What will Michael Adams’ legacy be in regard to UGA athletics?

UGA's athletic facilities saw dramatic improvement during the tenure of Dr. Michael Adams, seen here at the dedication of the expanded football complex in February of 2011. (AJC photo by Curtis Comption)

UGA's athletic facilities saw dramatic improvement during the tenure of Dr. Michael Adams, seen here at the dedication of the expanded football complex in February of 2011. (AJC photo by Curtis Comption)

ATHENS – One of the most successful — and tumultuous — periods in the University of Georgia’s long history will come to an end when Dr. Michael A. Adams officially retires as the school’s president 13 months from now. Adams will make that decision public on Thursday, The AJC has learned.

The question I want to pose is, what will Adams’ legacy be with regard to Georgia’s athletics?

Certainly, Georgia’s athletic teams continued to fare well and maybe even improved during his tenure. He took over for Charles Knapp in 1997, which was coach Jim Donnan’s second year as the Bulldogs’ football coach.

It was only a short time later that UGA supporters witnessed Adams’ willingness to weigh in on athletic matters. After Georgia lost to Georgia Tech for the third year in a row in Athens in November of 2000, Adams — over athletic director Vince Dooley’s objections — made the decision to fire Donnan. It was several years later that we would find out that Adams had also promised Donnan $250,000 in a “secret deal” following the 1997 season.

That was the beginning of several clashes Adams would have with Dooley over athletic matters.

When the Bulldogs needed to hire a new men’s basketball coach, Adams added former UCLA and Rhode Island coach Jim Harrick to Dooley’s list of finalists.  Harrick was eventually hired and, after a brief period of on-court success, the program had to vacate wins due to accusations of academic fraud involving basketball players. Harrick was forced to resign.

Around the same time, Dooley, who had been a member of UGA’s athletic association 40 years at that point, asked for a two-year contract extension as Georgia’s athletic director. Adams denied that request despite pressure from several influential members of the UGA Foundation, then the university’s primary fundraiser. Adams eventually granted Dooley a six-month extension, but only to assist in the transition to new athletic director Damon Evans. The controversy eventually led to the dissolution of the foundation.

“He’s been very divisive for the Georgia people,” one prominent UGA alumnus said of Adams. “There are important factions out there that would not come together for a wiener roast under him.”

But while Adams may have been divisive to the fan base, he has also been a beneficial to the teams they love to root for. Virtually every sport for which Georgia fields a team has seen dramatic facilities improvements during Adams’ tenure as chairman of the athletic board (that trend has been duplicated ten-fold on the academic side as he helped secure more than $1 billion for new construction projects). Adams’ tenure as chairman of the NCAA executive committee made him a powerful influence on national matters and in the SEC.

And, of course, because of Adams’ persistence, the Bulldogs ended up with Mark Richt as their football coach in 2001. They have since won two SEC championships after not having won one for 20 years and played in four SEC title games.

“I think he’s done one heck of a job for the university,” said longtime athletic association executive committee member Bob Bishop.

So I pose the question to you. What kind of job do you think Adams did as chairman of Georgia’s athletic board?

124 comments Add your comment


May 2nd, 2012
10:34 pm

First! adams departure will only help uga athletics. he has been hold the entire university back by his dictatorship!


May 2nd, 2012
10:37 pm

Guess everybody is watching the Braves


May 2nd, 2012
10:37 pm

Glad to see him go!

Go Dawgs, let’s bring home the ring!


May 2nd, 2012
10:42 pm

Who will Don Leebern pick to replace him?


May 2nd, 2012
10:48 pm



May 2nd, 2012
10:53 pm

Good Riddance


May 2nd, 2012
10:55 pm

Glad that he is final leaving. Maybe we can get the UGA Foundation back and running now that he is gone. I still remember the year that Dooley was forced out and how loudly we all boo’ed Adams during homecoming when he tried to announce the homecoming king and queen. You could not hear anything but the collective dislike of Adams.


May 2nd, 2012
10:56 pm

So in 13 months I will begin contributing once again. I despise the man that much!!! I’ve been telling the alumni association this for the past 10 years every time they call to solicit funds. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this news for a while now.


May 2nd, 2012
11:00 pm

Don’t let the door hit you MA! Best news of the week. Time to blow the lid off this program!


May 2nd, 2012
11:18 pm

I am SO glad to see Adams go. Now I can start giving money to UGA again! Don’t let the door hit you……..

Dandy Dawg

May 2nd, 2012
11:19 pm

Let’s see – under Adams leadership:
– UGA has won more national titles in his tenure than any other UGA college presidents tenure.
– UGA has renovated it’s facilites to be on par with the best in the nation.
– He guided Dooley to hire Mark Richt.
– Has spent millions in renovating the campus – with plans in place to upgrade and renovate Russell and Brumby (needed in the worse way).
– Got rid of Dooley – who was outstanding in his time – but it bacame more about Dooley and not UGA. When the AD (Dooley) has his hands out to alumni for donations to replace his roof. I’m sorry folks – Dooley needed to pay for his own roof with the salary he was making, I am a huge Dooley fan – but he whould have stepped down on his own a few years before being forced out.
– Academically, under Adams reign – UGA has gone from academic mediocrity to a top 25 public university – with designs to add a medical school and engineering school.

Yes, he is harsh and arrogant – but by gosh folks – look how much UGA has imporved under his tenure. IN the SEC, only Vanderbilt and Florida are considered superior schools academically. And as athletic department as a whole go – UGA is only behind Florida.

You rednecks need to wake up and realize we are losing one of the bvest college presidents in the nation.


May 2nd, 2012
11:25 pm

i would recommend Dr. James Fatzinger from Georgia Gwinnett College to replace him. He is awesome and brings out the best in every single person he comes in contact with. He is younger and inexperienced as of now, but he will be a president of a major college very soon! Most motivating person/professor/administrator i have ever met. Wish everyone at the college level was more like him.


May 2nd, 2012
11:28 pm

It’s not just sports. UGA faculty despises the man who cares more about fundraising than supporting the people who make the UGA experience special.


May 2nd, 2012
11:30 pm

Giving Adams credit for the improved academic standing at Georgia is like giving a rooster credit for the sunrise.

Atlanta’s booming population and the HOPE Scholarship were the reasons Georgia’s academic standing rose, not Adams’s leadership. He ran off far more talented people than he ever hired only because they did not kiss his ring. His lack of integrity should be his legacy as he was essentially fleecing the University at every turn.

As far as Bob Bishop goes, he was instrumental in the hiring of Ray Goff and did not believe that he should have been relieved of his duties. Consequently, please disregard any statement he might make on the behalf of anything.


May 2nd, 2012
11:31 pm

He should have gone with Damon. Maybe those were MA’s panties.


May 2nd, 2012
11:36 pm

Guided Dooley to hire Richt?…LMAO. Thats a crock of Clowndung…Credibility went outta the door dimwit!


May 2nd, 2012
11:46 pm

I’m sure there are good things MA did for the athletic dept., I just can’t think of any. Let’s hope whoever fills the post will be pro athletics. If not, we are no better off.

The Conqueror

May 2nd, 2012
11:55 pm

Adams didn’t call a play,William!-Bobo did .Replace him.


May 3rd, 2012
12:10 am

Adams’ greatest feat had nothing to do with athletics. IMO, the best move Adams ever made was the poison pill he slipped to the Georgia legislature when faced with a 200 mil. cut in the University’s budget. Adams said hat it would involve drastic cuts including the 4 H clubs. Since no politician can survive ” hurting the kids” the cuts were modified. Masterful stroke by a shrewd pol. Worst moments? the use of taxpayers money for a condo in Bucxkhead and ocean front property n Costa Rica and completely mishandling Dooley’s firing


May 3rd, 2012
12:14 am

Adams and Playoff=Gore and Internet


May 3rd, 2012
12:19 am

Can the new President of UGA please, PLEASE bring back tailgating on north campus? It’s not the same on the quad @ myers…


May 3rd, 2012
12:33 am

Enter your comments here


May 3rd, 2012
12:45 am

For all those complaining about Michael Adams, of whom I am no fan, remember Charles Knapp. Let’s hope the power brokers in GA unite to get someone who cares about the long term success of the University and the state. Chuck Knapp may have had a Tulane pedigree, and Mike Adams his Centre College prowess, but no one has represented Georgia like Fred Davison. I hope we can find a qualified Georgia-man once again. All the money and power of the position will never produce the results of a man who, appropriately qualified and competent, loves Georgia. The results would be astounding!


May 3rd, 2012
12:49 am

Adams was great for Academia-under his Presidency he weeded out the old stodgy-school, Dooley-Evans helped reap-in millions of $$$$ for athletic program…TIME FOR RICHT AND STAFF TO GOOOOOOO. I, for one, want SEC and National Titles!


May 3rd, 2012
1:42 am

One down, two to go. That’s what will be left of the 3 stooges that run the UGA athletic program. Adams, McGarity and RIcht have brought the UGA football program to the mediocre state it is in now. UGA has been irrelevant in the SEC for 7 years now, and it hasn’t been competitive in big time games since W.Virginia kicked their asses in the Sugar Bowl in 2005. Yet UGA fans continue to hope that this pitiful president and his hand picked head coach and A.D. will stop being the laughing stock of the SEC in football. Hopefully the new president will have passion for UGA athletics and he will see that McGarity is nothing but a bag of hot air, and the new president will not buy into Rev. Richt’s soft ass football program. It is a total joke when NFL executives and coaches label the football program and the players as soft. Richt should be embarrassed of the national perception the program has under his leadership. I have always asked in previous posts when will the nightmare end in athens. It will start to end in 13 months.Hopefully the new president will end the nightmare for good and get rid of the 2 other stooges(Richt&McGarity)


May 3rd, 2012
2:08 am

He consistently under invested in the football program (only allowing it to keep 30-40% of the omen football brought in) and made it increasing difficult to support the program by making impossible much on campus tailgating and through under investment in infrastructure versus minor (sorry, but it is true) Universities like Alabama. He was right that UGA s/d be on the national and global stage, just like Atlanta and the rest of our state. He was wrong to assume that football was an impediment to that effort. And he presided over a MASSIVE increase in administrative overhead. Plus he had a vindictive streak. He was a fighter who ruled our university as if he knew better what it needed. He was wrong.

SCarolina DAWGS

May 3rd, 2012
2:29 am

From across the River – We Say – ” Go to Hell ADAMS” and do not let the door hit your arogant ass on the way out!!!! Man are we glad to see him go – the quicker the better!!!!!

Old Guy

May 3rd, 2012
2:53 am

How good a hire was Damon Evans? He sure put red panties in the news.


May 3rd, 2012
4:23 am

Maybe we can go back to being the UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA and drop the idea of being the Harvard of the South.


May 3rd, 2012
4:42 am

Just like AP I have been telling these kids from the University that call Alumni wanting donations that I will not contribute as long as he was there. He and he alone threw those kids on the basketball team under the bus when he wouldn’t allow them to play in the tournament in order to save his butt. Never thought there was the first inkling of integrity in that man since then, He’s not done so well in other areas besides athletics. The University has grown IN SPITE of this man. Good riddance.


May 3rd, 2012
5:16 am

He is leaving under his own terms and I am sure he will be instrumental in picking who replaces him. I don’t think the University is out of the woods just yet. Glad he is going but 13 months is a long time.


May 3rd, 2012
5:24 am

I is what I is.

Big time?? Not

May 3rd, 2012
5:32 am

A generation of Georgia graduates children were forced to go elsewhere because of his desire to be Harvard Auburn , bama, sc, Florida ( the horror. ) all benefited. So we lose that generation that would grave cheered the Dogs. Good riddance. Pompous a;:###

John Lee

May 3rd, 2012
6:49 am

Like the earlier postings, I’ve declined contributing to the school since this arrogant self serving jerk surfaced.Giving him any credit for the rise in academic rankings is to simply not pay any attention to the effects of the lottery funding, as well as the growth of the state.The complete narcissism and self centeredness of this man, epitomized by the hiring of Harrick and the subsequent mess that resulted, is the “legacy” of this loser.
Good riddance!

Sopwith Camel

May 3rd, 2012
6:54 am

We have to keep him around for another 13 months?? Why can’t he go now??


May 3rd, 2012
7:04 am

He’ll always be the (fill in the blank here) that ran Coach Dooley out of town.


May 3rd, 2012
7:07 am

Don’t wait leave now!

old salty dawg

May 3rd, 2012
7:10 am

Adams’ departure will be a boon for UGA’s Athletic Department. He is a Peperdine Jerk! Perhaps Dooley will get the recognition he deserves, now.


May 3rd, 2012
7:13 am

Will Adams’ wife retire too?


May 3rd, 2012
7:24 am

Be careful what you ask for … I remember the dufus Fred Davidson during my academic days there and beside the Vet school, not much happened during his tenure. Adams had to make a lot of hard calls and while he ruffled feathers, he drove the University into a top 20 institution and set the total Sports programs up for constant success….

Big Al

May 3rd, 2012
7:28 am

Excited to see Adams go. Wish it was quicker.

He was, is, and will always be a F _ _ k up!


May 3rd, 2012
7:32 am

I also remember the Red and Black made it their mission to oust Fred D. No one likes the U. President ever… and yes Fund raising is what they are there for… Watch a Univ. go downhill fast when the funds dry up…..


May 3rd, 2012
7:38 am

Hire a top notch football coach who can run the University ala Saban and let’s win a Crystal Football.
Hope the Athens police chief leaves with him.


May 3rd, 2012
7:39 am

Chip, why did you gloss over Mike Adams’ involvement in the Tony Cole debacle? And Richt would have come to UGA regardless of who was President. Are you really suggesting otherwise?

True Dawg

May 3rd, 2012
7:44 am

Good riddance to a sorry leader!!!!! Just wish it could of been years earlier!! We have had 0 yes that is ZERO- did you hear me I said 0 BCS football championships under Adams- I would help him pack his bags!


May 3rd, 2012
7:51 am

@Micahel Adams
Don’t let the screendoor hit ya, where the Good Lord split ya…


May 3rd, 2012
8:00 am

He got his son a good education at Emory.


May 3rd, 2012
8:01 am

Hooray! Gotta figure he had some dirt on members of the board of regents to survive like he did through many bad moments.


May 3rd, 2012
8:06 am

I don’t recall anyone talking about Michael Adams. No UGA fan even thinks of Adams. Who cares?


May 3rd, 2012
8:06 am

Hearing a Michael Adams update is about equal to the Soccer updates on ESPN.