If you watched any of the Iron Bowl broadcast this past Saturday, as I did, you might have noticed a discussion Gary and Verne had about the number of staffers Alabama had up in the coaches booth. Lundquist was certain it was fifteen and damned if it didn’t look like it when the CBS camera panned the booth. That room was crowded.
I mention this story not in a fit of jealousy, nor to condemn another program’s wasteful spending. Rather, it’s a perfect example of what the Georgia Way is up against. Regardless of where you think Richt falls on the performance spectrum, you cannot deny that for the bulk of his time in Athens, he was not allowed the resources to duke it out with Georgia’s main rivals.
Forget about the IPF. Georgia was one of the last schools to give out multi-year contracts to assistant coaches. (Ironically, the administration got away with that because of staff loyalty to Richt.) Saban bulks up support staff; Richt is forced to come out of his own pocket to pay bonuses to his assistants. Georgia’s recruiting budget was far short of what other conference schools were allocating until this year.
If you manage an SEC football program, there’s a difference between being committed to winning and being financially committed to winning. Everybody wants to win. The hard part is figuring out how to allocate resources to make sure that happens. And, no, that doesn’t mean spending money like a drunken sailor. (We’re looking at you, Tennessee.) It simply means that if you think your rightful place is among the Alabamas, Floridas and LSUs of the world, you’d better take a hard look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re giving your coaching staff the opportunity to keep up with them.
Are things on a better track now? Hard to say. Yes, spending on certain things has crept up, but look what it took to get B-M’s collective head out of its ass. And the jury is still out on whether the increase is being spent wisely.
What do I mean by that? Georgia is letting coaches go who just received major raises and extensions (as well as Schottenheimer’s big deal, which was a huge bump up from what Bobo was getting) less than a year ago. It’s in the wake of a disappointing 9-3 regular season, to be sure, but 9-3 is a long way away from unexpectedly awful. If the firing of Richt is the result of an accumulation of flaws that he was unable to overcome, how come that didn’t slow the administration down when the new deals were made?
That’s not to say that either decision on its own can’t be justified. But taken together, it’s not a sign of an organization that goes through enough serious consideration before making major decisions. You tell me if that’s changed in the last month.