The Richt decision: the future

If I’m glum today, it’s not because Mark Richt is gone.  It’s because the same people are in place running the department.  You know, the ones who have given us this track record:

Greg McGarity has been AD since mid-August of 2010, or for roughly 5 years, 3 months, and 2 weeks. Since that time, I found that all Georgia athletics teams have won a combined FOUR SEC titles, 3 of which came in women’s swimming/diving, and THREE national championships: 2 in women’s swimming/diving and 1 in equestrian.

In the 5 years, 3 months, and 2 weeks prior to McGarity becoming AD, or from early May 2005 through mid-August 2010, Georgia athletics captured TWENTY SEC titles, and TEN national championships: 4 in gymnastics, and 3 each for men’s tennis and equestrian.

Mock those red panties if you must, but the athletic department’s performance on the field is in decline since Damon Evans was let go.

The gory details, if you want them, are outlined by vineyarddawg in this post.  It would be kind to say that McGarity’s hires are undistinguished.  And yet he’s now been given the authority to make the biggest hire of his career.

I don’t cry out for people to be fired.  It’s not my style and nobody listens to me anyway.  So I’m not about to make an exception for Greg McGarity.  What I do wonder, though, is who’s directing the athletic director.  Boosters who pound their chest and cry, “We’re Georgia!”?  Jere Morehead, who to this point has shown nothing more than a willingness to open up the checkbook without giving any real indication that he knows the best way for the money to be spent?

That’s why I’m apprehensive.

There’s been way too much chatter about Kirby Smart to be discounted at this point, and I’m not about to do so.  But ask yourself something.  If Georgia really is this premier program, this sleeping giant, that much of the fan base and the national media believes it is, is the best this program can do in its next hire a coordinator with no head coaching experience?  Wasn’t that the resume of the coach they just fired?

Don’t get me wrong.  I’ll support whoever is hired, Smart included.  He’ll be Georgia’s head coach and that’s that for me.  But for once, I would love for this program to do the unexpected and take a chance on somebody outside the conventional box.  Show me that some real thought went into the shape of the future.  Please.

Advertisements

79 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

79 responses to “The Richt decision: the future

  1. Not that we’ll ever know one way or the other, but I would be highly disappointed if I found out we never even made a phone call to Gary Patterson’s agent. Not saying he’d come, or that we’d pay what it would take to get him to come, but I’d at least make him say “No” one time.

    Like

  2. Russ

    Saw a news report somewhere last night that said Richt had a connection to Maryland because Evans is there now. The implication was that Maryland would go after Richt. Yeah, I laughed too.

    Those are pretty damning statistics on McGarity. But apparently he’s on the correct side of somebody because there doesn’t seem to be any chatter on letting him go.

    Like

    • Jared S.

      I live in Maryland and surrounded my University of Maryland Alumni (my wife is one, though she’s a huge Tarheels fan). They are THRILLED by the prospect of Richt coming to Maryland. I would be too!

      Like

      • I hope Richt lands on his feet. If he wants to continue coaching, he needs to look at some teams that begin with an M. Maryland, Miami, & even Mizzou.
        Coaching in the SEC East (at Mizzou) would be something else.

        As for as the Dawgs & Kirby Smart (TV”s Get Smart), I am afraid that the Dawgs will be getting a Will Muschamp at Florida type. A new AD would help.

        Like

    • Biggus Rickus

      I don’t particularly care whether or not they keep McGarity, but some of the criticism is a little unfair. Yoculan was a legendary coach and won nearly half of those national titles from the years preceding McGarity. He seems like a pretty standard college administrator to me, not particularly good at anything but navigating the office politics of major Universities. There are probably thousands like him around the country.

      Like

      • Chi-town Dawg

        We all agree that Yoculan was a legend, but going back to the mid-1980s when I was in school, UGA has always had a strong spring sports program. Tennis, gymnastics, baseball, swimmimg, equestrian, etc. helped carry us in the Sears Cup rankings and we were consistently in the top 5-10 of that competition. However, it would be very hard to argue that we haven’t regressed in all of these sports and the Sears Cup under McGarity’s watch (notice I didn’t use “leadership”). The only sport that’s shown some improvement is Men’s basketball and they still could be considered a disappointment with all of the local talent, but McGarity didn’t hire Mark Fox. It will be interesting to see who McGarity has lined up for the football job, but so far his communication with the team/staff and PR skills continues to leave a lot to be desired. His HC hires have been very underwhelming including the recent women’s basketball coach and none of his hires are even close to “competing for championships”. As much as I love CMR, it was time for a change, but I also wish Morehead would’ve cleaned house at B-M and let a new AD make the hiring call. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and wishing on a prayer that we don’t take 3 steps backward with the next HC.

        Like

      • UGA85

        Thank you. Are there questions about McGarity’s ethics? His morals? His loyalty to UGA? No. He has been in place for five years. Yoculan retired from an otherwise underachieving athletic program at UGA. Did you just want him to come in and fire everyone right away? No, it takes time to build up trust and relationships. These past five years aren’t enough time to judge an AD, and I expect progress over the next five.

        Like

        • Chi-town Dawg

          Were there questions about Richt’s ethics, morals or loyalty to Georgia? No, but it was time for a change. Nowhere did I say McGarity should “fire everyone right away”, but I don’t believe the overall program is better off today than when he was hired. I also would argue five years is certainly long enough to form an opinion with 15-20 sports a year to assess an AD’s performance especially when his biggest hire (baseball) has failed miserably putting us further behind other SEC teams in this sport. Setting performance aside, If you don’t have any issues with his handling of everything from Gurley gate, to the AJC interview to the countless other PR missteps (including today’s press conference), then there’s nothing anyone can say to convince you he’s not a great AD who deserves at least 5 more years. I’m not as convinced and expect better leadership from the CEO of a $150M organization/private company. I also suggest you read the “Fire McGarity Now” story linked in the above article for more insight beyond just my opinion.

          Like

          • UGA85

            I understand feelings about McGarity are strong and polarizing and that we have different opinions. I strongly prefer him to Damon Evans, by the way. I think this is his first major hire as AD and it seems fair to give him a chance. Five years, again, without a hire in a major, money-winning sport is not a long enough track record for me to jump on the “Fire McGarity” bandwagon. I can appreciate how those of us, like myself, who were ready for CMR to go would feel very differently about McGarity than those who wanted CMR to stay.

            Like

            • Why don’t McGarity’s other hires matter? Is he expected to be competent only when there’s profit at stake?

              Like

              • UGA85

                The hires that define an AD at a school like UGA, IMO, would be the football coach and (to a lesser extent) the men’s basketball coach. Like Spurrier did at UF, the right football coach can set the tone for the whole department, along with Donovan later. Winning championships is contagious, especially when it starts with the highest profile sports. The questions about McGarity, IMO, have not been answered until we have seen how this hire turns out.

                Like

            • SoccerDawg

              If we are demanding excellence, the McGarity fails more than Richt did.

              Like

  3. Since most of us can only speculate, I’ll play along and suggest that perhaps the reason Herman allegedly backed off the Carolina job was because his people heard that the UGA job was going to come open. I, for one, would be pleased if he were the choice.

    Like

    • I agree, I know he doesn’t have a ton of experience but he does have HC experience. That is worth something to me.

      Like

      • Russ

        I think Herman may be a good hire, too.

        Of course, we’d have to fire him since his team did a face plant against Connecticut when they had a shot at a New Year’s bowl.

        Like

  4. Bright Idea

    I wish I had written that Senator, Spot on post!

    Like

  5. TomReagan

    I’d give David Shaw whatever he wants.

    If he still turns us down then I’d do the same for Pay Fitzgerald.

    Like

    • dawgman3000

      I agree %100 on reaching out to David Shaw, although I think he is happy at Stanford. Wouldn’t mind gauging Pat Fitzgerald’s interest either. What I don’t like is all of this Kirby Smart talk. I am one who thought it was time to move on from CMR, but not for Kirby Smart.

      Like

  6. wetdawg

    Would it be wise to find the perfect guy for the job, no matter where he is and what his situation is and just keep throwing money at him until he relents?

    Like

  7. JasonC

    I don’t know if it’s because I read your blog and you influence me, but the 3 post you just did on the Past, Present and Future pretty much hit the nail on the head for me.

    Like

    • Dog in Fla

      That reminds of a General Patton parable in three parts:

      `I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone.’

      Like

  8. Rick

    No, Senator, that was not the resume of the coach we just fired.

    Smart is a coordinator at a school where the head coach is one of the world’s best at the side of the ball he coordinates. Mark Richt’s resume in 2001 was far better than Smart’s for that reason. Similar results, but no question who those results were attributable to.

    But, more importantly: it would be absolutely insane to fire the Mark Richt that has a short and long term track record of winning 70% of his SEC games for the 2001 Mark Richt who had never been a head coach.

    You fire 2015 Mark Richt because you have Chip Kelly or Pete Caroll in the bag, because he is one of the most consistently successful coaches ever fired without physically assaulting someone. If we hire Smart, who could have been hired by any one of 30 programs for the last 4 years, we will rightfully be the laughingstock of the nation.

    Like

    • Jared S.

      Kelly and Caroll are really really poor examples. Those guys are goobers. I do NOT want UGA to hire a “proven” douche winner.

      Like

      • Rick

        OK, I have no idea or opinion of that stuff. You are welcome to fill in the blanks with X and Y proven winners of your choice. Basically I’m saying you do it if you are 2006 Bama with Saban on the way or 2014 Michigan with Harbaugh.

        Like

  9. Will (The Other One)

    Kirby, much like Richt back in 2001, would really depend on who he picks as coordinators. Keeping Pruitt and bringing in Helton from WKU? I could get pretty excited about Smart.
    If he brings Napier from Bama as his OC, and Muschamp as his DC? Well, Mullen looks a lot better than that. And I really don’t want Mullen.

    Like

    • Chi-town Dawg

      If memory serves me correctly, Richt didn’t hire an OC and actually handled that role himself for the first few years in Athens before handing it off to Bobo who was the QB coach. I agree the Van Gorder fire as DC was huge.

      Like

  10. TennesseeDawg

    is the best this program can do in its next hire a coordinator with no head coaching experience?

    Exactly

    Like

  11. Normaltown Mike

    I’m apprehensive as well, but it’s worth noting that GM fired legendary & under-performing coach Andy Landers, he fired under-performing and well-liked Jay Clark and under-performing but well-liked David Perno.

    As to the championships, Courtney Kupets was the Herschel Walker/Cam Newton/Tim Tivo of gymnastics and was the reason we won a championship in each of Suzanne’s final 4 seasons.

    Like

    • Who recruited her? Suzanne, who was the Bear Bryant of her sport. Her hand-picked successor was a flop (or a fall, if that’s more appropriate). She didn’t win those championships by herself. Those Gym Dogs teams were deep and talented. She was the straw that stirred the drink.

      Like

      • Normaltown Mike

        We’re talking about GM’s failure as AD, right?

        If he’s to blame for gymnastics failures, I’m missing it

        Like

        • Mike, I misunderstood your comment. I thought you were making a point that Kupets was the only reason we won those championships. Sorry about that.

          He is to blame for what the gymnastics program has become – boatraced by Alabama and Florida in particular and LSU and Auburn to a degree.

          Like

    • Napoleon BonerFart

      So, McGarity’s should be respected not because he’s made good hires, but because he’s made significant fires? Hokay …

      Like

  12. Merk

    If McGarity made this decision to fire Richt before November, then he better have a damn good list made. If we get some kind of crap like hiring Dan Mullen, this will be an epic failure. While UGA does have slightly less competition (East schedule vs West Schedule) and better access to recruits, I am not sure that Mullen would be able to do anything more than simply match Richt’s average of 9-10 wins a year with an occasional 11 win season.

    I get that Richt made his bed with the Schotty hire, but it would have made more sense to me to fire Schotty and give Richt 1 more shot at getting an OC. I mean Pruitt was clearly on the upswing, the 2016 recruiting class was looking very promising, and we may have underachieved, but 9-3 is still as good or better record than most of the rest of the SEC. The fact that 2 of the loses came after losing the guy who made up over 50% of our Offensive production cannot be ignored.

    Like

    • Biggus Rickus

      The toothpaste’s out of the tube. There’s no point arguing why they should keep Richt at this point. I think they have a target, and he may already be committed. I expect most people who wanted to keep Richt will be upset with whoever they chose unless he’s one of those unattainable dream candidates like Patterson.

      Like

      • Normaltown Mike

        “I think they have a target, and he may already be committed”

        Like I said yesterday…tune in tonight to Monday Night Football and see if Gruden is there.

        Like

        • do not resuscitate

          Seriously? I just do not get the whole Gruden love that every fanbase tosses out when hiring. The man hasn’t coached in 5+ years, and was never a college coach, so why does he fit the bill?

          I have no idea who UGA will get as its next coach, but I firmly believe that Gruden is not the answer.

          Like

    • Jared S.

      I too tend to think that Mullen would = Epic Failure. I don’t know why he’s listed as a serious candidate. I hope he’s not. I’d rather roll the dice on Smart than on Mullen.

      Like

  13. simpl_matter

    #FireGregMcGarity
    Let’s get this thing trending.

    Like

  14. “But for once, I would love for this program to do the unexpected and take a chance on somebody outside the conventional box. Show me that some real thought went into the shape of the future. Please.”

    The thing is, sentator, I don’t think I want to be head coach at UGA. But I do appreciate the support.

    Moar seriously, who is your fantastical “outside the box” hire, or do you have one? I know Elkon’s is Chip Kelly. I don’t see this admin going down that road in a million tries at this.

    Like

    • Napoleon BonerFart

      I agree. Chip Kelly has a history of NCAA violations. And not just butt-dialing a recruit. I don’t see B-M bringing in a known bad boy like that unless the culture has completely changed, which I haven’t seen evidence of.

      Like

  15. Columbus Dawg

    The UGA Football Program has not had an ample defense in all of Mark Richt’s tenure except for the first few years with Van Gorder. There are many in the Dawg Nation, me included, that are willing to go the defensive head coach rather than the offensive head coach for simply this reason. The importance of great defense will be on display during the playoffs, as teams like Clemson, (at #1, give me a break), will NOT beat the likes of Bama’s D. Defense is the key to championships.

    Like

    • Dave

      Allow will muschamp to retort. FWIW, I agree with the gist of what you are saying, but part of Sabans genius is spotting good O coordinators. Yeah, Lane was a disaster at head coach, but the guy can scheme an offense. For whatever reason, Sabans offenses do pretty well, even as far back as LSU. A defensive coach with no offense will lead to disaster because the game strategically favors the offense now. You simply have to be able to score even if your defense is playing well (see mizzou and candy this year). That said, yes, Saban is a defensive wizard, and this is one of his best, which should be fun to watch in the upcoming games,

      Like

  16. Some folks with mega $$$$ are really tired of their friends in neighboring states gloating over Bama and Fla football. So they persuade the AD to fire Richt. Now who are they going to persuade him to hire.
    Bye the way Carroll left USCw in one hell of a mess. Age also.
    Think about coming from Bama to UGA. Saban and staff has carte blanche at Bama. Would be rude shock to come to UGA. Living here in Alabama the first thing that comes to mind when UA is mentioned—football. Not the first thing that comes to mind for UGA. Now if certain boosters want that, open the wallets, call off all restrictions in current policies, and become Bama.

    Like

    • Napoleon BonerFart

      I agree. I’ll believe the Georgia Way is being changed when I see UGA’s drug policy changed, rather than us whining to the SEC that the other schools should be forced to adopt our strict policy. Also, rather than pat ourselves on the back because we hired three more staffers, we’ll actually hire something comparable to the army that Bama has.

      And I don’t see any of that happening. It’s easier to fire the head coach, hire a search firm, and send out a press release about what we “demand.”

      Like

  17. Go Dawgs!

    The giant’s not sleeping. It’s awake. It can do more than it’s been doing, but I don’t know that it can do THAT much more.

    Like

  18. dudemankind

    Mcgarity should get a Uhaul, fill it full of money, and back it up to Pete Carroll’s house. It worked for Bama with Saban.

    Like

  19. GM better have a home run hire in place, but I don’t think he has that in him. He’s now squinting over spreadsheets trying to figure out how he can pay the buyouts and find a coaching staff on the cheap, so his precious reserve fund doesn’t go down.

    There’s no way he has it in him to “go big or go home.”

    Like

  20. pumblechook014

    “What I do wonder, though, is who’s directing the athletic director. Boosters who pound their chest and cry, “We’re Georgia!”? Jere Morehead, who to this point has shown nothing more than a willingness to open up the checkbook without giving any real indication that he knows the best way for the money to be spent?”

    C’mon Senator, you already know the answer to that… It’s always the money. I’m not one of those paranoid enough to believe that all big decisions are made by the big boosters, but when they cry loud enough, something is bound to happen.

    This isn’t a well thought out decision by competent, forward-looking administrators. It is a reactionary one catapulted by the big money. McGarity and Morehead committed to Richt when they opened up the checkbook this past offseason, so if anything they had a pretty big incentive to keep him and help him succeed.

    Like

  21. mountaindawg

    no one is discussing Coach Shaw from Stanford. In my humble opinion, getting him at UGA would be like winning the lottery in the coaching pool. He coaches SEC style football, and he wins. Give him SEC caliber athletes and the sky would be the limit. He also brings the “class” factor that Coach Richt has. Again, he brings the entire package of what the split UGA fanbase wants right now.

    Like

    • After the initial shock from yesterday’s decision, I thought Shaw was the man I would go after. He may say no because of the expectations, but I would make it very difficult for him to say no.

      Like

  22. rchris

    Awesome post. But if McGarity hits a homerun on the football hire, it vaults him ahead of the red panties in spite of all the other failures.

    Like

  23. Bro Tereshinski III

    I’ll try to make my thoughts brief, I will likely fail in this endeavor…

    College football is about money, it is not about molding young men. Instilling life lessons doesn’t pay the bills. Developing character doesn’t pad the reserve fund. When “teaching your players to be good people” gets in the way of monetary gain, the best college football programs stop teaching their players to be good people. (e.g., Meyer, Urban; Fisher, Jimbo). “Personal development” only matters to the extent it allows athletic departments to keep a straight face when insisting that the athletes putting their health and well-being on the line shouldn’t be paid for doing so.

    College football is about money, it is not about winning. If winning were the point, Georgia Tech would have folded its program a long time ago. If winning were the point, there would be no Sun Belt schools limping to 3-9 records just to collect a paycheck for playing cupcake to an SEC opponent.
    If winning were the point, Mark Richt would still be employed by the University of Georgia. Winning only matters to the extent it keeps donors donating, boosters boosting, and increases the earnings a school can attain from bowl payouts, merchandise sales, and conference TV deals.

    College football, especially at the FBS level, especially in the SEC, is about the almighty dollar. As much as we like to puff out our chests and insist “UGA is different” or “we do things the right way,” the cold, hard truth of the matter is this: every decision the athletic department makes is done with an eye towards revenue generation.

    The decision to fire Coach Richt was not due to his win-loss record. Coach Richt was fired because the athletic department felt that, had he stayed on, there would be less money coming in. Did the Don Leeburns of the world say “my donation goes down if you don’t fire him”? I don’t know, but that may have played a role. Did Butts-Mehre realize “hey, we make a lot more money going to the Sugar Bowl than we do going to Shreveport”? Perhaps. Somehow, some way, the calculus was done and the answer was that moving on from Coach Richt was the best way to keep the money spigots on.

    Am I sad that UGA fired Coach Richt? Yes. It’s always sad when someone loses a job. It’s especially sad when the person losing their job is a nice, honorable person. I feel bad for him, I feel bad for his family, and I feel bad for the coaches and assistants on his staff that are also out of jobs.

    Am I mad that UGA fired Coach Richt? No. I am not going to delude myself into thinking that UGA is somehow above the base motivations that drive the rest of major college football. The athletic department felt change was necessary and felt that the risk of a new coach outweighed the stale certainty of the current one. I’ll miss Coach Richt, but I am not going to fault UGA for making a financial decision.

    Like

  24. Kirby Smart, a coordinator just like CMR was before he became top dawg, and the same age.
    UGA has always gone for a former quarterback for HC- Butts, Griffin, Dooley, Goff, Donnan and Richt. I would love to see a former DC get the job.

    Like

  25. Thatguy

    What about Josh McDaniels. I know it’s way out there but he gets it done with a great qb and mostly plug and play players. He could retain Pruitt. I know nothing about the man other than what I’ve seen with the Pats but I think he could be special and he’s got a hell of a mentor

    Like

    • Thatguy

      He also studied under the best pro coach and the best college coach in the last 20 years. He benched Brandon Marshall for discipline reasons and wouldn’t view the tape brought to him, so he’s got some scruples.

      Like

    • Napoleon BonerFart

      Another NFL coordinator that failed as a HC? What could go wrong?

      Like

      • Thatguy

        I’d much rather have him than any of the other serious names being attached to the job. Other Than Saban, Meyer and Bellicheck who would be a home run hire? Dabo is richt 2.0. Fisher is an ass hat. Stanford coach ain’t coming. I may be wrong but PLAYERS win games, coaches lose them.

        Like