The silent treatment

I’m not sure if this falls in the “if you don’t have anything good to say about someone, don’t say anything at all” department or not, but it’s an interesting complaint.

… Georgia coach Mark Richt said last week that he gave Pugh an “unconditional release,” putting no restrictions on his transfer.

“I want them to go where it’s best for them,” Richt said. “I’ve just always done it that way.”

Kranish, however, said Pugh was “very disappointed” in Georgia.

“He said that some of the other Division I schools that he contacted called Georgia and never got a call back,” Kranish said.

Kranish said that Colorado did not get a return call from Richt or former Georgia defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, now the secondary coach at Oklahoma.

Richt has been known in the past to go the extra mile to help kids who left the program find a new home, so if Kranish’s allegations are accurate, I don’t know if that says something about Pugh, or if Evil Richt is back on the job.  Of course, maybe he and Martinez were too busy to return phone calls.

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23 Comments

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23 responses to “The silent treatment

  1. Go Dawgs!

    Da’Rick and his boyfriend can both eat the fattest of dicks.

  2. Chuck

    As usual, I have no real inside information, but to me, this excerpt from the article says this situation falls into the ‘if don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all’ category:

    “Kranish, who handles the recruitment of Independence players, said Wisconsin, N.C. State and several other ACC schools wanted to talk to Georgia about the circumstances behind his transfer.

    Just my $0.02.

  3. JC in Powder Springs

    As my wife would (or wouldn’t) say, sometimes silence speaks louder than words.

  4. I dunno, maybe Coach had his hands full HIRING A NEW DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR and couldn’t address the whiny needs of a quitter.
    Go ahead, Makiri. Be disappointed. I’ll try to care.

  5. Pingback: Consider the source of reports bad-mouthing UGA coaches | UGA: The Junkyard Blawg

  6. Reptillicide

    Holy shit Senator. The AJC has linked to you. Congrats.

  7. Tommy

    Seems to be some confusion on Kranish’s part between what’s owed and what’s a courtesy. Richt & Co. have are more than justified in prioritizing the 150-odd players, coaches and assistants who choose to remain with Georgia football, plus the dozens of other players serious about becoming Bulldogs, over the one who chose to ditch the program.

    Pugh didn’t do us any favors by leaving, but he expects some favors in return? These kids. I don’t get them. /getoffmylawn

  8. Never a Doubt

    Independence High is a big deal. If you think it’s good business not to go the extra mile for a former player from that school, so be it. That strikes me as a rationalization of an oversight that shouldn’t have happened. Independence is your customer, and you keep your customer happy as long as that customer’s request is unreasonable. And if the customer’s unhappiness stems from a perception that is unjustified, you better go the extra mile to make sure that they get the facts they need. That’s brand management, and with a coach at a big school, our brand isn’t what it was.

    • Wow.

      Independence High is Mark Richt’s “customer”? He needs to go the “extra mile”? What if what the customer wants is unethical?

      By the way, the coach isn’t complaining that the customer is unhappy because it (Independence High) didn’t get the facts, he’s unhappy because Richt and Martinez wouldn’t discuss Pugh with coaches at other schools.

      Pugh quit the program, which is certainly his right, but since none of us know the circumstances surrounding that decision, I don’t see how you can pass judgment on what’s happened, particularly since we’re all aware of many occasions when Richt did in fact help a player find a new school to land at.

      Of course, if you are privy to inside information about what went on, I apologize. If that’s the case, perhaps you could share it with us so we could share in your sense of disapproval.

      • Never a Doubt

        First, dial down the snide.

        And yes, in recruiting, high school coaches have a lot of influence, and if you don’t treat them like a customer, you’re cutting your throat. So you return calls. Of course you don’t do things that are unethical. I never suggested that, so stop with the strawmen stuff. Unless calling a coach is unethical, and I’m pretty sure it isn’t.

        Here is what we do know: Pugh quit the program and had talked to other programs about transferring. He believes — and yeah, maybe he’s just making this up — that the other programs called our staff and never heard back from them. It could be that the other schools never called, or it could be that we didn’t prioritize it enough. I’m happy to note that I don’t know for sure what happened, but there is certainly a perception problem there and if the calls never came, we should make that clear to Pugh and the writer of the original story.

        And I’m passing judgment not in the sense of executing anyone. I’m opining based on what the facts purport to indicate. That’s something we all do, Senator, and you’re no exception. I wouldn’t begin to make life-changing decisions based on that type of information, but it’s certainly a fair basis for commentary. I doubt you hold yourself to a higher standard when it comes to claims relating to opposing programs.

        And I’m not saying that the “customer” is unhappy “because” it didn’t get the facts in the sense that it was left out of something. I’m saying that even if Pugh is spewing a line of BS, his coaches at Independence don’t know that. So their perception is that UGA isn’t taking care of one of their guys, and how do you think that helps us in recruiting? Regardless of whether the perception is fair or not, it’s out there now, and we need to either (a) make sure that the perception is based on faulty factual assumptions by cleaning up the record or (b) make sure that we return phone calls so that we don’t see these stories again.

        Let’s put it differently. What if Richt just didn’t return the calls. No good excuse. Is that okay? Of course not. It’s damaging to a reputation that, as you note, he has crafted. Does the fact that he has such a reputation mean he should get some benefit of the doubt? Of course. And if this was Richt versus Pugh on what happened and there was a discrepancy, I’d go with Richt.

        • Let’s unpack this a bit.

          Here are four things that we do know:

          1. Richt has a stated policy of not running kids off from the program (unlike certain other coaches you and I could both name). So, if Pugh keeps his nose clean and does what’s asked of him, he’s assured of a free ride and a degree from UGA.
          2. Richt has a track record of helping kids in certain situations land at other programs (Jamar Cheney, for example).
          3. When Pugh asked for his release, Richt gave it to him with no strings attached. That’s highly unusual. In most cases, like Marve’s dust up with Shannon at UM, or Dooley’s more recently bizarre “eight-hour drive” stipulation for Aaron Douglas, coaches put significant restrictions on where a former player can transfer.
          4. When Richt had a screw up in recruiting that caused bad feelings with a high school coach last year, he made a very visible showing of contrition about it. So he’s clearly not adverse to acknowledging errors in judgment or execution in recruiting and making amends.

          I would argue that the first three of those are examples of coaching behavior that go above and beyond the call of duty. And as to all four of those, if you and I know about them, you can be damned sure that a high school coach who’s a “customer” of Richt’s program knows about them, too.

          Now the fifth thing that we know here is that a high school coach of Pugh has relayed his criticism of Richt for making Pugh unhappy by not speaking with coaches at other programs to which Pugh sought to transfer. Everything beyond that is speculation, including why Pugh’s former HS coach is making an issue over this.

          That being said, it seems to me that the easiest thing to assume from this story is that if Pugh is unhappy because he believes that Richt and Martinez didn’t pick up their phones, he’s not going to be any happier if either had in fact returned calls and provided even the most benignly honest answer they could have (which also happens to be the most obvious), namely, that Pugh simply isn’t a good enough football player to occupy a spot on the two-deep on an SEC roster. The only action Richt could have taken that would have satisfied Pugh would have involved at best a white lie or equivocation.

          Now Pugh, whether through ego, naiveté or general cluelessness, may honestly believe he’s entitled to that much from the coach he quit on, so I can excuse his disappointment. But Kranish doesn’t deserve a similar benefit of the doubt, IMO. He knows what the deal is here. He’s experienced and presumably not stupid. (If he is, I doubt that is something Richt could fix anyway.) And he ought to know what kind of man Mark Richt is.

          Which leads me to my final point with you. My reference to “unethical” wasn’t meant as a strawman argument. This is big boy college football we’re talking about here. Unfortunately, in that context, unethical and unreasonable don’t live at the same address. And I’m not using “unethical” to include violating NCAA rules or doing anything particularly sinister. I just mean it in the sense that Kranish may think it’s entirely reasonable for Mark Richt to make up something about Pugh to help him get a scholarship at another school. That’s a helluva stretch for a HS coach to expect somebody like Mark Richt to make. And if it’s what he expects, I don’t see how any conversation Richt might have with him would change that. Or change the specific criticism that Kranish directed Georgia’s way.

          From where I sit, Richt’s done more than enough for Pugh. Expecting him to, well, lie isn’t reasonable. Pugh and Kranish would likely disagree. Do you?

          • Never a Doubt

            As we’re unpacking things, let’s try this (if you’ll do me the courtesy):

            1. Do you think high school coaches have a significant influence on where players attend college? The obvious answer here is yes, though you’ll here some who point to Da’Rick Rogers and other exceptions as if they are the rule. Ask a coach and you won’t get a dispute: it mattters — a lot.

            2. Knowing that a high school coach may have a significant influence on a player’s choice of colleges, is it important to maintain good relations with those coaches, particularly ones who regularly supply Division I players? If the answer to #1 is yes, the answer to #2 should be the same.

            3. Does the need to maintain good relationships with high school coaches mean that you can never say no? This is where I took issue with you on the strawman argument, and I appreciate your response, so I think we can both answer this one pretty definitively: no.

            4. If it is important to maintain good relationships with coaches, is it important for the coaches to perceive that you are going to take care of players who they send to your institution? I don’t think I’m off base here in saying that’s a clear “yes.”

            5. If it is important to maintain that perception of being a guy who will take care of the player, should a coach be willing to return calls to a potential transfer destination if the coach can honestly provide a good reference? I think the answer here should be a clear yes, unless you’ve answered #1 differently than I do.

            6. And here is where I hope the disagreement is (not because I hope to disagree but because I think that if you disagree with 1-5, we’re just two ships passing in the night): Could Richt honestly provide a good reference for Pugh here? You assume that he could not and that’s the reason the call wasn’t made. If that assumption is correct, I don’t think your position is unreasonable though it still leaves the thorny problem of perception (i.e., that you’re too busy to worry about former players and won’t take care of them) as to the reason for the no-call. That perception isn’t as bad for Richt given the past history you cite, but a coach is going to base his perception more on what happens to his player and not another one, particularly if he thinks that kid is a good kid. I also don’t know that your perception of the reason for the no-call is justified. It might be — I’m willing to give Richt the benefit of the doubt there (and you should remember — we’re discussing these issues, not making hiring/firing decisions). But I also think it’s just as easily explainable to an administrative mishap as it is a desire for Richt to say nothing at all. What the truth is I could not say — nor can you. We can both speculate and offer opinions based on the outcome of that speculation. But if I get to Step 6 here and the answer is that he could have given a good reference and just didn’t, either because of laziness or carelessness (perhaps not his own carelessness but someone’s), I don’t think that’s a very good move. I would hope that you would agree. I don’t expect him to lie, I expect him to help a kid out if he CAN in an ethical way.

            • I guess what I don’t understand is why you think Richt owes a kid who left the program on his own a good reference. Given the widespread practice of placing limits on which programs a player can transfer to, I seriously doubt it’s SOP. And Richt did Pugh the kindness of not placing any restrictions on where he could transfer to.

              But here’s the thing – if a reference was that important to Pugh, why didn’t he discuss it with Richt at his exit meeting? At least he would have known then what to expect.

              • Never a doubt

                Put aside whether he owes it to the kid (I would say that he does, but that’s because even if the kid left, he might have a good reason just as people leave for other jobs for a good reason). Is it good business to provide such references where you can honestly provide them? I think that’s a clear yes because if you don’t, the high school coaches who feed colleges aren’t going to think as highly of you. And I think Richt generally gets that, which is why I can’t imagine this being a situation where he just purposefully decided not to make a call (I also think Richt genuinely cares about these kids so I think he’d make a call just to help the kid if he could).

                As to why a 20 year old didn’t have the foresight to see this at an exit interview, well, I think I’ve already told you why I think that may have happened.

                Anyway, interesting discussion. Appreciate the dialogue even if we frequently disagree.

            • But I also think it’s just as easily explainable to an administrative mishap as it is a desire for Richt to say nothing at all.

              Given how Richt responded to the Carver-Columbus snafu, I think that if Pugh’s situation is the result of an administrative mishap, we’ll be hearing about it shortly.

    • Reptillicide

      That may be the dumbest analogy I’ve ever heard in my life.

      • Sep

        Agree.

        Most of these guys are ego driven and the school, coach, po po, are always the bad guy and the media jumps all over it.

        Pugh might be a decent kid( I doubt it) but don’t burn a bridge.

        • Mayor of Dawgtown

          What about the possibility that Richt (an honest, Christian guy) did not return the calls because if he did and was truthful he would have had to say things that would have hurt the kid’s ability to transfer? Like: “He really isn’t good enough to play at the D-I level” or “He was a problem kid.” I think that is more likely than any other explanation. Looks like the kid is a trouble-maker from where I sit. Most coaches wouldn’t even give a waiver. The kid needs to STFU.

    • If you want to talk business analogies, here’s one: Say you’ve got an employee who’s pissed off at his current job, he thinks he’s not making enough money, he wants to go elsewhere. You haven’t seen him make a huge contribution in his current position, but whatever, he wants to go, you give him your blessing.

      The other companies where he’s applied start calling you. You’ve got your own department to take care of and a hundred-something employees to manage. You’re writing up your priorities list: How high up do your now-former-employee’s future job prospects rank?

      My guess is not very high. And I wouldn’t blame you. So don’t go blaming Richt.

      • Never a Doubt

        Not really a good comparison, in my view. Most of your customers don’t care what happens to a former employee. So that person’s future prospects are irrelevant. The analogy is based on the factual assumption that (a) high school coaches influence recruiting and (b) how you treat their players will impact their willingness to guide a player to your program. Feel free to disagree with either of those assumptions.

        If you have an employee who your customers care about and you toss them aside and don’t show any regard for their future, that isn’t going to help your business. My guess is that finding a soft landing for such a person should be a priority for you.

  9. Never a Doubt

    And I meant so long as the request is “reasonable,” not “unreasonable.”

    • Charles D.

      By the way, Independence is just another school now. They have been affected, like Parkview and Brookwood by the white flight in their particular cities.

      The coach who started Independence left to coach at Duke and the one after him left to start a new program at a farther out suburb of Charlotte. Guys like Devonte Holloman and Christian LeMay are no longer going to Independence. The program is not important anymore.