One thing from yesterday’s announcement about Richt’s contract extension that struck me was the coach’s statement:
“I appreciate the confidence that Greg McGarity has in the direction of our football program and how we represent the University of Georgia,” Richt said in a statement. “Our staff has an outstanding work ethic and we are committed to the development of our student-athletes on and off the field.”
Unlike when Richt discussed the last round of staff raises with the media, McGarity gets a shout-out. Of course, that’s in a prepared statement, not an off-the-cuff comment at a presser, so you wonder if it’s merely perfunctory (or maybe even prepared by somebody else to go out in Richt’s name). But at least the acknowledgement was made.
While we’re on the topic of dotting the Is and crossing the Ts, notice what McGarity had to say about the new support staff positions Georgia is currently seeking to fill. Or, more accurately, what he didn’t have to say.
The Georgia football offices in the Butts-Mehre building will be filled with more off-field assistants.
The Athletic Association is hiring for seven new positions for the program: two player relations coordinators, four quality control coordinators and a special teams analyst.
Georgia already added an additional strength staff member, giving it five total for the first time since the 2011 season.
What’s going on? Athletic director Greg McGarity referred questions to coach Mark Richt, who was on the road recruiting on Tuesday.
Not a word. Silence. Crickets. Coming from a guy who’s spent a good bit of December loudly proclaiming to anyone in the media who would pull up a chair to listen that he had control over the parameters of spending on the football program and who we know has expressed his share of skepticism about the spending race on support staffs, that’s more than a bit noteworthy. Perhaps it’s a shining example of the maxim that if you can’t think of anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.
At this point, I don’t care whether McGarity and Richt intend to dance at the weddings of each other’s kids. They don’t particularly have to like each other for the program to succeed. But they do have to recognize what’s necessary for the program to succeed and not work at cross purposes. Or air those cross purposes in public. Silence is professional.
Again, I don’t pretend to know the specifics of what’s happened behind the scene at Butts-Mehre over the past six or seven weeks. But it’s clear that the athletic administration has committed to hitching its star to Richt’s wagon. McGarity may not really be “… very pleased with the direction of our program under Mark’s leadership,” but I have to think he was given the opportunity by Morehead to say what he thought Richt’s immediate fate should be and declined to pull the plug. Once you cross that bridge, you can’t be in half way. Like it or not, if you’re McGarity, you just bought in to giving Richt what he reasonably believes he needs to succeed.
I think most of us hope that, with the commitment to resources from B-M, there’s a commitment from Richt to getting Georgia over the hump. The irony is that if Richt is being held accountable for that, McGarity has to be held accountable for his call not to replace Richt. If his faith in Richt is rewarded, I have no problem letting him share in the credit. But if the best we get after this is a continued plateau or even worse, it shouldn’t simply be Richt’s term in Athens that should be questioned. I wonder how they both feel at this point about being joined at the hip. Hopefully, they won’t tell anyone about it.
UPDATE: Here’s a timely podcast from Emerson and Estes. I think what they have to say is pretty consistent with what I’ve said here. I hadn’t considered the point Seth made about Crumley, though.