‘Well, he won 10 games.’

I know I shouldn’t waste my time quoting Fran Tarkenton, but, honestly, this is such a perfect encapsulation of the mindset of a certain few who wanted a change without wasting any time on a credible search process that I can’t resist.

“Head coach in pro football, college football is a tough job, and I think that it was probably time for a change,” Tarkenton said. “You say, ‘Well, he won 10 games,’ and I understand that, and nobody would’ve faulted (athletics director) Greg McGarity if he’d kept him. He probably got a lot of ridicule for not keeping him. But here’s my point: I think the University of Georgia football program, I think it should be the best football program in the country.

“I think that the standards that we should set is we should compete every year for an SEC championship and have a chance to go (to the national championship). That’s what Alabama does. With (Nick) Saban they do it. They did it with Bear Bryant. Why not us? Why should we be content with winning nine or 10 games?”

The point here isn’t to argue about whether it was time to replace Richt.  Nor is it about whether Kirby Smart can succeed at Georgia.  It’s about how much consideration went into whatever planning was made for elevating the program to the place where Tarkenton believes it should occupy before McGarity made the decision to hire Smart.  Does anybody seriously believe there was much more contemplated than “Hell, Kirby worked for Saban for years.  That ought to be good enough.”?

Then again, maybe that’s all it takes.  I don’t know.  All I can say, though, if it were that easy, there are other resource-laden programs that could have duplicated the Process and gotten similar results.  That no other school has done so should give people like Tarkenton pause.  Maybe it will when it comes time to hire the next head coach.


Filed under Georgia Football

58 responses to “‘Well, he won 10 games.’

  1. Without litigating the whole decision again, I’m glad Kirby is here after being very vocal about my apprehension about where his loyalty truly lies. He seems to have brought an energy to the program we haven’t seen in about 10-12 years. I still think Butts-Mehre bungled the search process because of the threat that Kirby was going to take the USCe job. No one else has successfully duplicated the Process. Jimbo Fisher is the closest to doing it, and even he had to enable a knucklehead to get a national championship. For the question of why Georgia can’t be Alabama, I would suggest people like him look in the mirror.

    • Fran paid his dues by playing football at UGA, Richt is GONE! Let’s get over that and embrace Kirby, we have NO other choice now. We can analyze the hire/fire move until we’re purple in the face but the real reality is to be optimistic about the future and hope that the Richt bedshittin games are a distant thing of the past. Also these coaches are paid big bucks to win championships, don’t kid yourself of anything less at a school like UGA. They want that team on national TV hoisting the Chrystal football. That’s why they are paid $3-$8,000,000 a year!

      GO DAWGS!!!

  2. gastr1

    i think this post might have been improved by ending after the first use of “Tarkenton.” You know, less is more and all that.

  3. Jared S.

    Well, Tarkenton at least is honest: he admits that for him being the “best football program in the country” is simply about W’s and getting a National Championship. I am so sick and tired of this garbage. The whole point (originally) of athletics was to build the character of players. Call me an idiot (and some, no doubt will) but I happen to think that Georgia’s emphasis on this was a well-earned source of pride over the last 15 years.

    I’d much rather be a Georgia than an Auburn or Florida State. But I feel like that’s exactly who Tarkenton wants us to be. He doesn’t care what Georgia becomes, just so long as they compete for that almighty CFP championship.

    I won’t be surprised if Kirby takes us to a National Championship before his tenure is over. I just hope to God the excellent parts of our program related to character and integrity don’t get flushed down the toilet on the way there.

    • rpcpisme

      Playing sports doesnt develop character, it reveals character.

      • Jared S.

        I agree that it also reveals the character of a person, but I don’t agree that it merely reveals what’s already there. Marcus Paige of North Carolina’s Basketball team, for instance, would disagree with you….

      • Hopefully not 2012 Derek

        As a high school coach, I would somewhat disagree. It does both. And if a Coach doesn’t understand that, he’s missing out.

    • Russ

      Well said, Jared.

  4. ugadawgguy

    Does anybody seriously believe there was much more contemplated than “Hell, Kirby worked for Saban for years. That ought to be good enough.”?

    That’s exactly what I think the thought process was, to the extent that there was any thought process beyond “Our boy Kirby wants the job and he’s threatening to take another one.”

    And the “thinkers” in this scenario weren’t Greg McGarity. They were a couple of liquor distributors holding McGarity’s leash.

  5. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Yeah, Alabama did it with Bear Bryant and Nick Saban, but there were a lot of whiffs (by Tarkenton’s standards) in between those two. With or without a search firm or committee, finding the right head coach is a bit of a crap shoot. We don’t have any clear evidence that CKS is going to work out. But I hope so, and there hasn’t been any clear evidence to date that he won’t work out.

    • Normaltown Mike

      Agree 100%…or 110% if I want to speak in a Fran Tarkenton trite cliches.

      Nick Saban and Bear Bryant would make winners out of the Washington Generals. Is Kirby Smart cut from the same cloth? I sure hope so. But letting go of CMR for CKS is a risk. And as the Senator has pointed out many times, Bama failed spectacularly on several hires before they hit a mammoth home run with Nick.

      As an aside, if/when Saban retires and Alabama football comes back to Earth, that school will be teetering on financial ruin. They have built up the student body through 1 billion in new frat houses, dorms, etc. and they need out of state kids to finance this crushing debt. If these kids lose interest, Bama is up a creek without a paddle.

      • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

        Yeah, letting go of CMR was a risk, but it was also becoming clear that as much as CMR had done for UGA football, he had also more or less hit a ceiling. I think it was a risk we had to take unless we were willing to be satisfied with good but not great. The only real question is whether CKS is the answer. We won’t know for a few years. But the signs so far are positive. He hasn’t whiffed on much yet.

        • Gaskilldawg

          McGarity took two huge risks.

          First, he took a risk on firing Richt. Folks have analyzed and discussed that subject to death.

          Second, he offered the job to a rookie head coach with absolutely no effort to determine who else he could have hired. While there has been a little analysis and discussion of that risk those discussions have been minimized as being stealth arguments about the first risk.

          To me the second risk is a bigger gamble than the first.

          • Absolutely – the AD took a huge risk to hire a candidate without experience to replace a 15-year guy. For all of us, I hope it works out the way we want.

            • Tim In Sav

              Kirby had EXACTLY the same experience that Richt did when he was hired.

              • Puffdawg

                And it was a huge risk when we hired Richt.

              • The program was in a much different place in 2000 than it is now. People weren’t knocking down the door for the Georgia job in 2000 as opposed to now.

                • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

                  I’m not sure anyone has been knocking on the door. It’s not like Jimmy Sexton hasn’t played the ‘coach X is interested in the UGA spot’ card before in order to get his client a raise, but we didn’t even see that. Maybe it was because he already had CKS placed, but we have no idea about anyone knocking on the door.

                  • The process didn’t last long enough to determine if a proven head coach who was an upgrade wanted the job.

                    • Visionary

                      A rookie head coach, but an assistant with an excellent recruiting record. On the field and game day coaching play a role in program success (perhaps that was Richt’s weakest attribute), but recruiting is where the rubber truly meets the road.

              • Gaskilldawg

                That has nothing to do with my point. It was a risk when we hired Richt, and there was a big difference between 2000 and now. We conducted a true search before offering Richt. We focused on Smart, fired Richt to create the opening, and offered Smart the job.

                Even if Smart starts his career 300-0, it was still a risk.

                • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

                  Not sure if I should bother, but you do realize that if we spent weeks with a search committee, interviewed people who jerked us around like they have in the past (Glenn Mason?) and fumble the ball with this past recruiting season, we probably don’t have Eason, or Mecole, maybe not LeCounte or Cleveland, certainly not 93K+ on GDay and the support staff in place that has tracked down some very promising looking walk ons to name just a few things since the hire. I don’t see where a committee or search firm would have helped us a lot. Maybe Kirby’s not the answer. But I’m having a hard time seeing who we might have gotten that would be doing better. I do think spending an absurd amount of cash to say you’ve searched for the right coach when you had him picked and agreed upon in the first place is silly, but apart from that so far I can’t fault the results. And it’s difficult to see how a committee would have gotten us to a better place.

                  Maybe ADGM is just plain lucky on this one – even a blind hog gets an acorn every now and then. But I’m not going to complain because he’s lucky. That’s just putting form above substance and I don’t roll that way.

                  • Gaskilldawg

                    You are arguing it was a risk worth taking. It was still a risk. There is a difference in the two positions.

                  • Gaskilldawg

                    As for the form over substance comment, the argument is over form only. Do you think that as a general template hiring a career assistant without looking for anyone else is the way to go? Again, if you are tickled pink the way it worked out, I have no argument. I have driven home drunk before and always made it safe, so why bother worrying about drunk driving as a societal issue?

                • Tim In Sav

                  Actually as I heard it, Richt had Bobby Bowden call VD and tell him that Richt was interested in the job.

      • Dog in Fla

        “They have built up the student body through 1 billion in new frat houses, dorms, etc. and they need out of state kids to finance this crushing debt.”

        No problem. Privatize the empty frat house/dorm rooms and use them as prison cells


        and/or transfer the FEMA Death Camp from Maxwell AFB in Montgomery to T-town


        That was easy.

  6. Bourbon Dawgwalker

    If you want to be Bama, you have to act like Bama. WWBD? Would Bama hire Kirby Smart, or would they have dragged Jimbo Fisher out of Tallahassee to the tune of 8-10 million?

  7. W Cobb Dawg

    So when does Tark start hammering away at the mediocre job the AD is doing?

  8. Heyberto

    It’s still a head scratcher to me. For all the talk of Saban’s past protege’s being schooled by him as a qualifier for being a head coach…. Not one of them has duplicated his level of success. Is Kirby the outlier? Maybe..but it’s not like Fran has a magic crystal ball.

    • Napoleon BonerFart

      It’s because The Process is about more than Saban drawing Xs and Os. It’s about having the largest support staff in the land. It’s about Saban having carte blanche to do whatever he wants involving athletics. It’s about having double the recruiting budget of the nearest competitor. It’s about having a cooperative police force that turns a blind eye to minor infractions and lets Saban handle it in-house. It’s about exploiting loopholes in NCAA rules and refusing to apologize for it.

      So far, schools have just hoped that the Xs and Os from a Saban acolyte will be sufficient. It’s not.

    • Tim In Sav

      Well, McElwain did win the East in his first year, something we haven’t done in quite a while, I’d say that was a pretty good start.

  9. steve

    Maybe a more central question is: Did CSU take Bobo ‘because he worked with Richt’. Losing Bobo probably ended Richt’s UGA HC career prematurely and opened the gate for KS. Brian Schottenheimer shit the sheets like a 13 yo with Crohn’s disease chewing on a wax candle. And Richt and Co. had to pretend the brown stains were the painted-on ships and sails found on children’s sheets. Throw in coach ‘anger management’ and Richt was probably happy when an Uber station-wagon showed up in the driveway.
    The next question is how long until Bobo replaces Boom at the chicken scratch motel?

    • Jared S.

      Why do I have this sneaking suspicion that Bobo will win 11 games with Bauta this year?

      • ugadawgguy

        I have a strong feeling he’ll do just that.

        Just imagine what would happen around here if the 2016 season yielded the following:

        -Kirby loses 4 games in his rookie season and comes in 2nd or 3rd in the SEC East
        -Richt wins 10 games and the ACC Coastal Division
        -Bobo wins 11 games and the Mountain West Conference

        Miami’s October schedule is brutal, but 10 wins aren’t out of the question. And the MWC — particularly Colorado State’s division — is wide open. The scenario described above is well within the realm of possibility.

      • He’ll be riding the bench unless he’s a graduate transfer.

    • UnderDawg

      That’s funny, right there…..I don’t care who ya are.

    • ugadawgguy

      God, I hope Bobo doesn’t end up at South Carolina. That would be awful for everyone involved.

      • steve

        Bad, yes, but not as bad as the prospect of Bobo running the program formerly known as ‘toxic shock syndrome’…Auburn.

    • DawgFlan

      Please more comments like this, Steve. I will be laughing about wax candles the rest of the day.

  10. Hopefully not 2012 Derek

    It’s bad enough that ADGM obviously never conducted a coaching search. The truth of the matter is, he & Kirby were in contact regarding this prior to CMR’s firing. We all knew it would eventually be CKS. There’s no way he fires CMR without having CKS in his back pocket. It reminds me of the Auburn/Petrino/Tuberville scenario. Although CKS has character.

  11. Dante

    I think Kirby Smart has the potential to be a great head coach. But I don’t think we beat Saban with imitation Saban. Even if Smart pans out I think Georgia still hits a ceiling when it comes to winning the SEC. I hope I’m wrong.

  12. 83dawg

    I appreciate what Tarkenton did for Georgia, and I liked watching him play in the NFL. But now he appears to specializing in talking out his a$$.

    Another quote from this article (not from Fran)

    “Although Tarkenton doesn’t know Smart personally and hasn’t met him outside of a quick introduction, the perception that Saban, a very close friend, has given him of Smart is enough for Tarkenton.”

    Oh, and this, from here: https://www.dawgnation.com/football/fran-tarkenton-on-jacob-eason-ill-be-surprised-if-he-doesnt-start

    These are direct quotes form him about why he thinks Eason should start:

    “You’ve gotta make a throw. You’ve gotta make a read. And he evidently made throws. He was accurate, and at the end of the day I’m not so impressed with whether he’s got a big arm or doesn’t have a big arm. I’m more impressed with whether he’s got accuracy. No quarterback has ever been a great quarterback without accuracy.”

    “Now, I’ve never met him, I’ve never seen him play, so I’m not a good judge. Except I have a little knowledge of the makeups of quarterbacks.”

    He doesn’t know Kirby Smart at all, but thinks he is a great coach for UGA?

    He has never met Eason, OR seen him play, but thinks he should start?

    So he can’t even be bothered to watch the youtube of the spring game, but he knows who should start?

  13. lakedawg

    The older Fran gets the ego grows larger.

  14. birddawg91

    I think the search and planning had already been in progress behind the scenes for a couple of years by the people calling the shots. This was their guy and other attractive job offers for Kirby just made it the right time.

  15. 92 grad

    I agree senator. It’s astonishing how the fate of many many people swung when mcgoofy decided to use the hook on CMR. So many people and circumstances from a “decision after the tech game”.

    Equally alarming is how awkward the whole week was. Mcgoo was lying and deflecting, he was scared, he really couldn’t keep his story straight. It would be nice to have that whole week outlined to reveal how strange it all went and how funny the inconsistencies/wishy washy quotes.

  16. anon

    Let it go Katherine