ATHENS – I just returned a short time ago from the UGA Chapel where Dr. Michael Adams’ announced he was retiring as the University of Georgia’s president after 15 years. It was a very brief and matter-of-fact affair where Adams essentially read from a prepared statement that he had handed out to reporters beforehand, greeted well wishers at the end and took questions for about five minutes.
One of the first calls I made afterward was to former Georgia football coach and athletic director Vince Dooley. Clearly Coach Dooley was expecting some calls as he spoke as though he might be reading from a prepared statement. Not surprisingly, he rebuffed repeated attempts to get him to engage in the his controversial relationship with Adams, who refused to extend his contract in 2003 and essentially forced Dooley into retirement.
Here’s what Dooley said/read:
“First of all, I commend President Adams on his retirement, his service and his contributions to the University of Georgia. I do believe it is time for a change and I look forward to the Bulldog Nation uniting under new leadership in the near future.”
I quickly followed by asking Dooley if he felt the “Bulldog Nation” — aka athletic association supporters — was divided under Adams’ leadership.
“I can’t say that,” he said, stepping away from script for just a moment. “Regardless of the situation, I think new leadership would be good. But I’m going to stick with my statement.”
I asked Dooley if he had some ideas of what type of leader the next president should be. He recently profiled every president in his new book, “History and Reminiscences of the University of Georgia.”
“I really don’t want to get into anything like that,” Dooley said. “If you look at the history of presidents, as you change presidents there’s a sense of renewal and unification under new leadership.”
Dooley did intimate that he thought the 13-month period before Adams’ actual retirement was excessively long. But otherwise he stayed clear of criticizing the man or the process.
Asked what he thought Adams’ legacy would be regarding athletics, Dooley let loose a hardy laugh. “I’m not going to say anymore publically,” he said.
– Chip Towers. The UGA Blog