Garner makes bank.

Hey – remember this?

But as Garner adamantly pointed out in an exclusive interview with the AJC Thursday night, “this is not about the money.”

Sure, sure.  It’s just an added perk that Rodney Garner’s new annual salary at Auburn is a cool $500,000.00.  We don’t know the complete terms of his contract, since Auburn still refuses to release the details (why?), but if it turns out that’s part of a multi-year deal Garner agreed to, there should be little surprise about why he’s no longer coaching in Athens.

As it is, Mike Bobo is making a mere $75,000 a year more than Garner.  And Malzahn’s staff is making more than Richt’s.  Keeping Garner looks like it would have been a financial bridge too far for the likes of McGarity.

My point here isn’t to say whether Georgia’s AD was right or wrong in making that call.  For one thing, I have no idea what Richt’s position was on the matter.  But Garner’s new paycheck is another clear indication that the deals top assistants are getting in the SEC are headed in a certain direction and it’s up to Georgia to adapt.  Either that, or hope that Richt’s charm continues to go a long, long way in keeping assistants’ salaries under control.

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46 Comments

Filed under Auburn's Cast of Thousands, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

46 responses to “Garner makes bank.

  1. hailtogeorgia

    Is Garner really a top assistant? It seemed to me that, his recruiting aside, trying to match $500k on a multi-year deal for a defensive line coach is asking a little much.

    Granted, Georgia’s produced some good d-linemen in his tenure, but there have been just as many question marks as there have stars. Jeff Owens, who had all the talent in the world, disappeared his senior year. Geno Atkins never lived up to billing, yet is a Pro Bowler in the NFL. Quintin Moses was another case of the disappearing senior, while Charles Johnson did thrive. This is only a small sampling, of course, but nothing about Garner as a position coach makes me think we lost anything that’s irreplaceable, and it was clear that Richt felt he could cover the recruiting aspect.

    Plus, it always seemed like there was talk of coaches not getting along with Garner, but maybe that’s just me.

    • “His recruiting aside”?

      That’s not exactly a minor detail.

      • hailtogeorgia

        I touched on this later when I said “and it was clear that Richt felt he could cover the recruiting aspect”, but I wasn’t setting his recruiting aside entirely; I was setting his recruiting aside to highlight what he’d done as a position coach. My point was that, while yes, recruiting (and his recruiting skills) is of a huge importance, with the hire of Daryl Jones – a guy with 17 years of experience as either a head coach or AD in the state of Georgia, plus extensive work with Under Armour camps – Garner’s role as a recruiting coordinator no longer has the importance that it previously had. With decreased importance of his recruiting, one has to look at the other value he was adding…and his defensive line history, while good, was also spotty in terms of production.

        Did we lose some kids because he left? Sure. Is that any different than what would happen when a recruiting coordinator leaves ANY school a few weeks before signing day? I don’t think so. Add to that the fact that we also signed Davin Bellamy, who would’ve never signed if Garner were still at Georgia, and it cuts both ways.

        The bottom line is that if you think a guy whose role as recruiting coordinator is diminishing, and whose results as a defensive line coach aren’t really any more stellar than what anyone would expect out of someone who’s working with top flight athletes at the University of Georgia, should actually be paid more money and be given a multi-year deal, then I just don’t see the logic.

        • Daryl Jones can’t recruit off campus. No doubt he’s good at his job, but don’t kid yourself – he’s not a Garner replacement, however much Richt tries to spin otherwise.

          Just in the last five years, RG was chased by at least five different SEC head coaches I can think of off the top of my head. If you want to kid yourself by thinking his role was diminishing, knock yourself out. Plenty of people disagree. Some of those were ready to put their school’s money where their mouths were, too.

          Again, I’m not saying McGarity did the wrong thing here. To me, it looks like he would have faced some radical financial restructuring issues with the rest of the staff in the wake of keeping Garner. And that’s something his higher-ups may not be ready for just yet. But saying good riddance here isn’t justified, IMO.

          • hailtogeorgia

            Fair retort. I don’t think I’m kidding myself in thinking that his role was diminishing, but I also think Grantham’s addition as defensive coordinator had helped to take some of the importance off of Garner as well, but you’ve got a fair point. I don’t think we get Jordan Jenkins without Grantham, I don’t think we get Ray Drew without Grantham, and the list continues.

            If it wasn’t about money, then I trust that Richt, who fought to keep Garner regardless of soured relationships with fellow coaches, knew what he was doing in not pushing it this time…he must’ve had some reason for that.

            If it was just about the money, then yes, the fact that matching it would’ve led to a waterfall effect with the other assistants is more than enough reason not to, in my mind.

            • One more thing – if RG’s not a top assistant, then McGarity should be really depressed about where salaries are going. ;)

              • hailtogeorgia

                Maybe McGarity just agrees with me on this one, ha…it’s not like Auburn’s hiring track record is exactly stellar over the past few years. This IS the same school who paid Scott Loeffler AND Ted Roof $500,000 a year, paid Van Gorder $850,000 a year, and paid Willie Two Thumbs $255,000/year. When you think about it that way, maybe McGarity’s the smart one.

                • Just because they’re dumb doesn’t mean their money doesn’t spend the same. ;)

                • Macallanlover

                  I am in agreement with you on this discussion hailtogeorgia, there is some degree of fallout with most every staff change but RCG’s role as recruiter had been dimisnished significantly, and his coaching level at DL was suspect. In the CMR’s first 3 years in Athens we had to protect Garner from all attacks, even if irrational. Since that time relationships with HS coaches had been established with several other staff members and UGA could have survived losing Garner, if we had to. The reason Garner had more appeal and value to outside programs is understandable as they tried to gain ground in the state of Georgia. Recent recruiting seasons have proven Garner no longer had the ability to lockdown the state any way.

                  I feel McGarity has been wiser than other ADs in how he approaches spending. It isn’t necessary to follow every wild move made by other programs but he has to be aware that the direction is to higher salaries with the protection of multiple year contracts. I wouldn’t have chased RCG just because Auburn was desperate but he needs to stay closely tuned and not be too slow to react when necessary. UGA would be foolish to let the dumbest among us set the pace but cannot be too slow to react to changes to the norm; we would be even more foolish to suffer major losses with plenty of firepower at our disposal. That may seem like a fine line to walk, but so far I think GMc understands the game. Like the Senator says, he may not like the direction things are moving in but he cannot let that stop him from moving when he has to. If that means proactively having a plan in a place to exert some control over the marketplace, they had better do that. A trade-off for the multiple year contracts sought by assistants might be a large payback penalties that would offset the incoming offers along with non-compete clauses for any SEC teams that come calling for the contract period. I wouldn’t say “good riddance” with Garner but it didn’t bother me much at all.

                  • If that means proactively having a plan in a place to exert some control over the marketplace, they had better do that. A trade-off for the multiple year contracts sought by assistants might be a large payback penalties that would offset the incoming offers along with non-compete clauses for any SEC teams that come calling for the contract period.

                    Say goodbye to signing any frontline coaching talent, then. There’s no way somebody like Grantham, for example, would sign something like that.

                    • Macallanlover

                      Perhaps, but this group of coaches (assistants collectively) have been moaning the lack of stability/security for decades. I can understand because their future was tied to the HC, who was free to act independently of them. All of a sudden they were in a location, where some had just moved in the last 1-3 years, and without a job all because of a change in the HC position…and most were in a place where there were no other jobs that fit their skill set. So, I would be happy to sign a contract guaranteeing my job at a satisfactory rate if I performed my responsibilities. Let the new HC work with that assistant until the expiration of that contract, or make the new employer pay the buy out fee if it is so important to have that particular LB coach, or RB coach. I may not choose to renew if I am an assistant, but you can’t have it both ways. Or you shouldn’t be able to. I still don’t get the lack of adherence to, or respect for, contracts in this country. Why do we have them any longer? I look at a commitment differently, and I see it as an obligation on both sides of the employment agreement.

              • Perhaps he has that value for Auburn, but not Georgia. Malzahn might crave his instant cred and past ability to kill it in Atlanta. That may be a lot more valuable to Auburn than Georgia right now. As hail says, his on field results have suffered the last several years. I wanna say the Golston/Anderson duo was the last that didn’t leave feeling a bit unfulfilled in promise and potential. And with McClendon ready to step up, Bobo, Lily, and Grantham among others doing a great job selling recruits, did we really need to pay Garner that much to recruit? Besides, it’s not like the conference lacked available recruiters such as Wilson, but also guys like Trooper and others. Richt matched what anyone offered Garner time after time. He didn’t do it this time. If money wasn’t an issue before when we kept matching any offer he got, why is it a problem now?

                • As to your last question, I can think of two possibilities (1) this was a much higher dollar offer than RG had ever been offered and (2) he was offered it as part of a multi-year deal.

                  The offer strikes me as having terms that would have been very difficult for McGarity to match.

                  Is anybody seriously suggesting that if RG hadn’t received Auburn’s offer, Richt would have canned him anyway?

                  • I’m not suggesting that. I am suggesting that perhaps Richt saw the problems from Devin Burns thinking he had a commitable offer, to Kelsey Griffin thinking the same, to Davin Bellamy coming for a visit to see no one, etc, and “encouraging” him to consider other offers.

                    And as said, if Richt wanted to keep him, he’s shown me he’ll do what it takes to make him happy. He’s done it half a dozen or more times in the past. That he chose not to do that, when Georgia is clearly open to multi-year offers (at least for coordinators), is a sign that Richt wasn’t fighting to keep him this team and was ready to move on.

                    • Georgia is clearly open to multi-year offers (at least for coordinators)

                      Your qualifier is huge. It’s a step I don’t think B-M is ready to take at present. And I suspect Auburn counted on it.

                    • Question, was Garner not making as much or more than Bobo when he was initially named OC? I think he was, but am not certain.

                      Either way, neither of us can say with confidence that B-M would or would not have been willing to match that if Richt said he wanted it match. Or at least I can’t. But as said, Richt has shown that when he wanted to keep Garner, he stepped up and matched the offer. Again and again and again and again, he matched. This time he didn’t, and without evidence that he couldn’t match, I’ll assume he didn’t want to match.

                    • I’m speculating about the multi-year aspect of Garner’s deal because I haven’t seen the contract terms. But I have no problem saying that if Garner got a multi-year deal from Auburn, there’s no way Richt could have gotten McGarity to match that.

                  • hailtogeorgia

                    With all due respect, Senator, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Garner would have been fired if he hadn’t received Auburn’s offer. Personally, I just think that, from what seems to be your assertion here – that Georgia is refusing to adapt with the changing times and offer multi-year deals with significantly higher salaries to assistants – you’re off-base.

                    Might Georgia be slower to adapt than others, sure. At the same time, we have the luxury to do that currently, which is something that the Auburns, Tennessees, etc. don’t have. Auburn just fired a head coach two years after winning a national championship. If you want me to leave a good job with a national championship contender to go coach there, you damned well better pay me money and guarantee me multiple years, or you can kiss it. Georgia had multiple coaches receive offers from other schools (or the NFL), and it lost one solitary coach, who just so happened to leave the program to go coach his alma mater with a coordinator’s salary. When you can’t compete with the quality of your product, you compete with price, and it seems that McGarity knows that he has a better product than many of the fellow bidders right now.

                    • With all due respect, Senator, I don’t think anyone is suggesting that Garner would have been fired if he hadn’t received Auburn’s offer.

                      It was offered as a rhetorical question. I don’t believe anyone’s taken that position.

                      Personally, I just think that, from what seems to be your assertion here – that Georgia is refusing to adapt with the changing times and offer multi-year deals with significantly higher salaries to assistants – you’re off-base.

                      That’s not exactly what I’m saying. It’s not that Georgia isn’t adapting – Bobo’s new contract terms obviously show that it is – it’s that I wonder if management’s love of the profit margin doesn’t impact its ability to be nimble enough to move as the market changes.

                      As far as your last point, you’re conveniently ignoring what Les is paying out to his assistants. LSU ain’t no UT or Auburn right now. And I doubt McGarity really believes he has a better product than LSU to sell.

                      Listen, I hope I’m wrong. But I’m not convinced of that yet.

                    • If I’m an assistant, I definitely see more stability in Richt and Georgia than I would Miles and LSU.

                    • Hmm… wonder why John Chavis didn’t agree with you.

                    • So you’re saying we offered Chavis, on similar or better terms than LSU did, and he chose Red Stick instead of Athens, where we had to settle for Grantham? Not sure I buy that in total.

                    • He got a raise out of LSU for his efforts, so, yes, I assume Richt offered similar terms.

                • hailtogeorgia

                  That’s really what I’m getting at, too, Sanch. It’s not so much that Garner didn’t provide value, it’s that the circumstances have changed, and he’s more valuable now to others than he is to Georgia. The overtures made to him before were almost all prior to the On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator role. Beyond that, you’re right that other coaches have stepped up to fill the role that Garner had primarily occupied…Ball and McClendon come to mind, but also Grantham.

                  It may not have been about the money for Garner, but I’m sure it was to Georgia. If you think about it in terms of baseball statistics for a minute, Garner’s WAR (wins above replacement – essentially the number of wins a particular player contributes to his team above what the average replacement-level player would contribute) had been steadily decreasing. His job had been diversified across the staff, there’s now an On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator, AND his defensive line results weren’t really superb. From a business standpoint, there’s no reason to shell out $500k/year in a multi-year deal for that. Add to that the fact that his ALMA MATER had to pay him half a million to get him to come coach for them, and what does that tell you?

                  • Dboy

                    Hail,

                    I agree with your statement:

                    ” It’s not so much that Garner didn’t provide value, it’s that the circumstances have changed, and he’s more valuable now to others than he is to Georgia.”

                    But I think what changed was not so much the on-campus recruiting coordinator but the recruiting prowess / enthusiasm of the defensive coaches overall (esp Grantham). For years during the BVG and W. Martinez were DC regimes, Garner was the recruiting lynchpin. Grantham seems to have a passion for and success in recruiting, independent of Garner. And by all accounts Bobo and others have developed into great recruiters. Thus, matching a huge offer by Auburn was not necessary to protect recruiting per se, and Richt / McGarrity felt that they could get an equally qualified Dline Coach at a more reasonable price.

              • Keese

                Senator…..RG was at his prime when he had bag money to play with. He will shine at Auburn.

                Also, am I the only one looking forward to Malzahn’s wife running her megaphone mouth next season…..?? Pleanty of sound bites forthcoming.

  2. AthensHomerDawg

    Given that Coach Garner is a big on celebrating Thanksgiving he might use the cash for a double celebration.
    “The first day of Hanukkah coincides with Thanksgiving, on 11/28/2013 (meaning the first night of Hanukkah is actually the night before Thanksgiving). I was curious how often this happens. It turns out that it has never happened before…and it will never happen again.”
    Actually, Hanukkah will again fall on Thursday, 11/28…in the year 79,811.

    • So weak. Not willing to tell your new idol how wrong he is for seeing Garner as having some value? No dumb, inside (your head only) jokes for this?

      • AthensHomerDawg

        Oh my, you’re still butt hurt from out last exchange. I imagine our girl is spoiled now and you blame me. I promise to call . I’d reference your posture on Kings blog per Garner but you won’t let me on board. How convenient. Where is he anyway? Retired? What you bring is a charity consideration here. What? You are a legacy lawyer? Cojones bake some brownies. K?

  3. DawgPhan

    Just because we didn’t doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t.

  4. Spike

    I’m so over Garner. Yawn.

  5. I think CMR let Garner go, because of the friction between Garner and CTG, rumor is CTG told CMR, it’s either Garner leaves or I leave!

  6. The other Doug

    I think Auburn was desperate and was willing to over pay to get a good recruiter.

  7. CW Camp

    well Grantham inherited Garner and,truth be known,TG didn’t especially want RG as his defensive line coach…Garner had a good run with UGA and one time he flirted with some school and Richt came a runnin’ to keep him (remember?)…I didn’t see Richt falling all over himself this time ;-)

    IIRC,Garner and Kirby Smart were not the best of buddies,either…

    later,old dawg

  8. Lorenzo Dawgriguez

    My guess is that Rodney also needed a change of scenery…it happens to me as well. From comments by some of the recruits, it may just have been time to go, made much easier by the $$$$ offered. I will bet a couple of his kids go to UGA for thier education.

  9. Cojones

    I’m in agreement with HTG and Mac, but when I last typed those sentiments, the Senator challenged me to substantiate the innuendo and statements for fact. I begged off because a review of Garner’s recruiting in the last 2-3 years doesn’t hurt when defining why we view our take as differing in a few places from the Senator’s and some money guys he refers to as well.

    Anyone have suggestions how to rope the articles together that were published before and after Garner’s leaving going back to the last few years? I stated that, in my mind, it began about the time Patterson went to Tenn instead of UGA (last wk of recruiting in 2011?). While several coaches did the mainstay of their position recruitments, Rodney was called on in the last week to make the final sell. Used to have the who-is-recruiting-whom info on Scout/Rivals, but not so much anymore.

    It was a legitimate demand by Bluto and I’d really like to give my answer instead of spending poor time searching incorrectly, i.e., I’m too lazy/computer-challenged to work at the legitimate reasons to probe for the info that formed my opinion. DIF, you hitch together subjects well on “gtp” because you reference them from time-to-time. Any hints?

  10. TR

    McGarity and Richt could have countered if they REALLY wanted to keep Garner, but considering how bad the dline got beat up in rushing yards in the last 4 games, I think they figured he wasn’t worth the big dollars.

  11. DawgPhan

    I dont think that McGarity is going to be trading options on margin in the SEC coach market.

  12. W Cobb Dawg

    We should be clear about RG’s effect on recruiting – we didn’t “lose” any recruits due to Garner’s move. Not one recruit decommitted from UGA and followed RG to auburn. DL Adams was never a lock or verbal for UGA. It was easily CMR’s largest recruiting class and has the potential to be UGA’s best recruiting class of the millennium.

    As far as 2013’s recruiting class is concerned I’d argue RG had surprisingly little effect considering his role as our recruiting coordinator. He may be great for auburn and he may be making loads of $$, but his exit from UGA has registered little more than a yawn.