It’s money that I love.

ESPN’s Chris Low is reporting that Rodney Garner is up in Knoxville today interviewing.

It’s hard to say for what position, but it can’t be for a coordinator slot, since both have been hired and it can’t be for recruiting coordinator, assistant head coach or d-line coach, since Orgeron already fills the bill on those.

That only leaves one other consideration.

Damon Evans better be opening the checkbook.  They are throwing some serious money around at UT.


UPDATE: Low spoke with Garner after the interviewing process concluded.  Here’s the meat of what he heard:

… If he decides to return to Tennessee, there’s a chance he would return to the offensive side of the ball, possibly as some type of running game coordinator.

“It’s best that Coach Kiffin talk about all that, but it’s something I think could definitely enhance my career,” said Garner, who played on the offensive line at Auburn. “I’m comfortable on either side of the ball.”

Garner earned $253,000 this season at Georgia. His salary at Tennessee, if he takes the job, could approach the $400,000 figure.


Filed under Don't Mess With Lane Kiffin, Georgia Football

47 responses to “It’s money that I love.

  1. NebraskaDawg

    This is getting crazy. If he wants to pimp himself out to the highest bidder then let him go. I don’t begrudge a guy looking for a promotion but all of those type jobs have been filled (unless they need a co-co defensive coordinator). Guy just got a fat raise not too long ago, I see that’s how long the loyalty lasts for him. CMR made the biggest mistake promoting CWM over Gardner but he looks to be going anywhere just to make more money. Only thing I can guess is if he goes to the Viles for a year as a coach then Monte Kiffin retires and Gardner is promised the D-Cordinator position.


  2. dawg1

    let him go if its a lateral move just for more money. sounds like he isn’t happy in athens period because he does this all the time. i know he’s a great recruiter but its not worth the hassle. get somebody who wants to coach here.


  3. Ally

    I’m getting sick of the annual heartattacks around his offseason interviews. If he wants to go so bad, then just freakin’ leave already. Enough.

    After the Auburn interviews he & CMR never said he was staying like what was announced with Searles. Now we know why. I’ve heard rumors that he & Martinez are having problems (not as bad as his problems with BVG, but bad nonetheless).

    Obviously he’s not happy and wants to leave out if he’s interviewing for what would be a demotion or a switch back to Offense.



  4. drunk dawg

    I don’t blame him. I hope he doesn’t go, if I was being objective and putting myself in his shoes, I’d take Kiffin and more money over Martinez and less money.


  5. Macallanlover

    I would prefer he stay, but only if he agrees to limit any future discussions to those for coordinator or higher. Those positions aren’t open at TN, so why are you there? If this isn’t acceptable, let him go and reward those who want to be a part of what we are doing at UGA. No one is so valuable that the program gets jerked about 2-3 times per year. In fact, if I was CMR I don’t know if I would even offer him a position back if he is interviewing for a lateral position at a division rival.


  6. Ally

    TotalUGA is saying he’s possibly talking to another SEC school as well, don’t know which though.

    Wonder what this does a/b Jeff Owens’s status – Remember Jeff said that because Garner told him he’d be coming back that he would come back for his senior season as well.


  7. Garner pulls this crap every year. We’ve brought in Lilly, who was FSU’s RC, so I say let him go. It sickens me to think that he and BVG couldn’t coexist and he’s the one that ended up staying.


  8. SLH

    I’m sick of the money whores. Just leave already if that’s your primary motivator.


  9. Not a Coach

    Hey SLH…Just remember the golden rule of coaching….There is no coach who loves your team as much as you do.


  10. JasonC

    Does anyone know if Jimmie Sexton is Garner’s agent? That may have something to do with it.

    Looking at Knoxville is a bit of a head-scratcher, but remember after Searels decided to say there was a point made about him being compensated. I don’t remember the same being said about Garner. Maybe he is looking for a pay bump.


  11. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I can’t blame Garner for looking for more compensation. After all, Orgeron is being paid around three times as much as RG for essentially doing the same job.

    The money that’s getting thrown around in Knoxville is crazy, but with the new TV contracts, we’d better get used to it. Watch assistant coaches’ salaries jump across the SEC in the next couple of years.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I feel a little sorry for Phillip Fulmer. I’m not a fan of his, but I can’t deny that the guy bled orange and had his fair share of accomplishments at UT. How do you think he feels watching the Tennessee administration give a guy with a 5-15 career record as a head coach what amounts to a blank check to assemble a staff?


  12. SLH

    Not an absolute, Not a Coach.

    Many coaches love the schools they serve as much as many fans and alumni.

    There was a time when Spurrier loved Florida possibly more than anyone alive (other than the two bits goofball). Same can be said of Fulmer.

    Garner ain’t a Dawg at heart, he’s an Auburn man, so the comparison doesn’t apply.

    My point is that $$ whores surface in any profession. Their allegiance can be purchased swiftly, and their allegiance can be equally fleeting.

    With that said, let’s see what RG does before judging him and his actions.


  13. Wolfman

    This I completely don’t understand.

    It doesn’t make sense for Garner, unless he’s unhappy or poor. Making a lateral move (at best) to a team that is in MUCH more turmoil than the one he’s in now doesn’t make sense. I also fail to understand the appeal to move to a staff where he will be one of the least highly regarded names on the list, compared to his decent standing among our assistant coaches. I think you all are astute about his quest for money.

    What I understand even less, however, is why Tennessee would do this. Maybe, as Nebraska suggests, he would be promised a promotion, but I doubt it, especially considering the big names on the D-staff in front of him. Certainly it wouldn’t be worth that much money to cough up for that reason.

    Does Tennessee need another defensive coach? No. They’ve got enough big hitters over there. (Especially considering that’s the ONLY place they were good last year — why are they not concentrating on improving offense?) Does Tennessee need an excellent recruiter? Well, they’ve already got one. If you don’t believe it, look what a real coach was able to do with the players Big O assembled at Ole Miss.

    The only reason I can figure is that Kiffin’s is trying to horde coaches. He stole Orgeron, but why? They’ve already got Monte. Considering what they already have, Garner on that staff would be a superfluous use of resources. Thus, I can only assume he’s doing it solely to make sure other SEC schools don’t have these coaches on their staff.

    If it happens, that will raise the number of SEC schools who have sold their soul to the devil this decade to 5. (Although, to be fair, Satan is already cashing in Auburn’s debt.)


  14. Macallanlover

    Senator, I agree our salaries for assistant coaches has long needed to be addressed, but RG has been treated very well at UGA. If the price of poker goes up, we will have to increase the ante, and I am sure we will. As you said, there is more money in the pot now. But what RG has done by whoring himself out for a lateral move to a division rival 2 weeks after his flirtation with AU is past being tiring. Let him go if he wants. Searels is worth fighting for, and we did. I doubt we go overboard on this battle. He has become disruptive and we have been giving Mike Bobo, Stacy Searels, and Lilly a larger role in recruiting. Prefer he stay, but we will be fine if RG leaves.

    Also, I haven’t noticed us getting such great talent anyway. Sure we have had highly ranked classes, but many haven’t panned out as promised, and the character issues are of major concern so our eevaluations are lacking. Utah, Wake Forest, West Va., Old Miss, etc., etc. finds talent that can be developed to compete with much less storied programs, and in less attractive locales. I haven’t noticed us having a stonewall front line in years. We will carry on with little noticeable drop off if Garner decides to leave. I am confident CMR has had someone go with RG to meet all his contacts in major areas, and UGA’s program will still attract good players. I would rather have less drama and more loyalty.


  15. Heyberto

    Thanks UT… for screwing every NCAA college football program (and primarily the SEC) by paying these exorbitant prices.


  16. S.E. Dawg

    Has anyone seen David Pollock lately? Probably would make a good defensive coach.


  17. If the rest of the SEC wants to nip this rising-assistants’-salaries thing in the bud, they could do themselves a big favor by whupping Tennessee’s ass at any and every available opportunity. Nothing would call UT’s business sense into question faster than paying multimillions for a 6-6 record.


  18. peacedog

    Why does everyone assume Pollock would make a good defensive coach? Playing the game in no way garuntees coaching ability, and Pollock has no coaching experience. I understand why people bring the name up, but I don’t think it’s very realistic.

    Evans shouldn’t necessarily open the check book for Garner if UT offers money that’s closer to The Orgeron than typical SEC assistant salary. It may be appropriate to open up the check book for someone else, time will tell. If They do offer big bucks, I can understand the attraction (Well, except that it’s Tennessee; come on!). Someone elsewheres made a good point that perhaps they’d bring him in to coach OL but then I also read UT already had an OL coach (this is unverified, and was speculation to begin with).

    It wouldn’t be fun to lose Garner but I don’t think it would be some sort of monumental program changer the way some morons on a certain message board are alleging. We have on recruiting coordinator in waiting on the staff (Lilly) and could get another (leading me to believe the replacement hire would be someone whose ability to come in and coach something is more important than to come in and be recruiting coordinator, but that’s idle speculation based on no actual evidence).


  19. S.E. Dawg

    Peacedog I’m just curious as to whom CMR would hire to replace RG. I know Pollock doesn’t have the experience but he always had the fire in him.


  20. peacedog

    I’m sure the actual list of candidates will include people nobody ever thought of. He might want a defensive guy, or even specifically a DT/DL guy (OTOH, could Fabris coach both positions and Richt go in another direction entirely? Not out of the realm of possibility).

    Travis Jones is one guy has coached DL, has served as a recruiting coordinator, and has a little NFL experience (he followed Saban to Miami when Saban left LSU, I believe). He’s also a UGA guy. His name usually comes up in conjuncture with a defensive coach interviewing elsewhere.

    Coaching in college is not easy. Recruiting is not easy. I’m not saying Pollock couldn’t do it, but I think it’d be a stretch to expect him to jump into coaching like that at this time. Not outside the realm of possibility, mind you, but I haven’t seen any evidence it’s something he wants to do yet. There are quality coaches out there we could probably get interest from. If it happens, it’ll be interesting to see how it shakes down.


  21. brad

    I understand both sides of the Pollack agruement…great player, why not a great coach? Great player doesn’t necessarily make a great coach, etc.

    Giff Smith is sure doing a great job at Tech and he was a stud at GSU.

    I’m just sayin’.


  22. Robert

    Kiffen, Orgeron, and Garner in Gay Orange Country?

    Sounds like they’re about to get serious about recruiting…

    I hope CRG stays. He seems to be a straght-talker and one hell of a recruiter.

    Write the check Mr. Evans.


  23. Doug hits it on the head above. If you beat the bejesus out of Tenn, then no one will be willing to pay out the $$ they are. I don’t understand those of you that are calling for “loyalty” from Garner because he’s looking for a payday. Would any of you be willing to take a pay increase despite it being a lateral move? In this economy, I’d say yes. Let the process play out and we’ll see what happens.


  24. Ally

    Give up the Pollack dream. He’s said openly many times that he has ZERO interest in coaching, even at UGA. He loves broadcasting & has several other business ventures. It’s not gonna happen. If you don’t believe me, call into his radio show & he’ll repeat it for the millionth time. Geez.


  25. Senator, I think you make numerous excellent points – about Garner and Fulmer. (When you aren’t talking about the BCS/playoffs issue, you’re a genius! 🙂 ).

    It is easy to talk about loyalty when you want someone to stay for less money, but where’s the loyalty talk when CMR wins 10 games 6 out of 8 seasons and people start saying he can never win us a title. That ain’t loyalty either.

    The money involved in college football is huge. Why shouldn’t the people doing the work (coaches) get a share of the income?

    Yes, it is kinda unseemly the way Garner shops himself around, but if he doesn’t practice interviewing he’ll never successfully move up.


  26. JasonC

    Good points Senator and Muckbeast. Like Quinton posted over at PWD’s site, I have a little problem with Georgia fans and their current definition of loyalty. Aside from the way Muckbeast explained it, there are a lot of people, who rail on Richt for being overly loyal to Martinez.

    I disagree with Mac…lover. Garner has done a great job of getting talent here. Yes, some guys don’t pan out, but seeing as UGA consistently pulls in top 10 recruiting classes, I would say he does a damn good job. Also, as the Chris Low article noted, Garner has coached at least four guys who have had good careers in the NFL. I would probably rank Garner as second to Searels in importance to UGA for asst. coaches.

    Furthermore, I don’t really think it is fair to flippantly throw out the term “whore” or any sense of the word in regards to Garner. I think that is a bit much.

    Lastly, something I thought of that nobody mentioned here is that who says Garner was interviewing for a defensive coaching position at Tenn? I believe the Low article cites that he was a TE or OL coach at Tenn before. Maybe he considering a job on the offensive side of the ball.

    I hope he stays and I don’t have a problem with Evans bumping his salary a reasonable amount.


  27. peacedog

    “I understand both sides of the Pollack agruement…great player, why not a great coach? Great player doesn’t necessarily make a great coach, etc.”

    Brad, that’s not an argument.

    That’s taking two seemingly related things (guy excelled as a player, guy excelled as a coach) and assuming there is a causation. But there isn’t. Otherwise, coaches who didn’t excel as players would be rare, but they’re probably the norm.


  28. brad

    Peacedog, with all due respect, it is an argument when one person takes one side and another person takes the other side and they “discuss” it. I have heard it argued many times over. Some feel he could do it, others don’t. That’s the point.


  29. Barry

    Come on, guys.

    “Whore”? He would receive a 65% raise for performing similar work for a prior employer. For an additional $150,000 a year, wouldn’t you consider leaving too?

    RG is considered the premier recruiter in the country. He, and all of the coaches, work as hard as CMR and make less than 1/10 of his salary. They have far less job security than a head coach.

    I get a kick out of this “loyalty” talk. Has CMR showed loyalty to RG? Has he offered Garner a multi-year contract? Made him a “head coach in waiting” like Jimbo Fisher?

    CMR received a large raise last year. The assistant coaches didn’t receive anything remotely comparable.

    Sorry but I won’t trash men who spend months away from their family to pursue recruits, scout the opposition, train team members or review film.

    In sports, the market determines what an athlete or coach is worth. College sports should be the same way (and is for head coaches.) Let’s just stop whining and pay RG what he’s worth.


  30. peacedog

    Brad, two people discussing “two sides of something” does not an a meaningful argument make. There’s no evidence suggestion there’s a strong corollary between excelling as a player and excelling as a coach (or even being a decent coach); again there are coaches all over the place who didn’t excel as players. And that’s ignoring Pollock’s claims he doesn’t want to get into coaching (I’m not familiar with those, but I’m not surprised).

    Barry, Garner doesn’t have a 10th of Richt’s responsibilities. RG is a great recruiter yes. So is John Lilly. And Billy Napier. and Travis Jones. And Ken Norton Jr I’m sure. And dozens and dozens of other names out there. Garner, and people like him (that is, guys whose specialties are on the recruiting side of things), just level the playing field. To suggest Richt hasn’t shown loyalty to assistants is also ridiculous, as anyone who wants Willie Martinez gone can attest. Assistant coaches, position coaches, and coordinators don’t get paid as much as head coaches. Such is life.

    Also, Richt isn’t the one who determine’s the lengths of contracts for various staff members. It’s a UGA thing. Richt has gone to bat for Garner, gotten him more money (on several occasions), and has never had a bad word for him. He’s been loyal. I’m not one of the people claiming Garner should be loyal to UGA no matter what, but you are off base here.


  31. baltimore dawg

    with respect to doug’s point–the salary market has to respond to upward pressure way in advance of the year or two it would take to demonstrate the possible unwisdom of tennessee’s huge coaching salary changes. just see how it is already rippling through the marketplace with garner. although what tn’s paying doesn’t peg the salaries, there’s no way this doesn’t result in a permanent (and fairly dramatic) upward shift in the pay-scale, with immediate effects for the sec and for the other bcs conferences later.


  32. Sparrow

    Baltimore is right. Once the pay scale shifts up, we aren’t going to see it shift back. You would be hard pressed to find an example where, given the lag between contract and results, this has ever occurred in any industry.

    And that being said, all of this talk about loyalty is a bit naive. Sure there is more to college football than accounting or practicing law, but would we ever play the loyalty card in any other circumstance? Ultimately, why is RG’s situation any different?


  33. Ally

    After reading the latest Low article, I think he’s all but gone. Garner sounded excited, and talked about how it would enhance his career – just throwing more money at him is not what will keep him at UGA. As usual, this is about more than just money – they’re offering him a new position & an advancement that I’m certain we can’t & have no reason to match at this point.

    His decision will be announced today, thank God, so soon this can be over. But at this point I’d be shocked to hear him say he’ll be in red & black next season.


  34. Heyberto

    Pollack would be an excellent motivator, but beyond that, he’d have to be molded into a coach. Love the idea, but the reality is, it probably would take a lot of work to get him where he needs to be to be something other than a grad assistant or ‘entry level’ coach.


  35. Heyberto

    I don’t know Ally.. Georgia has been very loyal to him, and Mark Richt is pretty easy to work for. With that kind of pay, Tennessee is going to have some very high expectations, and he may opt to stay out of that circus, since Kiffin is such an unknown.


  36. Macallanlover

    Jason, I didn’t say RBG wasn’t a good recruiter, or that I wanted him to leave, I said we will not see that much of a dropoff. We are the state’s flagship school, in the best conference in America, located in a recruiting hotbed, and are averaging over ten wins a year during CMR’s tenure. RG is a piece of our success, not “the piece”. UGA will be OK if he chooses to leave. I simply think all the drama associated with RG twice a year is a detriment that has to be factored into the equation. When it all nets out, CMR will realize we need to move on. RG isn’t as valuable as CSS to UGA. I understood Garner considering a return to AU if it was for a DC position. I don’t appreciate this during the climax of recruiting season for what is basically a lateral move. This is what we have paid him for, and could wait until after signing day.

    Barry, no I wouldn’t abandon a program that has been loyal to me for $165K before my job was completed. (Note to TN, I wouldn’t hire him either if he quit on someone at such a moment either.) This position with UT doesn’t have to be filled to be filled in January. I guess I have different values than some, but loyalty and pride as a professional rank pretty high with me. I walked away from a job paying me multiple times this because of philosophical differences about where the company was going so I am not making idle chat when I state these opinions. I know many feel differently, but my principles aren’t for sale. If my family had critical needs that I couldn’t satisfy, I might feel differently, but I don’t think this is what it is about. The man is our recruiting coordinator, it is an important time in that process, enough said., do your job. So you may object to my term, and may not have the same standards, but prostituting himself is the way I see it. It isn’t a significant career upgrade by conventional standards…it would be selling yourself for cash and not finishing the drill. I there are many who feel differently, but don’t assume I would do something like this if I were in his shoes because I wouldn’t.


  37. baltimore dawg

    it’s not the money per se that ut is paying that generates a wtf? moment for me: it’s that they have paid it to someone like orgeron, and not because i think he’s a buffoon. the obvious market response to competitive salary inflation is the big buy-out clause, which would be an especially powerful tool to control the salaries of people who almost all want to be head coaches. but it’s useless when you’re giving half a million dollars to someone who is not likely to ever get another sniff at a major d-i coaching job. that play is on mike hamilton, and i’m sure every ad in the sec is cussin’ his name today.

    and kiffin’s not trying to buy garner; he’s trying to buy a recruiting network.


  38. I wonder who made the first phone call.


  39. Ally

    Balt – Coach O is one of the top 3 recruiters in the country. And his Defensive Coaching abilities are stellar. He deserves every penney & UT is lucky to have him.

    Heyberto – these statements & the fact that he’s gonna decide so quickly (not giving UGA a lot of time to negotiate) make me thinks he’s gone:

    “They’re putting together quite a staff, and I hope to come to some conclusion by (Sunday) afternoon.”

    “It’s best that Coach Kiffin talk about all that, but it’s something I think could definitely enhance my career, I’m comfortable on either side of the ball.”

    Add in a $400,000 payday on top of the advancement and I think its not a leap to think he’s probably looking up the number for United Van Lines.


  40. baltimore dawg

    ally: i wasn’t making a point about o’s cost-to-value, nor did i presume to make any evaluation of his abilities. as far as i’m concerned any person “deserves” (to use your word) whatever the market bears: for orgeron, today, that’s half a mil a year and a cheap walk-away. i was talking about how this hire will have a wide detrimental effect on an ad’s ability to insist on much larger buy-outs to off-set partially the huge upward pressure on assistants’ salaries.


  41. Ally

    oh, well golly gee Balt, then I guess this statement was taken out of context???

    “….it’s that they have paid it to someone like orgeron, and not because i think he’s a buffoon.”

    My bad, I guess. LOL!


  42. Wolfman

    At least Orgeron talks so the people in Tennessee will be able to understand him.


  43. baltimore dawg

    oh, i comprehend your meaning now. i wasn’t really calling the man a buffoon, though you’re right that my earlier post lends itself to that misreading: “. . . and not because i think he’s a buffoon” means that i’m *not* expressing surprise at o’s deal *simply because* there’s a perception that he’s a moron who’s obviously being overpaid.

    i should have said “it’s that they have paid it to someone like orgeron, who is little threat anymore to leverage interest as a head coach.”

    but let’s not bicker. . . .


  44. Ally

    Looks like its a done deal. Here’s the flight conformation:

    I doubt the UT plane flew into Athens just for a friendly visit. This seems more like a planned trip to pick Rodney & Kim up and take them back to Kville for a urnge-clad presser & work tomorrow.



  45. Pingback: DawgsOnline » Da plane! Da plane!

  46. sUGArdaddy

    Travis Jones would be an excellent (and maybe down the road an improvement) choice.


  47. Porchdog

    One thing Coach Ritch does well is hiring Coaches, we have seen them leave and we have seen them replaced, he will continue to lose coaches to others because the program is one of the tops in the country. Coach Ritch is a great recruiter too, go get us a coach mark if needed.
    ” He will be a good one “