Picking up the check

It’s not exactly a shock that Georgia’s on the hook for a fair amount of change with the dismissal of Mark Richt and his staff.  $6.2 million is the cost of doing business in today’s SEC.

The fun occurs when you break down that number.  Particularly with one Jeremy Pruitt.

UGA’s employment agreements with assistant coaches call for them to be paid through June 30 of the current year unless they have a multiyear agreement. Georgia then agrees to make up the difference if the coaches’ new jobs pay less…

… Pruitt, who is now defensive coordinator at Alabama, had two years remaining on their three-year contracts. So their monies will be paid over the remaining term, according to Andy Platt, the athletic association’s chief financial officer. That’s … $600,000 total for Pruitt, records show.

But wait, you say.  Jeremy Pruitt’s gone to work for the Rolls Royce of college football programs, in the same position he occupied at Georgia.  How is it possible that Georgia owes him money?

Likewise, it appears Pruitt is scheduled to make $1 million a year as Alabama’s new defensive coordinator. He succeeds Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, who made $1.5 million last year in the same role for the Crimson Tide. Pruitt made $1.3 million as the Bulldogs’ defensive coordinator last season.

Pruitt took a pay cut to work for Saban, except it’s not really a pay cut, thanks to the generosity of Greg McGarity.  I bet Pruitt smiles every time that deposit shows up in his checking account.

Hell, I’m a little surprised he didn’t agree to work for less.

68 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

68 responses to “Picking up the check

  1. Timphd

    Boy do I want to know the scoop on last year’s coaching staff and how much of the dysfunction was actually on Pruitt’s part! He keeps getting high profile jobs, and Saban is no fool and wouldn’t hire someone who was going to be divisive to his staff, so I have to wonder if all the rumors of Pruitt being the straw to stir the cesspool are true. It seems though that Kirby couldn’t wait to move on without him. Or was that on McGarity? Will be fun to watch Bama’s defense next season either way. One can hope that it will be entertaining.

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    • He keeps getting high profile jobs…

      Yes, he’s on his third one in four years. Maybe that should tell you something.

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      • Atticus

        What it tells you is he can coach. He COMPLETELY changed the pathetic recruiting culture and roster management that Richt had allowed prior to Pruitt coming in.

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        • I never questioned his coaching abilities.

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          • Siskey

            Senator, have you read the Saban book by Monte Burke? I think that it may offer some incite as to why he is able to take someone like Kiffen and to a lesser degree Pruitt. There is also a paragraph or so about Kirby that when taken together with what you learn about Saban over the course of the book makes me more excited for his future in Athens.

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        • PTC DAWG

          Recruiting numbers were headed back up before Pruitt was hired…

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      • dawgtired

        The move from FSU to UGA is understandable. ACC to SEC. Plus I believe he really did want to work with CMR…AND, UGA has the potential with it’s facilities/campus and talent-rich state. He most likely felt his influence would push UGA over the hump.

        Leaving UGA for Bama apparently wasn’t his plan…originally.

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      • The Nelson Puppet

        I wouldn’t put anything past those real-life Snopes characters Rush Propst and Jeremy Pruitt. I think those two sized Richt up as an amiable gentle dunce and connived to get Pruitt on the UGA staff for the express purpose of seizing the head coaching position. Propst is so morally radioactive, the only places he’ll ever be able to coach football is in back-of-beyond Southern high schools where the populace doesn’t care if you have three wives so long as you deliver a state title. If Pruitt had succeeded, you can bet Propst would have brought his sister wives with him to Athens.

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        • Jared S.

          Strangest post of the day. “If Pruitt had succeeded” is a moot hypothetical…. There’s no way in hell ADGM would ever have let him be head coach. Pruitt’s days at UGA were numbered even if Richt had been retained. It was never a question of if but when Pruitt would leave.

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    • Bulldawg Bill

      In that same vein, consider what a “wild child” Lane Kiffin was! Looks like he’s turned out pretty well at ‘bama. Logically, IF Pruitt was the problem, it was because the other staff members made him so.

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      • Normaltown Mike

        Pruitt, like Kiffin, might be good coaches. But there interpersonal skills are highly questionable and in the case of Lame, there are serious questions about his judgment when he’s off the clock.

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      • Ben

        Buddy, Kiffin is getting away with so much up there. The “Joey Freshwater” stuff isn’t made up, it’s just that nothing sticks at a program where everyone is winning and others are, um, complicit?

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  2. JCDAWG83

    Richt never signed his contract. I’d tell him to stick it where the sun don’t shine and sue me if he thought he had any money coming.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      I believe you would. However, you would likewise gain a reputation among coaches’ agents that would affect your ability to sell UGA in the coaching market.

      Your hardball tactic may result in a court ruling that the previous signed contract terms bound UGA, which would have entitled Richt to a buyout, too. IIRC the negotiated but unsigned contract reduced the buyout percentage.

      The high road is almost always preferable to the low road in labor relations.

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      • JCDAWG83

        I guess I’m one of those who believe contracts have meaning. I would have a reputation among coaches’ agents as someone who stood by the terms of the contract. If the coach or his agent had a problem with that, I’m not sure I’d want them as my coach to start with.

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        • You do realize that you don’t need to have a physically signed piece of paper for a contract to exist, right?

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          • PTC DAWG

            In Real Estate we call an unsigned contract legal, but enforceable in a Court of Law…in this case, I think the High Road was the best for all parties, UGA included.

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            • Agreed – it’s been awhile since I studied contract law and I’m definitely no lawyer by trade, but I’m pretty sure as long as all the elements of a contract exist (i.e. offer , acceptance, consideration, etc.) you have an implicit contract that is enforceable.

              I think Bulldog Joe hit the nail on the head that the likely reason it wasn’t signed was because both Richt and McGarity preferred the elements in dispute not be available in the public forum, but they both knew that the elements they had negotiated were going to be honored.

              For some folks around here – firing Richt wasn’t good enough, they want blood. As the Senator has been posting, Richt was at the helm of Georgia football for 15 years it’s impossible to separate him from the conversation of Georgia football. However, the pettiness of some around here amuses me.

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        • Gaskilldawg

          If your position is that the negotiated contract has no effect because Richt never signed it then the existing contract would remain in effect. You would refuse to pay him the buyout specified in that contract?

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        • Napoleon BonerFart

          Right. Better to have a 2-star coach who would gladly pay us to coach between the hedges than some high-fallutin’ dude who just wins a lot but doesn’t fully appreciate how much hedges mean to some of us rednecks.

          That’s why our next coaching search should focus exclusively on Georgia high school coaches.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      I don’t believe Greg wanted the details of why the contract wasn’t done to be rehashed in a public forum, nor did he want to take on the additional expenses of arbitration or legal action.

      Once it was clear Coach Richt wasn’t going to return, the disputed items became moot anyway.

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    • HVL Dawg

      Richt had a contract in force. Call it the old contract. You can be sure it had a termination clause.

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    • rchris

      Also half the fan base is still miffed about firing Richt in the first place. You want to unify everybody right now, not divide them.

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    • Can you please point on the Hairy Dawg doll where Mark Richt touched you?

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  3. dawgtired

    “It seems though that Kirby couldn’t wait to move on without him. Or was that on McGarity?”

    Yep, it could be that Pruitt was only a jerk at UGA because it required jerk-ness to motivate the BM admin. There may be no need for such at Bama. Pruitt’s dismissal may have been the only stipulation that McGarity won in the Kirby vs McGarity battle when they were discussing the details of the job.

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  4. Tatum

    Alabama should have paid him $1 a year on a two year contract.

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  5. Gaskilldawg

    I posted back in December that I have a client who is a college football assistant coach (he is not coaching at an SEC school, btw) That client has worked with Pruitt in the pad and remains friends with him. He spoke with Right after UGA fired Richt and Pruitt told my client he was not going to return to UGA even if Richt had stayed.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Sure. He was talking to a friend and colleague and not talking to Chip Towers, but you are absolutely right that his comment was sour grapes.

        It also may be true that his meaning was, “I would have walked a mile over hot coals to stay at UGA but McGarity already told me I would not be back under any circumstances.” I cannot say what his thoughts were, only what he said.

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        • I’m not Chip Towers, but I was told by more than one person whom I trust that Pruitt wanted to stay.

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          • Gaskilldawg

            Then perhaps his statement to my client was more of the “I would walk a mile over hot coals to stay at UGA but McGarity already told me I would not be back” meaning.

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          • 3rdandGrantham

            This is correct, and is what I posted here numerous times while Pruitt was still coaching for us. However, I also said the chances of him coming back were around 1-2%, due to TPTB at UGA who would not under any circumstances allow him to return.

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            • Dog in Fla

              I posted here numerous times (maybe once) that he had head coach written all over him. I just didn’t say where. Or when. Or whether Gene Stallings or Rush Probst, or both, did the writing and if so was it legible

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  6. Gaskilldawg

    I mean to say , “his comments COULD HAVE BEEN sour grapes.”

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  7. old dog

    McGarity sure was generous with UGA’s money…throwing it around like a drunken sailor on shore leave. To little surprise, he took the moral high ground and paid Richt on the handshake deal…it was like ‘keep the cheese, Mark, I just want out of the trap’. God help us, the ‘Georgia Way’ is gonna break the bank one of these days…

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    • GMac was stepping up to the plate by putting Georgia in line with the competitive salaries in the SEC. If he didn’t pay the bucks, he’s be castigated for being a cheap skate (also called the ‘Georgia way’). It’s darned if you do and darned if you don’t.

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  8. Bulldog Joe

    Saban got a better deal with Kiffin as Southern California is still paying most of his compensation.

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  9. If the money manager of UGAis awake in his job, he should ask for ADGM to be fired for financial mismanagement. Not only was UGA paying for Kirby while doing dual role as HC and BAMA’s DC, ADGM also had UGA paying Pruit to be BAMA’s DC at the same time. Someone has a blinder at UGA.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      One additional month of coaching compensation is peanuts in today’s market.

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    • Sure Eric, you step up to the plate and tell us exactly how UGA should have taken better steps to facilitate this firing/hiring. It is not an exact science, but you cannot move forward without paying the fiddler. Some fans act as though UGA can just wave a magic wand and have all things jump to our bidding. Prudent moves require step by step methodology. Kirby was NOT leaving Bama before the Champ game. Period. And we cannot fire Pruitt without paying him because we signed a contract. Period.

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  10. Puffdawg

    “…except it’s not really a pay cut, thanks to the generosity of Greg McGarity.”

    Maybe I’m misinterpreting your message, but you’ve spent most of the past two years complaining that McGarity was not generous enough. Now the mood has changed because Alabama, Saban, and Pruitt want to take advantage of UGA’s willingness to pay market compensation?

    Bonus question: any chance Pruitt gets a raise after two years to $1.3 mil? What do YOU think???

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  11. UGA85

    I kind of look at this as an investment. Was CJP a good investment? I can think of some games we would have surely lost without him these past two years (I.e., Tech this year). I think he earned his paycheck, and this does not seem like an outrageous amount to pay as a buyout. CBS, on the other hand, seems to be a poor investment, and whatever we are paying him now is money poorly spent.

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  12. MGW

    I’d be real curious to see the clause that covers abuse of that provision.

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  13. W Cobb Dawg

    Pruitt’s better off in every meaning of the phrase. The guy had a string of championships going until the day he stepped foot in Athens. He’s as close to a carbon copy of saban as you’ll find in cfb, and 20+ years younger. He recruits and coaches like his hair’s on fire, and the players love him.

    Pruitt’s the DC at the #1 football program in cfb. The odds are in their favor to add more championships. I think Pruitt got a good lesson on how NOT to win big while at UGA: the Gurley issue, the IPF, the effects of undersigning, keeping useless old buddies on the payroll like eason, etc., etc.

    I have empathy for Pruitt. I’ve been in position where I felt I could turn a business around, only to face entrenched opposition. Once I ditched that situation, went on my own, and found like-minded associates, everything fell into place.

    The question now is how effective Smart can be. CKS can effect a lot of change in his position, but there’s still entrenched people who’ll get in his way rather than change or assist.

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    • Yes – let’s empathize with the guy that got paid over a million dollars, decided to scorch earth at his job, and then golden parachuted to a cushy situation. Unless I’m misreading it, your comment suggests that it was the Georgia Way, not Pruitt, that was responsible for Pruitt’s behavior last year.

      From everything the Senator’s posted here it seems that Pruitt is contrite for his actions and realized the error of the ways, but it doesn’t change that he bore some responsibility for the turmoil within the coaching staff this past year. Being a dick and being good at your job aren’t mutually exclusive.

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  14. whb209

    Will Smart do as Saban does and not allow his asst. coaches to talk to the press?

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