Adams’ media briefing: Just one question about anything other than Evans fallout

ATHENS -– The six days since a shocking telephone call interrupted his vacation in Nashville have been “clearly one of the most difficult times I have been through,” University of Georgia President Michael Adams said Tuesday.

The early morning call last Thursday brought the news of Damon Evans’ arrest in Atlanta on a DUI charge. By the time all the details emerged, Adams said, there was only one possible conclusion: Evans, Georgia’s highly regarded athletics director, had to go.

“The tragedy of all of this is what a terrific job he has done the last six years,” Adams said, speaking publicly about the matter for the first time. “I regret deeply the closure and the kind of closure this relationship had. But, once I learned all the facts, I felt like there was no choice in my role to do what is best for the university.”

Adams, who cut his vacation short and drove home Thursday night, made it clear to Evans in a meeting Friday that he could not remain in the job. Evans offered his resignation Saturday and agreed to a financial settlement Sunday. Tuesday, Adams tried to begin the process of moving Georgia’s dazed athletics program forward.

He appointed Frank Crumley, who was Evans’ executive associate athletics director for finance and administration, to serve as interim athletics director while a search committee seeks a permanent successor to Evans.

Adams said the search will focus, at least initially, on candidates not currently on the Georgia staff. And he said he would not to be surprised if the process takes six to 12 months.

Georgia hardly expected to be in need of an athletics director. Evans was just 34 years old when Adams named him to succeed the legendary Vince Dooley in 2004, and Adams said Tuesday that part of the reason he put Evans in the job was the hope of “a long period of stability.” Just five months ago, Evans signed a new contract that was to keep him in the job until at least 2015.

But all of that changed after Evans’ DUI arrest and the devastating details contained in the police report, which said Evans had a 28-year-old woman’s red panties between his legs and invoked his position as Georgia’s AD and asked if he could avoid arrest.

Adams was asked Tuesday if such details sealed the decision to oust Evans.

“I would simply say to you it was the totality of this situation and what it said about good judgment or lack of such at this level that led me to my conclusion,” Adams said.

Later, he added: “What troubles me the most is the loss of potential here.”

This episode is the latest high-profile, athletics-related firestorm of Adams’ tenure as UGA president, which dates to 1997. Earlier this decade, major controversies erupted around Adams’ feud with Dooley and an academic scandal involving the men’s basketball program.

Adams spoke Tuesday at one of his regularly scheduled media briefings, which are held monthly from September through May and once during the summer. The briefings typically are held in a small conference room in the Administration Building on north campus and draw a few reporters. This one was moved to a sprawling auditorium at the Georgia Center for Continuining Education on south campus, drawing a large turnout of media members and TV cameras.

“You are all welcome back at any of those monthly press conferences,” Adams said, “but I am not blind to why many of you are here today.”

In fact, every question except one dealt with the Evans arrest and fallout.

Adams was asked if he’d ever before had reason to question Evans’ judgment.

“I have not,” he said. “I’ve never seen any evidence of the kind of conduct that led to this unhappy conclusion.”

Pressed on whether he’d gotten any complaints about Evans’ conduct in the past, Adams said: “At this level, you hear rumors about [everything], but I don’t deal in rumors. I marvel sometimes at some of the stuff that my wife reads on the blogs about me. She wonders who she’s married to sometimes when she reads it. But you just can’t deal in rumor-mongering, and I had no evidence of any kind of conduct like this.”

As for the resignation settlement that will pay Evans $237,500, a small fraction of the $3.25 million he would have earned over the next five years, Adams said it was the result of “some back and forth” between lawyers.

“I didn’t think it needed to be too generous under the circumstances,” Adams said. “At the same time, this is a person who has given us 12 years of his life [six years as AD and another six on the staff] and has made a number of very important contributions. And he has two degrees from here, and he is one of us, and that matters to me.

“I think we got it about right. I hope and pray we did.”

While acknowledging the difficulty and sadness of recent days, Adams said: “We still have important work to do, and it is time for us to move on.”

One revelation from Tuesday’s news conference was Adams’ inclination to hire Evans’ successor from outside the current staff.

“I think we have three or four people currently on the staff who are very, very strong people,” Adams said. “But my first look in this case is going to be outside.”

The reason, he said, is that “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?”

He said he’s seeking a person with a high level of athletics experience, although he stopped short of limiting the field to someone who is or has been a major-college athletics director.

“This is one of the five or six best AD jobs in America, in my opinion, and I can assure you there’s no shortage of interest,” Adams said.

He named UGA law professor David Shipley to serve as chairman of the search committee. Also on the committee: Swann Seiler, a member of the UGA Athletic Board; Jack Bauerle, UGA’s swim coach; Tom Landrum, UGA’s senior vice president for external affairs; Carla Williams, the senior associate athletics director; and student representative Robert “Trey” Sinyard.

Shipley said that, given the academic calendar and the “caliber of candidates we’re going to be getting,” he expects the process to be protracted.

“To say we could get somebody much earlier than the New Year would be really, really optimistic,” Shipley said.

As the committee does its work, Crumley will oversee the athletics department.

He has worked there since 1991 and was chief financial officer under Evans. Crumley said Adams asked him Sunday if he’d step in as interim AD.

“I said yes, and he said, ‘Do you want to sleep on it?’” Crumley said. “I said, ‘Absolutely not. I’ll do whatever I can.’

“If anything comes up,” Crumley said, “I’ll lean on the president and the senior VPs and the Athletic Board for guidance. And other than that, we’ll chug along.”

Adams, too, expressed confidence that UGA, including the athletics program, will weather the storm of the past six days.

“This university is bigger than any one person,” he said. “It is bigger than the person that we regretfully have lost. It’s certainly bigger than me. It’s bigger than any of us.”

61 comments Add your comment

UGA owns you tasty bees..

July 7th, 2010
4:31 am

Bob Jones

July 7th, 2010
5:05 am

Maybe the University of Georgia needs a new president.

G2Rhett

July 7th, 2010
5:44 am

Well said President Adams…

Bamafan

July 7th, 2010
6:09 am

I bet the governor was the person who really fired Evans!!

Buckhead Bulldog

July 7th, 2010
6:25 am

Even though, I’ve been in the anti-Adams camp, I think he has approached this entire mess perfectly. I’m also happy to hear him say ““This university is bigger than any one person,” he said. “It is bigger than the person that we regretfully have lost. It’s certainly bigger than me. It’s bigger than any of us.””. Hopefully, he takes his own statement to heart. : )

How sad...

July 7th, 2010
6:27 am

…that a Bamafan has to troll a UGA blog so early in the morning – someone needs to get a life…

Eighth

July 7th, 2010
6:33 am

ned

July 7th, 2010
6:43 am

Adams sounds like he has learned a few things as time has marched on. It is a very different tone than that used during the previous scandals he endured (of course he created those himself by using poor judgment). I remember when he used University funds to take a private jet to the Republican convention. He was an arrogant pompous egomaniac with no respect for the traditions or concerns of his alumni in those days. . Is it possible he has changed?

ExtraPoint

July 7th, 2010
6:50 am

Enter your comments here

ExtraPoint

July 7th, 2010
6:52 am

Another version of Evan’s speech. Say the correct things and hope no additional details emerge.

Spike

July 7th, 2010
6:56 am

That is the first time I think I have ever agreed with Adams on anything. For once he made perfect sense. Amazing.

Bill

July 7th, 2010
7:06 am

President Adams made several wise decisions under very adverse situations. Good job!

elvisaintdead

July 7th, 2010
7:24 am

“’This university is bigger than any one person,’ (Adams) said.’
LOOK AT THE IRONY FALLING FROM THE SKY!
LOOK AT THE IRONY FALLING FROM THE SKY!

JB

July 7th, 2010
7:25 am

I would like to see a fireball ” winner” in that job and let Crumbly continue to ‘keep the books”.
No, I’m not pushing for Mark’s job, but I want a guy that like in the “real” world, the boss comes to your office and say’s, ” what can i do to help you get your sales up”……………..A real AD would have had Richt move on Martinez AFTER the 2008 season . Football provides 90% of the money, 90% of the news,conversation etc…….I want the new guy to say, “Mark, what can i do for you to get us in position to beat Florida and Alabama” ? Hopefully Mark will get it.

Paddy

July 7th, 2010
8:25 am

Adams seems to be getting better at this president thing.

Ace75

July 7th, 2010
8:31 am

Unless Carla Williams, the senior associate athletics director, drops off the search committee, I suppose she won’t be a candidate for the job.

Will

July 7th, 2010
9:37 am

Every Bulldog should go to Amazon and buy the book “behind the hedges” and get a real portrait of who Dr. Adams is. An egotistical maniac who has complete control of our university and will stop at nothing to keep it. If you don’t believe me why don’t ask the AJC guy who wrote it……… that’s right, the guy died mysteriously the day the book was published. Wow is that ironic!

Bride of Chucky Knapp

July 7th, 2010
9:45 am

The only thing Adams gets better at is keeping his cushy job for which he remains ill suited and unqualified. I wasn’t a huge fan of Knapp but interacted with him at times and he was never less than professional and gracious.

Second for reading “Behind the Hedges” for the real story on Adams’ rise to power and the whole Dooley affair. You’ll have to buy it online since all the bookstore copies mysteriously disappeared like the book’s author.

UGA is Just Fine....

July 7th, 2010
9:46 am

I must admit even though I’ve been a critic of Adams, he has handled this situation with class.

I also like the fact that they are going to take their time and don’t feel the need to rush out and make a quick hire.

I wonder if they will target an existing AD somewhere or look for the next “rising star”.

Starring Kam Fong as Chin Ho

July 7th, 2010
9:51 am

Yawn, wake me up when fall practice starts.

UGA is Just Fine....

July 7th, 2010
9:51 am

Wow didn’t know that about the author of “Behind the Hedges”. What was mysterious about his death? (serious question)

DAWG 1

July 7th, 2010
9:57 am

I will say that this was handled by Adams probably the best way it could be handled. However, I suspect he wants to go “outside” in order to have complete control over that individual. One good impression (this situation) does little to erase all the other negative aspects of this man. As one poster said, he is an egomaniac.
AJC – you want to gauge his popularity among alumni, why don’t you ask for a poll from alumni ONLY in order to see what an unpopular individual he is. He got off on the wrong foot from very early when his wife wanted a salary to entertain alumni, supporters, guests and visitors of some note, etc..
Personally, I hope he is the next administrator to leave UGA. Thousands would applaud such an event!

Curious George

July 7th, 2010
10:10 am

Will Damon work up the courage to “AX” Courtney out on another date after how badly the last one ended?

Pago Pago DAWG

July 7th, 2010
10:32 am

So what are the other stories lurking in the backgroud that Adams has heard?

RxDawg

July 7th, 2010
10:32 am

“Well said President Adams…”

Agreed

Me

July 7th, 2010
10:51 am

Had to do what he had to do….

Wally Butts' Imaginary AA Sponsor

July 7th, 2010
10:56 am

Ha! Hypocrites.

AltamahaDawg

July 7th, 2010
11:22 am

Textbook handling of the situation.

Me

July 7th, 2010
11:25 am

In other news, USC has sent letters of “apology” to both Alabama and Florida for falsely accusing them for illegal contact with RB Dillion Baxter. I thought it was curious that after Dillion made his “claims” about improper contact and then was asked for proof, he suddenly “lost” his cell phone. This has Lane Kiffin written all over it…he is a proven liar and this is the second time a program of his has had to apologize to U Florida for stating a lie. Anyone considering going to play for that man is stupid or a fool.

Dr. Bob

July 7th, 2010
11:41 am

While Adams did not force Evans to drink or hand him the red panties, Adams was totally responsible for hiring Evans “nurturing” him and giving him the keys to the BMW. Since Adams couldn’t cover up the video and police report, he had no choice but to send Evans packing in the same manner he dismissed his pal, Jim Harrick. Sadly, Adams’ “work” has primarily focused on his personal finances and maintaining his position. His “presidential” qualities are banana republic like in nature.

Spike

July 7th, 2010
12:14 pm

Curious George.. Good One!!

BPClassof-85

July 7th, 2010
12:46 pm

Adams turned a blind eye to all of the rumors of Evans getting caught with his pants down and gave him a glowing review a few months ago saying, “There has not been a whiff of impropriety”, during Damon’s tenure. There was far more than a whiff of improprieties on Damon’s behalf. The only difference this time was a police report which documented the incident.

CaptainFantastic

July 7th, 2010
1:10 pm

Thank god…even gutless Adams was able to rid himself of this “model minority!” This time, let’s hire someone who won’t disgrace himself, his family…and most of all…all the taxpayers in Georgia who unwittingly contributed to this one-man crime wave. My only regret is that Damon won’t spend about 10 years in prison…but hope springs eternal!

WhatYouTalkingBout

July 7th, 2010
1:20 pm

Enter your comments here

Alphare

July 7th, 2010
1:21 pm

Adams is cause of success for UGA football of the past decade. First he fired Jim Donnan as he realized Donnan is not champship material, and hired Mark Richt who has won 2 SEC titles after 20-year drought.

Adams then let go Vince Dooley and upgraded with Damon Evans. UGA was mediocre at best under Dooley’s status-quo leadership. The university suffered numerous scandals under Dooley: Jan Kemp, Donnan’s firing, and Jim Harrick academic scandal are all under Dooley’s direct watch. I think Jim Harrick scandal is when Adams realized Dooley’s incompetence in academic control, and thus determined to let him go.

UGA fans should thank Adams for today’s UGA football standing. Without Adams, UGA football would be still mediocre under Vince Dooley’s watch.

nobody

July 7th, 2010
1:28 pm

I agree with Bob Jones…the athletic board has never had any authority…it has no power… nothing will be gained or lost by further mincing words about Damon Evans…he was but the organ grinder’s monkey …he was not the organ grinder… President Adams was/is the culprit..ultimately, he was and continues to be the person responsible for all the past sins…in each instance, he hand-picked each and every person who has brought grief to this program…President Adams is the author of our misery. He is the one who should be replaced. Do not be surprised if he makes Frank Crumley our permanent Athletic Director.

masivatack

July 7th, 2010
2:12 pm

So are you really censoring every comment I make that is not complimentary of your recent coverage of UGA Athletics…. I am not calling names or spewing hate like a lot of the people on these blogs. I don’t get it… People can make hateful remarks about each others intelligence, race, or really anything else, but I get censored because I don’t continue this narrative that you obviously realize is being over-reported, or you wouldnt have posted this story.

This is a test.

masivatack

July 7th, 2010
2:22 pm

So I will ask you again Tim, why can’t you write a story that is not about Damongate? It seems that the other 6-8 AJC reporters(sic) are handling the tabloid business just fine. Any news on our team that doesn’t involve players being falsely arrested or being suspended for hanky panky in school?

Hill Dawg

July 7th, 2010
2:22 pm

It is amazing how little you people know about the real world. Let’s try again. Money buys and sells opinions. Leeburn has the money. His opinion is treasured by Adams. His opinion is treasured by our governor. Those two will get the votes from the Adams’ appointed search committee to hire a bobble-headed yes man for Adams so Leeburn can continue to influence decisions that are made in Butts- Mehre. The UGA Athletic Dept is such a cash cow, with some very talented employees, that any clean cut, well spoken person can run it if he/she will avoid doing stupid things that get in the news and, of course, be friends with Adams and Leeburn. I’m just hoping Adams doesn’t decide he wants his son or wife to be AD!

masivatack

July 7th, 2010
2:24 pm

So to all the real georgia fans (not the flamers or bandwagon jumpers, I’m afraid there is no help for you), why do you keep supporting this rag? The AJC needs you far more than you need them. We need to ask our states biggest newspaper to cover our team with an ounce of respect.

I know, I know, Damon Evans did more to embarrass us than anyone, but the AJC seems to be thoroughly enjoying this, without an ounce of coverage of our team in the past week. If I wanted to read this kind of bullcrap chick-drama, I would turn on the E-Channel or TMZ.

Dawgtards ruin this state

July 7th, 2010
2:33 pm

Who is the most embarrassing representative of UGA?

1) Damon Evans
2) Jim Harrick
3) Mike ” I hired Damon & Jim” Adams

NCAA starts UGA investigation

July 7th, 2010
2:38 pm

We’re looking into the fact that the inmates run the UGA Asylum.

DawgBuzz

July 7th, 2010
2:39 pm

All this over red panties.

masivatack

July 7th, 2010
2:42 pm

While I do understand fair and thorough coverage of the story is important, the UGA sports front page has become some sort of circus. There is not a single link to an actual sports article. There are 40+ links all over the page about the Damon Evans situation. They even created a whole new section of links all about the situation, but still fill all of the other sections with it anyway. The AJC has pulled all of their sportswriters(sic) in on this one story in order to gain hits from tabloid-style journalism and a complete lack of restraint.

KINGDAWG

July 7th, 2010
2:51 pm

Those of you who are naive enought think Adams has changed…he’s a politician…he’ll tell you what you want to hear. He’ll do something else that isn’t above board…just give it time.

Gordon

July 7th, 2010
3:12 pm

Poll: Which was the most embarassing to UGA:

1) Dr. Jan Kemp’s revelation of athletes being “warehoused” in remedial courses in the mid-80’s.

2) Jim “How many points is a 3 point baskets worth” Harrick and the resulting 2003 academic scandal.

3) Damon Evans and the “red panties” scandal of the last week.

Most schools have their problems from time to time with out of control athletes and boosters, and maybe even an assistant coach every now and then. But is there another school with 3 national level stories like this over the past 25 years? Just asking.

The Grinch

July 7th, 2010
3:53 pm

Gordon,

I see your point… not a great time to be a Georgia Bulldog.

SKantor

July 7th, 2010
4:10 pm

The University should audit Evans’ expense reports for the last couple of years….maybe the severance will cover half of the phony receipts submitted.

POAD

July 7th, 2010
4:19 pm

masivatack what do want the AJC to cover on the Dawgs? They have not even started practice yet. LeMay and Evans are UGA stories just ones you don’t like to hear.

I want to go to Rev. LeMay’s Church for sure. What a class act. he wants his kid to get away with breaking the rule. Now that is my kind of Preacher. AHAHHAAH more classy dawg recruits and parents.

The police

July 7th, 2010
4:24 pm

This Christian Lemay kid who got suspended will fit in perfectly with Georgia. Too bad he and Damon “red panties” Evans can’t hang out together.

Jordan Love doesn’t know how to spell his middle name? That is nothing short of amazing.

So with several players already arrested so far this year how many arrests has UGA had over the last 3 years? Is it over 30?

I think we all agree dawgs are this year’s runaway Fulmer cup winner.

Does this program have an shame or any embarrassment for the conduct of its players and AD?