his vision for UGA athletics.

But when things like this happen, all that must be brushed aside to focus objectively on the facts that are available to us and present them to the public in as unfiltered a manner as possible. And that’s what will be done in this case.

It is often said, “with success comes scrutiny.” That may be even more true with failure.

Meanwhile, PR types argue about whether or not a press conference should have been called. And if you do have one, they ask, what should be tone and content of that session? I’ve heard a few wonder whether he should have fielded questions as he did. So moral and ethical judgments aside, do you think Evans and/or UGA has handled this whole situation properly?

What say you all on that note? What were your impressions of Evans as he delivered his five-minute statement and answered questions for about the same about of time? And finally, how do you think it all affects UGA?

141 comments Add your comment

Delbert D.

July 2nd, 2010
3:05 pm

Whatever he said at the press conference is public record and will be available at the hearing.

Papadawg

July 2nd, 2010
3:13 pm

I’m embarrassed at this situation. I can overlook, to a point, a teenager screwing up like this cause we’ve all been there but for the AD of a major university who has to be a role model for these kids to not only drink and drive but get arrested for it. How can he discipline the kids with a straight face and how many times has he done this and not get caught.

koverdawg

July 2nd, 2010
3:17 pm

There has been no “handling” on the part of UGA. I forgive Damon, but with choices come consequences. Either he should resign or UGA should let him go. By separating the “personal” from this, professionally he is damaged. As we all know, there will be players that get caught drinking/driving, breaking the law or rules and will have to be punished……. The AD will have to sign off on those punishments, suspensions and dismissals. Damon should resign; as of now, he looks to put the decision on Mr. Adams-seeking a personal attorney to advise him. Here is free advice-leave with your head up and let the players, coaches and fans continue to look ahead…not back.

Nahila

July 2nd, 2010
3:22 pm

This is a shame for this to happen to Damon, he has had the world at his feet, done an outstanding job filling the role of Athletic Director of UGA and had to walk in the shoes of Vince Dooley no small task indeed. There is no joy in Mudville as they say nor in and around the Bulldog world. All the circumstances will in time come out and the powers that be will make the final decision on whether Damon is granting a second chance but duly put on probation and salary increase taken away, or to ask for his resignation and accept it rather than be fired. Hopefully, a second opportunity to make things right will not only be granted by UGA but also Damon’s wife and family.

georgia87

July 2nd, 2010
3:24 pm

Damon has been an excellent AD leading UGA to become one of the most enviable Athletic Departments in the nation. I wish that he had immediately taken a leave of absence/suspension until President Adams could look at the facts. It would’ve shown that he understood the seriousness of the situation instead of looking like he was going to put the onus on the President to fire him. If it were handled that way, I could see giving him a second chance after a period of restoration. Now, I am not sure. It seems that he has backed Adams into a corner, and that usually doesn’t end well.

defactodawg

July 2nd, 2010
3:26 pm

I am not one to judge the resolution of this case and the impact on Mr. Evans career. From a PR perspective, I totally agree with his decision to publicly apologize and to take questions.

Had Tiger Woods acted in a similar fashion when his troubles broke, he would’ve been perceived in an entirely different light.

Evans chose to confront the story head-on by acknowledging his transgression. Tiger hid from the prying eyes of his fans and the media, leaving them all to write the story.

Regardless of the outcome, I wish Mr. Evans well and hope he can be forgiven by those who matter but most importantly he can forgive himself and not allow this mistake to have a negative impact on the rest of his career and life.

Dawglasville

July 2nd, 2010
3:35 pm

The whole thing is crummy. The AJC has done a fair job covering it. They didn’t focus on the girl in the car because no one knows who she is. Your comments are really nice. Bradley did his job and I’m pretty sure he likes Damon. For most Georgia fans this is a punch in the gut. Most people were really proud when he was hired. I give him total credit for Fox. Adams has to decide if he can do his job now. How much will his home life impact his job? Now you have to take the AD out of the public eye for a while. Is that a good thing? I don’t think he is going to make it. I think Damon should step down and not drag the University through all of this. He made the situation. He should take some time off on and start rebuilding his life.

UGA_2001

July 2nd, 2010
3:44 pm

It is amazing how low the bar has been for Damon Evans when I read pieces like this. It is almost like sportswriters are surprised he can speak well and preside over board meetings.

He’s the AD, for god’s sake. Those are minimum requirements for any administrative job in a major ath program.

That said, he was not doing a very good job as AD. Almost every program was slipping and he didn’t seem to be in control, more like a figurehead for Adams and bigtime boosters to control. I never really thought I was getting Evans’ decision on anything. It was more like he was passing down orders.

SEC fan

July 2nd, 2010
3:45 pm

This saga has the most IRONY I’ve seen in a long time.

Married AD of “flagship” university charged with DUI and has a young woman with him at the time. President of “flagship” university’s biggest supporter/guard dog on the Board of Regents is state’s largest liquor distributor. Said member on Board of Regents has open affair with Gymnastics coach for years, while still being married to wife, Betsy.

Kettle meet Pot.

Sure makes “flagship” university look like it’s run by a bunch of good ole Southern goobers. Tough to be too self-righteous when one considers who is calling the shots at “flagship” university.

Evans needs to go and if Board of Regents had any cojones they’d clean house with Adams and remove Leebern for a fresh start.

Time for a fresh ethical start for “flagshp” university.

destin dawg

July 2nd, 2010
3:48 pm

he had second chance ( chances? ) already.. if he had any character at all, he would have resigned… 1st balck AD. in SEC.. 1/2 million $$$$$$.. MARRIED ..personal responsibility please… Leader ??? role model ?? Tiger.. OJ..

Browndog

July 2nd, 2010
3:49 pm

Don’t see any way he will be able to weather this storm. Papadawg is right,,,,,a mistake by a kid is one thing, but drunk driving by the AD is something else entirely. Evans knew he was taking a chance driving the car after drinking and made the decision to do so. Don’t know how the woman figures into this but it is all bad. No way he stays. Adams will have to let him go.

Reid Adair

July 2nd, 2010
3:54 pm

Unfortunately these days, it seems folks with that attitude are in the minority. Too many “reporters” go hunting stories like this.

Dixie Clear

July 2nd, 2010
3:56 pm

UGA is a complete and total JOKE! I hope they keep this guy forever. They deserve each other.

asheville dawg

July 2nd, 2010
3:57 pm

Yes sir, SEC fan, you couldn’t even try to make up the story lines on this situation. Truth is really stranger than fiction. This saga will beat Jerry Springer any day.

UG OH, this bad

July 2nd, 2010
3:58 pm

I agree with “Dawglasville”. This is sad; an AD pretty much has that job for life
if they do their job. Evans put all that on the line to hustle some broad and then get busted for a DUI. If you think she was just a friend, then I have a nice piece
of property with an ocean view in Ohio.

An honorable man would resign, but we shall see.

Joe

July 2nd, 2010
4:01 pm

Stop the bleeding Adams–get rid of him NOW.

3 time UGA grad

Dawg Whisperer

July 2nd, 2010
4:02 pm

Honesty is always the best policy. It takes humility and confidence in the way one views self. If that is the barometer of Damon’s press conference, he passed the test.

BehindEnemyLines

July 2nd, 2010
4:06 pm

While I like this particular column overall & think it’s an appropriate subject for discussion, your comment about how “I don’t think any of us expected the soul-bearing admission of guilt that we got” really shocked me. Seriously? You expected this to be anything other than a large mea culpa as he tries to save his job? I don’t see that he had any other realistic option but that one, anything else – combative, stone-faced, evasive, what have you – would have been a career-ender in my opinion. And that isn’t to say the incident itself won’t be, but any of those would have likely sealed his fate. I strongly question the decision to have Evans’ take questions afterwards but suspect that was a way for Pres. Adams to let him suffer a bit more for causing this mess in the first place. I thought the AJC coverage has been pretty good overall, it was certainly interesting to hear how Atlanta radio personalities with close UGA ties handled the situation yesterday afternoon as well. It was also interesting to hear how Athens sports-talk handled the matter, considering their own DUI-related embarrassment with a personality with UGA connections about a year ago.

jerry

July 2nd, 2010
4:09 pm

UGA is in a no win situation-kind of like Florida.

Chip Towers

July 2nd, 2010
4:09 pm

To the person who wrote in under the name of another SEC football coach, that’s unacceptable and your post was deleted as a result. But to answer your question, I thought a press conference would be called for two reasons: (1) To announce his resignation; or (2) to proclaim his innocence. Not for Damon to tell everybody he’s sorry that he has brought shame to his family and the university. That was unexpected. And of course there is sympathy among reporters for fallen figures. There’s nothing homer about that. We’re human beings.

Please feel free to re-submit your comment in which you are not posing as someone you are not because I appreciate your opinion. You can even use your real name if you wish.

Peter Zogby

July 2nd, 2010
4:10 pm

Evans did the “stand up” thing and took responsibility for his actions, while still preserving his legal rights in the criminal proceeding. Most lay people do not understand the legal tightrope an accused has to walk.
They are quick to condemn and chastise.
A broader view of this sad case is that both UGA and Evans lose if he is gone, whether by reisignation or firing. No one disputes the fabulous job he has done in up grading and securing financially the entire athletic program. As AD he is the “out front” man for a multi-million dollar operation.
The ideal scenario that would resolve the problem and not do unnecessary harm to UGA and Evans would be for him to tender his resignation which demonstrates his acknowlegement of the harm his actions have done to UGA and all of UGA community. In response the University should refuse to accept
it, demonstrating its role as a sensible and compassionate employer that is aware of all the “good” this
AD has done up to now. Additionally UGA should demote Evans to a position in the athletic administration where his proven financial expertise remains beneficial to the University, thereby keeping a proven performer on board. The new position should have no “public” or titular responsibilities, and the
pay scale should be peeled back to that of a assistant AD with an additonal loss of 1/2 of time built up toward seniority.
To liken this situation to that of a student-athlete arrested for DUI doesn’t take into account too many factors that do not exist in the student case.
Besides sad, this is very complex and to Mr. Evans’ credi,t he is treating it in a forthright manner up to now.

OldFan

July 2nd, 2010
4:10 pm

Let’s look at this from Evans’ point of view. The damage to his character has already been done. He was clever to speak as directly and quickly as he did and not resign at that moment. He’s said he wants to keep his half-million dollar a year job, being the repentitent soul that he is. He now realizes that it’s the University’s charater that’s going to be called into question. There’s much greater complexity in the decision for UGA than there was for Evans when he climbed into his BMW Wednesday night. His choice was a simple one between right and wrong. UGA’s choice must weigh all the puts and takes, all the real and imagined consequences, all the racial speculations, and all the explanations that will follow any decision. Evans has, if nothing else, an aptitude for self-preservation.

Tom

July 2nd, 2010
4:10 pm

Let’s see, we have “Rankin Smith” and “Achievement” linked together on one building, and the name of a known womanizer and drunk on the athletic HQ building.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Fez

July 2nd, 2010
4:14 pm

Anyone else hear of the new reports regarding the “friend” getting out of the car with no pants on??

Walton Dog

July 2nd, 2010
4:14 pm

Say you’re Damon Evans, you need to go down to the Butts-Mehre second floor offices of the football coaches and staff. Mrs. Mettenberger works there……..What do you say to her?

Jo

July 2nd, 2010
4:16 pm

Oh please!!! What exactly has Evans done that is “outstanding” as AD???

Georgia State Patrol

July 2nd, 2010
4:17 pm

Operation

ZERO-TOLERANCE

YOU DRINK AND DRIVE. YOU LOSE

Where have I seen that before, oh, I remember. We see it
at every home game on the jumbotron. My god, that’s Damon Evans on the screen.
What a tangled web we weave. See ya Damon.

Tom

July 2nd, 2010
4:20 pm

Say you’re Damon Evans, you need to go down to the Butts-Mehre second floor offices of the football coaches and staff. Mrs. Mettenberger works there……..What do you say to her?

“Hey, Tammy? You guys got a spare room or a sofa where I can crash for awhile? Maybe a week….or seven?”

L

July 2nd, 2010
4:21 pm

I wonder where his wife thought he was. Just friends, that’s a crock. Those two look wasted out of their minds in their mugshots. I say fire him. I don’t want him representing my school.

Omar

July 2nd, 2010
4:21 pm

Thankfully, this nasty little incident will not in any way impair the future aspirations of Damon Evans to run for President of the United States as a DEMOCRAT.

Ted Kennedy could not be reached for comment on this story, as AT&T Wireless apparently does not yet have a coverage area that reaches the Eternal Lake of Fire.

dog789xyz

July 2nd, 2010
4:22 pm

Enter your comments here

Zach

July 2nd, 2010
4:24 pm

mettenbergers wasn’t kicked off just for the alcohol. he sexually assaulted a woman. i do agree damon has to go. you can’t be saying not to do one thing, puinishing those that do and then get arrested doing the same thing. adios damon, ya loser.

Bill Cosby

July 2nd, 2010
4:25 pm

Personal Responsibility…. AD needs to be a leader of young men… Role model for student/athleles !!

Eric

July 2nd, 2010
4:26 pm

Papa some of my friends have told me that Damon has been in trouble before but it happened in Athens and what happens in Athens, stayed in Athens. This is what happens when you step out of your safe comfort zone.

Mike

July 2nd, 2010
4:27 pm

Anyone watching uruguay ghana?
We should have beat this team with one good striker. And we could be uruguay too. Oh well. Looking forward to football season. Go dawgs, get lost Damon.

Nashville Dawg

July 2nd, 2010
4:31 pm

Bottom line: He needs to go. Let’s quit with the whole discussion on what he has done for the program/university and let’s steer away from the talk on what type of person he may or may not be deep down inside. He is in a role where students, fans, and others in the public look up to him. I am a big believer in giving people a second chance…however, you do not get second chances for stuff like this when you’re an AD at Georgia. It is sad…..for everyone. However, the facts of this case are simple: He broke the law and completely let us down. He needs to now step down. End of story…..

DawgDad

July 2nd, 2010
4:37 pm

At this point I’ve seen no substantive comment from University leaders on this issue. Are they by virtue of their silence and inaction telling us Evans, a State emloyee, is being paid $500,000+ to be in a position of leadership over all these young people and DOES NOT have a morals clause in his contract? Who in State government is holding the University leaders accountable for their reckless oversight of the interests of the State and taxpayers?

How is it possible Evans has not at least been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of these charges?

My heart bleeds for Evans’ family. My heart DOES NOT bleed for the suffering incurred by you sportswriters GETTING PAID to cover this. What a crock.

archangeladidas

July 2nd, 2010
4:37 pm

To all of you garbagedawgs that unleashed hell on Carlos Dunlap last December I say WOW! Be carefully when you past judgement because karma is a mother. GO GATORS!!!

Lou

July 2nd, 2010
4:38 pm

Nahila..this didn’t happen TO Damon. He brought this on himself. This was not an outside force beyond his control affecting his life. This is about HIS poor decision making.

He has done an incredible job as AD with the great fiscal shape the Athletic Association is in. His continuation of Vince Dooley’s vision to constantly upgrade and improve facilities has proceeded on steady course. He has made good decisions with the hiring and firing of coaches.

BUT…He can no longer do his job effectively with this arrest. As AD at an institution of higher learning where he needs to set a good example for student-atheltes, he must go. People in other careers who get a DUI may have different professional circumstances. They may be able to keep their jobs. His job is different. There is a higher standard required. He must go.

gg

July 2nd, 2010
4:42 pm

Take away his raise.

Suspend him with pay while the case is resolved in court and he gets his personal life together.

Bring in an interim AD. Perhaps Vince would come back and keep things going.

Let everything settle down and make a rational decision a few months down the road.

He cannot serve as AD while all of this plays out. In view of all he has done for UGA prior to this, and for the sake of his family, he deserves an opportunity to see if he can redeem himself and be restored to his position.

AltamahaDawg

July 2nd, 2010
4:43 pm

As I said yesterday, the University is handling it as well as possible. Firing Evans as soon as the story broke is a knee jerk reaction, and not a calculated move to do what is best for the University. And there is nothing wrong with allowing Evans to come away with whatever best chance he has to recover down the raod.

Evans could have been fired on the spot and thus cemeting the story as one of UGA guy screws up. Thats chosing to absorb the worst possible damage. Or take a breath, handle it carefully and turn the story around to highlight the standards that UGA insist on for its guy.

Then of cource the story turns to the search for a new AD who can (once again the focus) live up to the UGA standards.

The university will not be harmed by this, if handled properly and in the end may very well be used as a constant example of what Evans (what supposed to be) teaching the boys.

And we get an upgrade in the AD.

Ronnie

July 2nd, 2010
4:43 pm

The drunk driving is bad enough. Add in he’s married with children and he’s out in buckhead with a single ho. That’s just as big imo.He’s a role model and is suppose to lead by example. He can no longer do this job with this on his resume. Like the other poster, I am shocked they haven’t place him on admin leave and also shocked his ridic press conf yesterday was to say sorry. Be a man and resign. But he’s not a man. He’s a low life loser hypocrite.

dagnabit

July 2nd, 2010
4:45 pm

I’m still waiting for dawgfan and all the other dawggies to tee off on Damon. Where are you? It’s a good thing that in the future I’ll get to bring this up over and over again when you dawggies vilify my tech team’s mistakes. This will never go away.

Karma

July 2nd, 2010
4:46 pm

Dear Gator Fan,
Please keep my name out of your mouth. You’ll have plenty of me in the upcoming years.
Truly yours,
Karma

secondguesser

July 2nd, 2010
4:48 pm

The guy rose too fast too far. I couldn’t believe they hired him when they did. He’s at a crossroads with his life. Hope he decides to live the rest of it productively.

Bama in Atlanta

July 2nd, 2010
4:48 pm

Let’s see how bad Mr. Evans wants his job and is willing to accept consequenses…….not only do you take away his $110,000/yr raise that put him at $550,000/yr, but give him the average salary of the UGA college professors who have been employed with the university as long as Mr. Evans has. Take the excess $$ that UGA would have paid him and contribute that money to various drunk driving educational organizations. If he is willing to do this for 3 to 5 years then he can bring his salary up to match the lowest level SEC AD for another 3 to 5 years. Talk is cheap…..put your money where your mouth is!

Cm

July 2nd, 2010
4:49 pm

Don’t be surprised to see some recruits change their mind and sign somewhere else. It will happen.

Mikey

July 2nd, 2010
4:50 pm

He’s the one with the commercial….ZERO TOLERANCE. YOU DRINK AND DRIVE. YOU LOSE.
Damon. You lost. Real simple. Hate it but you need to go. Good luck in the future. I can forgive you but you have lost any respect that you had to lead the student athletes at the University of Georgia.

Whatever makes you happy Tech Fan

July 2nd, 2010
4:51 pm

Hey dagnabit, a win next year will wash whatever comments you have on this topic. Good try though.

the former Mrs Evans

July 2nd, 2010
4:53 pm

I only had 3 rules for that scumbag No Hookers No Hookers No Hookers