As we know, the lack of an indoor practice facility has become a flashpoint for Georgia coaches, who believe they really, really need one to keep up with the Butch Joneses of the SEC. (Tennessee has one. Heck, so does Georgia Tech.) Here was McGarity’s take:
“Georgia spent $33 million on the addition (to Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall) that was completed in 2010. (McGarity started as AD in September of that year.) That was four years ago. That would have been the perfect time, if the emphasis was on an indoor building, to do it. That had been on the drawing board since 1999 and 2000 – that never got off the ground. I come in and I’m moving into a brand new building and the indoor facility was not on the radar.
“Let’s fast-forward to 2013, to where it does become important. The first thing we do is talk about it; we have an allocation for the research for our athletic board, which was granted; we’ve selected an architect; we’re in the programming stage right now. When we meet with our board in February, we should have more information on cost and location so we can start the fund-raising.
“Once it was identified as being really, really important — I don’t know how important it was in 2009 or ’10, but if it had been that important, it would have been done at that time – so while it wasn’t that important and we played football outside and that’s the elements we need … (pause) … things change. We react to that.
“There’s a couple of other things that Mark really wants to do that just came to our attention like renovating the football locker room at the stadium and creating a recruiting room in the stadium. Well, once he made me aware of those two things, they were automatically put on our radar. But a lot of times it’s got to be the coach expressing to us what’s important. My question to coaches is, ‘What can I do to help you?’ And if I don’t know about it, I can’t predict what they want in that vein.”
And now, if you’re asking: “Do you, having spoken with McGarity for half and hour, feel that the rumors of a growing tension within the athletic department are overstated?”, the answer is …
No. I do not.
Bradley is going to force me into doing something I don’t ordinarily do, damn it – defend Butts-Mehre on the spending front.
The reality is that an IPF wasn’t a priority for Richt for some time and it really wasn’t much of an issue for the program. That being the case, there were better places for the AD to spend department resources. Times change. More money rolling in to the SEC has led to arms races all over the map, including facilities, and things like IPFs have become issues on the recruiting trail. McGarity may be fiscally prudent/frugal, but he will listen to complaints that might affect the money flow.
As for Bradley’s rumors, anybody with half a brain who heard Pruitt’s public complaining a month ago would have realized back then that there was “tension” in the athletic department over spending. That it’s taken this long for him to catch that… well, how much of his brain does that mean Bradley uses?