They’ll always have Athens.

Is it just me, or is there something strangely appropriate about these two stories appearing next to each other at the AJ-C sports website?

Seriously, congrats to Coach Donnan.

17 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

17 responses to “They’ll always have Athens.

  1. Ben

    I like his quote at the end re: getting the program started after probation. Is that what he calls successively declining seasons after 1997? Also, getting QC out of the LOI to Tech was one of the worst pranks the Bugs have ever pulled on us.

    I know the Goff era was rough, but those last 3 years with Donnan were pretty bad, too.

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  2. Mike In Valdosta

    I realize it puts me in the minority, but I will be forever grateful to Coach Donnan for all the talent on the Georgia Dome turf that night against Arkansas. I am also thankful to him for not taking the redshirt off of Greene in 2000.

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  3. Left to Right

    Donnan should be inducted based solely on his work in raising the tunnel screen to an art form.

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  4. heyberto

    Ben, without Coach Donnan’s recruiting, Mark Richt wouldn’t have been able to have the players to make his run at the SEC Championship in 2002. Donnan may not have been the coach to get our program where Richt has taken it, but he is definitely one heck of a great recruiter and I believe he helped us become what we are today. Without him, Richt could have had much more of an uphill battle.

    Congrats Coach Donnan!

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  5. SLH

    I recall that 10 of 11 defensive starters from that ’98 team were actually NFL starters at one point. Anyone remember Kendrell “ring my” Bell?

    Donnan did some dumb things, like send Charles Grant on an end-around vs. Tech and choose Jasper Sanks over Jamal Lewis, and some smart things such as keeping the redshirt on Greene and utilizing Robert Edwards to his fullest.

    In the end though, his Georgia legacy will be the Sanks fumble against Tech and his coddling of Quincy. What cost him his job in the end was 3 straight losses to Tech.

    He simply showed us what he could do and what he couldn’t. And what he couldn’t was win an SEC crown.

    With that said, congratulations to Coach Donnan for this award.

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  6. Donnan rode Quincy out of town, plain and simple. Yes, he was prickly and his PR skills were horrible, but he brought in talent by the truckload, and pulled our facilities out of the 70’s.

    The Hamilton fumble that wasn’t called in 98, the Sanks’ fumble against Florida in 99 and the nonfumble against Tech, Quincy’s interception in Jax. before the half and not going for the win on 4th and 1 in regulation at Auburn basically did Donnan in.

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  7. I’m hoping that I was the one who rode Quincy out of town.

    And congrats to Coach Donnan for recruiting great players…puts him on that elite level with Ron Zook.

    I will say this…I have never as embarrassed as I was the night of Auburn ’99, and never as humiliated as I was in Columbia in 2000. Here’s hoping his wise insights on ESPN earned him enough points to get him over the top. (Jesse Palmer would be thrilled.)

    For some reason, this made me think of Tony Cole… http://onlineathens.com/stories/051209/uga_438744357.shtml

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  8. Hobnail_Boot

    Donnan is still a DGD, and some of you sound like the types who wouldn’t have the cajones to say this stuff to his face.

    What a disgrace.

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  9. I know I don’t speak for all Georgia fans, or even the majority of them, but I still find it hard to harbor a lot of ill will toward Donnan. Maybe you have to have been a student at UGA in the mid-’90s to understand what a step up he was from the Goff years, in terms of both overall coaching ability and consistency. Yeah, in retrospect, going 8-4 on an annual basis was kind of dispiriting, but it beats 9-3 alternating with 4-7.

    And I will go to my grave wondering how history would be different if Quincy Carter hadn’t stuck with his original plans to go to Tech. Is it possible that we’d be nursing an 18-year win streak over Tech at this point (and that Donnan might still be the coach)?

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    • And I will go to my grave wondering how history would be different if Quincy Carter hadn’t stuck with his original plans to go to Tech. Is it possible that we’d be nursing an 18-year win streak over Tech at this point (and that Donnan might still be the coach)?

      You’d sure have to think the 2000 South Carolina game would have been vastly different.

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  10. I attended UGA during what I like to call the ‘Donnan Years’. If you’re a fan of the dawgs, you get an immediate reaction….and it’s almost always negative.

    Like I’ve read here, I’m grateful for Donnan taking UGA get out of the Goff years, for helping to upgrade our facilities and for recruiting the talent which helped Richt get UGA’s first SEC Championship in 20 years.

    But almost no one I talk to thinks it was a great (HOF worthy??!!) tenure. I compare UGA during the Donnan era as Charlie brown trying to kick the football. “This is it….here it comes….we’re FINALLY going to kick the ball and get over the hump (beat TN, FL and win). I’d get all pumped up (’98 TN game anyone?) and all but ignore the letdown that was inevitably coming….as Lucy would pull the ball just as we/UGA got there.

    It was a nice run and had it’s positives, but his time at UGA wasn’t HOF worthy. And with possibly the best UGA roster ever (2000), I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth. I guess his tenure at Marshall put him over the hump.

    Congrats Donnan.

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  11. I listened to an interview with him yesterday and he is the first to acknowledge that his downfall was not beating tech and that CMR has done an outstanding job. I like that he owns up to that and doesn’t sugar-coat things with a revisionist history framework.

    Of course he’s also the first to remind that it was his players who won the SEC in ’02 as Mike in Valdosta pointed out…but Donnan does it in a nice way. I think he just wants to be remembered as a good coach during his years in Athens.

    All that aside, this award recognizes his body of work over the course of an outstanding career. Congrats Coach!

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  12. Castleberry

    I think Donnan is HOF worthy.

    Wolfman – Do you seriously think Auburn ’99 or Tech ’00 were any worse than Bama or Florida last year?

    Donnan got us turned around in a big hurry – and PR skills be damned – he was a winner. The reasons he was out in Athens have been well covered by the other commenters. When you look at his overall record, championships at Oklahoma and Marshall, and career as a player, he’s got as strong a case as anybody else on the list.

    Mark

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    • Kind of. The games last year were against teams that were clearly elite. Auburn ’99 was a team that went 5-6, and the only team they beat (besides us) after Sept. was Central Florida. Being down 31-0 at halftime, for me, is much more embarrassing when the team is awful.

      And anyone who was in the Upside-down Cockroach that day in Columbia certainly could not forget the frustration of getting blown out by a team just off a 21-game losing streak.

      Mark, it could just be that I was in the stadium for the two losses I mentioned. But the two teams we lost to — combined with the overall insignificance of UGA football during that era — was just kind of embarrassing. Auburn and SC during that time were certainly not the Bama and Florida of last year. Maybe it’s a personal preference…

      I doubt I would have the cajones to tell Donnan to his face he’s not a DGD, but there are a few things I have difficulty forgiving him for. First, his spats with long-time DGDs (Loran Smith included) left me with a bad taste. Second, I remember as a student in 2000, Donnan looking (a group of) us in the face and telling us he was sure this was going to be a “special year.” (I guess it was, in the literal sense.) Maybe hearing him going out of his way to say in person what a great team he had made the Quincy meltdown feel even worse, especially considering it was the second greatest waste of UGA talent in my lifetime (’92 being 1st…the jury’s still out of last year).

      Finally, every time I think about the image of him on the sidelines of the Oahu Bowl wearing that Nike hat and nondescript clothes makes my blood boil. A DGD would never do that.

      I can’t say he’s not worthy of the HOF, but a DGD? I would disagree.

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      • Castleberry

        Thanks Wolfman,
        I was at those games too. In fact, a couple of yo-yos unrolled a long banner at the half of the Auburn game that read “Dooley plus Donnan = Dog Doo Doo” and starting parading it up and down the North sideline. Pretty pathetic. Somebody ran down and ripped the banner out their hands. It was definitely a bad moment for us.
        My time as a student spanned Goff and Donnan and I guess I still have a soft spot for Coach D.
        Mark

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        • I can understand that. I don’t remember the banner, but I don’t doubt it. That was an ugly time.

          My time as a student began with Donnan and ended with Richt, so I guess if I were to have a soft spot, it’d have to be for CMR.

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  13. digidy dawg

    I’ll never forget the 2000 South Carolina game. The spread was Georgia by 11. Go figure, we lose by 11. Something must have told me that we should cover that (maybe alchahol). I lost a lot of money on that game. I know I shouldn’t have, but come on man 5 interceptions in one game, and yes Donnan left him in the game. Lesson learned though. That was the last time I ever bet.

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