Reading the S&C tea leaves

Interesting list Marc Weiszer managed to compile here.

Georgia hired Mark Hocke from Alabama’s strength staff as its new director of strength and conditioning.

Who else was in the mix for the job?

There were 25 applicants for the position, according to information provided by Georgia under an open records request.

Among those who applied: Tennssee Titans assistant strength coach Jason Novak, Stanford director of sports performance Shannon Turley, current Georgia strength staff members John Thomas and Sherman Armstrong and some current and former college and NFL head strength coaches.

What does that tell us?  A few things:

  • Georgia is an attractive destination for coaches.  When you’ve got current big timers like Turley and other current or former head strength coaches applying for a job, that says something about the opportunity.
  • Georgia didn’t care about the criteria it established for the hire.  This wasn’t a case where the school didn’t have the option of bringing someone on board with plenty of experience being in charge of a big time strength program.  For one reason or another, Georgia simply chose to go in a different direction.
  • The mystery is in the why.  Was Hocke chosen because he brings something unique to the table?  Maybe – again, there’s little doubt that there are several coaches on the staff who could speak for him.  (Although note that another former Alabama assistant strength coach in Ryan Davis was passed over.)  Was Hocke chosen because he was affordable?  Maybe.  I don’t doubt he would have come cheaper than Turley or some of the NFL guys.  But I also doubt he was the cheapest name on Weiszer’s list.  Maybe the answer lies in some combination of both.
  • What’s going to happen with the existing staff?  There’s your $64,000 question.  Does Hocke revamp or even get to add on to who’s already there?  How awkward is it going to be with Thomas and Armstrong?

Like I said yesterday, what’s going to be interesting, aside from whatever fresh perspective Hocke brings to Athens, is whether there’s anything else in the budget to enhance Georgia’s strength and conditioning staff.  I’ve got no idea – I doubt anyone does, except for McGarity and Richt, and they aren’t saying – but it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.



Filed under Georgia Football

27 responses to “Reading the S&C tea leaves

  1. At the risk of sounding tedious about this; Turley applied but they didn’t hire him? What the hell? If it was because he was asking for a lot then this is bullshit, and the UGAAA’s cheapness is starting to seriously hurt the program. If it’s because Hocke brought something new to the table then so be it. Maybe the guy is an innovator and this will all be moot next year, but Turley has a proven track record with less talented athletes than what Georgia has.


    • Maybe Turley applied to get a pay raise at Stanford but really did not want the job.


    • Will (The Other One)

      Yeah, I don’t get that at all. Short of getting someone off Chip’s Eagles staff, Turley was the dream hire and…we go with a Bama assistant? The guy who starts with nothing but 4- and 5-star All-Americans?


    • Keese

      UGA wouldn’t come to terms with what Turley was asking for…which is how you wind up with a HS coach 6 year removed/assistant SC coach at Bama with a business degree leading our program now. Hocke may be a great hire, but there was a lot of discord and frustration in the football program (including Richt) leading up to the hire


  2. I just read the list and saw that Jeff Fish was one of the applicants too. He did a great job of keeping the Falcons healthy until he was inexplicably fired 2 years ago and Atlanta has resembled the 29th Infantry Division on D Day since.


  3. Hogbody Spradlin

    How many people currently staff strength and conditioning? I noted, from a story about Hocke, that he was 1 of 9 assistants at Bama. That figures.


    • The difference between Alabama and UGA is not as dramatic as 9 versus 3. Alabama has S&C accounted for as a separate department and it provides S & C to all sports. UGA has S & C personnel under the umbrella of the sports that each coach services. Thus, men’s basketball had S & C personnel dedicated to it and those folks are considered a part of the basketball staff. The gymnastics S& C staff and women’s bb staff are found under those programs.

      It Alabama some of those 9 do mbb and not football, some do track and not football, etc.


      • Hogbody Spradlin

        I see what you mean. Though it still fits the caricature of nothing too extravagant for the Glorious University of Aladamnbama Tahd Football.


  4. Spike

    I hope they retain Sherman Armstrong!!


  5. South FL Dawg

    If what’s important is bringing something new to the table, why is McGarity and Company still in charge? Talk about a drop in a bucket….


  6. Hank

    If I were a betting man, I would say a recommendation from Pruitt may have thrown some weight.


    • Macallanlover

      That is my bet as well. Hiring personnel that you have never worked closely with is always a crapshoot, this hire is all about Richt’s confidence in Pruitt’s assessment of someone he has personally seen in action, up close and personal, and respects. You always have to be fearful of how short-sided McFrugal is but, as the Senator noted, you could have always gone cheaper so it isn’t just about money. I see Pruitt’s fingerprints all over this decision although the lack of financial commitment probably limited the pool of candidates to the mid-level.

      I hate it, but as long as McFrugal is retained we will always have doubts about any decision coming out of BM. We are so close to this being the program we all want it to be but the hire of this puppet from Florida may be THE decision that prevents UGA from getting it done. Until the Board of Trustees intervenes and gets a real leader in this key position, UGA is swimming upstream and having to overcome obstacles.


  7. LewDawg

    Jeremy had a lot of say in the hiring of the S&C and I trust his input. He is totally about winning and has that burn to win that I don’t see with Richt and McGarity. Our AD is all about being cheap and the “Georgia Way” which is being cheap as noted with his comment that “what other programs do has no bearing on how we will run our business or program”. The “Georgia Way” is about being a bunch of nice guys, see Gurley situation and how that was handled by our great leadership team, and talk about championships with fancy slogans and promotions and “being in contention”. The “Gergia Way” is being selling the hype and “talk” championships to keep people buying tickets and putting money in the bank.
    If we truly want to win championships, not just talking about it, then you are going to have to compete with the big boys and play the game in paying coaches and give them whatever they need to compete. If Texas A&M has indeed offered JP 1.8 million to be their defensive coordinator do you really think McGarity and the accountants at BM are going to pay that kind of money to compete?
    Our AD made no attempt to keep Bobo and actually penalized him for being loyal to UGA by paying him the salary he was making instead of rewarding him with salary that JP had received. We better watch out with Auburn coming after Tracy Rocker as their defensive line coach. That’s probably next situation we have to deal with soon.
    If the guy at Stanford was the best qualified person for the S&C position then we should have offered him top dollar and gotten the man.
    All I’m saying is that if you want to run with the big dogs then you have to get off the porch.


    • PatinDC

      Agreed about Rocker. I have concerns that he is next.


    • Anon

      Bobos decision wasn’t about the georgia way, Colorado state had a head coaching vacancy and was able to nearly triple his salary. We had neither option.


    • Normaltown Mike

      “Our AD made no attempt to keep Bobo and actually penalized him for being loyal to UGA by paying him the salary he was making instead of rewarding him with salary that JP had receive”

      McGarity doubled his salary less than 2 years ago as OC. CSU is offering to triple that and make him the Head Coaching Position (which is above the OC). What exactly would Georgia offer to compete with those two criteria?


  8. @gatriguy

    I find the fact that Turley was interested and not forced to say no an ominous sign.


  9. Cousin Eddie

    McG better wake up. Bobo left for a HC job, was bound to happen but, with the image that McG did nothing to try and change his mind.
    Pruitt is here and his good friend Coach Friend is here, and might leave for CSU per rumors for a lateral move (at best). Pruitt most likely got the S&C guy he wanted as they are familiar with each other. Now A&M offers Pruitt SEC west money and if Pruitt leaves without a counter offer McG will look like a true buffoon.
    Then the rumors of Rocker possibly leaving for the barn, most likely for more money also without an offer from McG to stay or at least a public statement being dropped about an offer when/if it happens.
    I would expect McG to be put on double secret probation. He would be in trouble anywhere else in the SEC but I feel the Athletic Association will be happy with the money they saved.


  10. AusDawg85

    I’d swear Saban has infiltrated UGAAD. I mean, we are on the schedule next year…why wouldn’t he? Worked for us at Florida.


  11. W Cobb Dawg

    JT2 retired on something like 12/1. Then we had the job opening announcement, application process, and selection announcement completed in the span of 3 weeks! Somehow I find it difficult to believe we did a nationwide search for the ‘best applicant’, performed a thorough selection process, background checks, etc. in that timeframe. To me, the 3 week timeframe infers we knew who we wanted and were just going through the motions of a search.


    • Macallanlover

      Probably right, at least to the degree we knew who we were targeting, but why mislabel the qualifications to something that didn’t fit him? Makes McFrugal’s admin look even dumber.


      • W Cobb Dawg

        I’m just speculating. And you make a valid point about the criteria. If my guess is correct, I can only assume we had boilerplate qualification criteria in-hand and didn’t want to bother with adjusting it. Heck, last time they picked JT2 – with essentially no qualifications for the job, and nobody could really argue with CMR/BM about it. It’s not as if management has to explain or justify the selection to anyone – they can pick whoever the heck they please.


  12. A10Penny

    So, possibly the best S&C coach in the county applied and we hired…a guy from Alabama.

    So what if Turley cost $400,000/year. Imagine 2013 with one less ACL tear on offense. Or 2014 with a SINGLE healthy player among Marshal, JSW, or Mitchell (or Rumph)!

    Not to mention there would be positive buzz about the program to offset the angst over losing CMB.

    I assume that B-M blew this call. Yeah, they (and Richt) hit a home run with CJP, but a history of under-paying coaches leads me to believe the worst. I hope we hear “the rest of the story”, and that Hocke is better than his resume.