It’s not Kirby’s Law: today’s lesson in civics

If you want to get a taste of what’s really behind Georgia’s new Open Records law (hint:  it ain’t recrootin’), start by taking a look at this Jon Solomon piece about the money spent by schools on search firms when they replace head coaches.

At Georgia, after Mark Richt was fired, there was little doubt who the Bulldogs had pegged at No. 1: Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart. Georgia paid $42,175 to CarrSports Consulting for Bill Carr’s help in the search.

Carr didn’t act as an intermediary for Georgia and didn’t contact anyone connected with Smart, Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said. Instead, McGarity said Carr helped by talking with him on the phone and meeting in Atlanta for multiple days to discuss every facet of the search.

“You talk about strengths and weaknesses of a number of candidates,” McGarity said. “You look at things as simple as YouTube videos. How does an individual handle a tough situation? Are they able to be an effective communicator? Some candidates have a lot more available online than others. With the ability to search and take the time necessary to do that, you have so many more tools at your disposal that can help elevate candidates or dismiss candidates.”

McGarity said Carr helped in case Georgia had “blind spots” when discussing candidates. He also helped prepare the Bulldogs for the transition of a new staff.

“In some ways, we had been operating for 15 years in one way,” McGarity said. “So having someone assist in that transition period on what we should expect and how we should approach certain things administratively was extremely beneficial to us as a staff.”

“Ah,” you say.  “Bluto, it’s been more than ninety days since Kirby Smart was hired.  Wouldn’t this information be available now, even under the new law?”

It would.  But look what you’re getting at this point –  a fairly dry assessment of McGarity’s management decision that’s placed in the general context of how every school handles this.  What’s lost now is the context of judging McGarity’s comment at the time of Richt’s presser that he intended to retain a search firm going forward.

As we know, that was a complete load of crap.  McGarity spoke to Carr in mid-October.  The reality was that Kirby Smart was the man he wanted from the beginning; any preference to conduct a patient search to hire Smart went out the window when word leaked that South Carolina was talking with him about that head coaching job.

Now none of this is exactly a serious threat to the American way of life, certainly, but it is an indication of how Georgia’s athletic department goes about its business. Except that ninety days out, our impression of the contradictions in McGarity’s statement loses the impact of immediacy.  Which is what he wants, and, with the benefit of the new law, gets.

Maybe that doesn’t matter to you.  Maybe it goes out in the wash when Georgia wins the SEC this season.  But if you’re somebody like me who’s shaken his head over the years about the way Butts-Mehre operates and how that’s had an impact on the performance of Georgia athletics, it’s not exactly a cause for celebration.  If it would help to see this in a more graphic way, try to imagine how Michael Adams would have operated had this new law been in place two decades ago.  Yeah, me, too.

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50 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, Political Wankery

50 responses to “It’s not Kirby’s Law: today’s lesson in civics

  1. “You talk about strengths and weaknesses of a number of candidates.”

    I would like the Open Records Act request specifically for this. There’s no way we evaluated a list of candidates to pursue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • heyberto

      Well, if you’re McGarity, it’s prudent to identify potential candidate number two, three and do on if your first choice doesn’t work out. Can’t afford to start the search once negotiations with Kirby break down or fall apart completely. I don’t like to defend McGarity, but as someone who scratched his head over the engagement of search firm after the fact, it seemed like more of an insurance policy, and that makes sense to me.

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      • Sure, I get that … my question is more that there wasn’t an evaluation of candidate #2 or candidate #3, and knowing how quickly this went down, there’s no circumstantial evidence that no other candidates were even identified.

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        • heyberto

          As I read that, they did look at multiple ‘candidates’. They just didn’t have any discussions with any of them.

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          • Watching YouTube clips and talking with a search consultant … that’s as good as attempting to interview a couple of candidates before making a decision. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to put my neck in a noose and use this process to find a head football coach whether you think Kirby was the best option or not.

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            • Will (The Other One)

              They paid over 40 grand to have someone show them YouTube clips of coaches. I am in the wrong line of work…

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              • You and me both, Will. If that was going to be what was required to identify candidates, the AD should have hired DiF to pick the clips and come up with creative (and mostly funny) captions to go along with them.

                Speaking of Will, where has Will Trane been? I guess Rush Propst has been keeping him busy with odd jobs around his estate in Colquitt County.

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                • Dog in Fla

                  That would have been a perfect fit. He and I have the same sense of humor but I know my colorist is giving me bad hair dye that affects my thought processes, if any.

                  As for Will, some observers think he is MIA because he’s been abducted by a tractor beam and taken on a chopper ride to do gardening work for one of Rush’s families.

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                  • Good stuff as usual, DiF. I don’t have enough hair to need a colorist, but trying to read the AD’s comments on any topic related to Georgia athletics affects my thought processes!

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              • Can I get this job? 40k for youtube videos.

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  2. Walt

    Maybe Carr did more of a background check on Smart to see if he had a stable marriage, was drug-free, not a cross dresser, not homosexual, not transgender, not an illegal immigrant, etc.

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  3. Ben

    Well, at the risk of getting called an apologist, a Disney dawg, and whatever other name some people want to throw out, it seems like Richt was the only guy classing up the joint there in Athens.

    Welcome to the New World Order, y’all.

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  4. AusDawg85

    “McGarity spoke to Carr in mid-October.”

    So Richt was fired after the UT loss, gators were just the nail in the coffin. I raise this point not to re-ignite the debate over the decision, but to point-out the obvious that McG was clearly not in Richt’s corner and seems to make his decisions with a finger in the air to determine wind direction of public (e.g. “rich donors”) opinion more than be a steely-eyed captain of the ship.

    If this process is indicative of best practices in hiring and winning championships, I truly hope President Morehead has contacted a search firm about our pending AD opening.

    Liked by 1 person

    • @gatriguy

      The Tennessee loss was bad, but the die was cast after Florida in 2014. That was the game that I believe finally allowed McGarity to start convincing some other people that Richt didn’t have the attention to detail and organizational skills to ever win another SEC title.

      After that, it was just a matter of time for things to get bad enough.

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      • It looks more more like this is what happened. It explains the Belk Bowl rumors. I think it was the reason why Bobo left. CMR understood that the coaching staff’s days were numbered and being the HC at Colorado State is better than being the outgoing OC at UGA and trying to find a QB coach job somewhere.

        I think potentially the only hang up at that point was Kirby wasn’t ready to leave Tuscaloosa and CMR for a final season looked better than available coaching candidates – not that we were really looking.

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        • If CMR had been run off in 2014, Bobo would have still had that HC opportunity at CSU. If nothing else, I imagine Nick Saban would have told Junior to clean out his office because Mike Bobo was coming to T-town. Bobo’s offense combined with Saban/Smart’s defense would have been scary especially with Bobo and Smart’s abilities as recruiters.

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    • PTC DAWG

      Richt should have been fired on the spot after the UF debacle. He would have been closer to Coral Gables at that time anyways. Would have saved him a little gas money.

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  5. paul

    Kirby didn’t pay enough attention to how Saban would have handled this situation. The only reason we’ll continue to refer to this legislation as ‘Kirby’s Law’ in perpetuity is his public insistence that he had nothing to do with it. Silence can be your friend.

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  6. Bulldog Joe

    It’s a disadvantage to be required to show your hand every step of the way in the hiring and negotiation process, especially if your competition is allowed to play by different rules.

    If a daily disclosure request on Georgia’s coaching search was submitted, processed, and fulfilled, it’s easy to see how Georgia could have gone 6-7 (or worse) with an unmotivated lame duck coaching staff, suffered a slew of player transfers, faced a daily dose of negative recruiting stories reducing the quality of the inbound class, and ended up paying even more taxpayer money for Will Muschamp .

    There are better examples to make your FOIA point than this one.

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    • Debby Balcer

      Personal matters are private until a hire is made. So this would not affect the process it would expose it after it happened. McGarity does not want his ineptness under a microscope ever.

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    • Gaskilldawg

      The old 3 day response law was still in effect when we fired Richt and hired Smart. The reason you did not read the results of an Open Records request was that the Open Records law DOES NOT apply to personnel decisions.

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      • Gaskilldawg

        Hit “post comment” too soon. The only time an OR request would apply is after the hiring. The OR statute does not require any government agency to “tip its hand.”

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  7. PTC DAWG

    You loathe McGarity, check…you don’t like Kirby, check. Other than that, usually a pretty good UGA Football blog. More than I can say of most out there. 🙂

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    • MLB2

      Most loathe McGatory but why do you think that Bluto dislikes CKS? I stumbled onto this blog in 2011 and I always have thought he is fair to all while calling it like it is.

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    • Debby Balcer

      If you think the Senator is anti Kirby you need to check your reading skills.

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    • PTC, I don’t speak for the Senator (he can do that very well himself), but I don’t see how anything written over the last 5 months indicates that our gracious host doesn’t “like” the current head football coach. He has been very objective in his assessment of Kirby’s performance to date (which, personally, I think has been pretty damn good so far). He has stubbed his toe a couple of times – in particular, his handling of the transfer situation and his decision to get involved in state politics.

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    • You left out Richt apologist.

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  8. Cousin Eddie

    He paid that kind of money to watch YouTube clips, is he seriously stating that out loud, with this kind of stupid I am just glad they didn’t hire a dancing cat or some other popular YouTube sensation.

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  9. Or: “How to Show Everyone You Don’t Know What You’re Doing.”

    I guess good friend Jeremy didn’t want to offer any helpful hints in conducting a coaching search.

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  10. Bright Idea

    As bad as McGarity wanted Richt gone he didn’t want to replace him with a stranger who didn’t give a damn about the way UGA wants to be perceived. In other words he didn’t want a total hard ass pure football coach willing to demand 93K buy in with no questions asked including the state’s politicians. Oh, wait.

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