Paying for performance, or money to burn?

If accurate, this is what passes for strategic thinking at Butts-Mehre.

Georgia will not be making a change with its head baseball coach this year

I know and understand why the thought will perturb many out there. Me? I have no dog, or dawg in this fight as the case may be, but as one of only three reporters who covered the team on a regular basis this past spring, here are my thoughts.

First off, there was no way AD Greg McGarity was going to make a change this soon. The reason? Head coach Scott Stricklin has a six-year contract that pays him $600,000 per year and McGarity is simply not going to let him go after just three seasons. While I know that doesn’t sit well with some, that’s just the way it is.

That said, it’s certainly understandable why UGA baseball fans are upset. They can’t be blamed in the least.

When Stricklin arrived he promised to take UGA back to the next level when it comes to its baseball program. So far, his three years in Athens have resulted in three straight sub-500 campaigns.

That’s not good.

Now this ain’t all on McGarity.  We all know what is a priority for the folks behind the scene writing the checks.  Nevertheless, it’s highly amusing to see McGarity, who stroked a $4 million buyout check to Mark Richt without batting an eye, choking on the thought of paying less than half of that to a coach who has yet to post a winning record in Athens.  Especially since it’s football that pays Stricklin’s salary, just like it did Richt’s.  Then, again, of the two, it’s Stricklin who’s the McGarity hire.

The reserve fund works in mysterious ways, my friends.  And that’s why I remain a skeptic about whether we can have nice things from Athens.


Filed under Georgia Football

50 responses to “Paying for performance, or money to burn?

  1. Greg

    Oh, the hypocrisy!!

  2. Sanford222view

    There is no reason we shouldn’t be competing for a Natty every year with the high school talent in Georgia. All we have to do is close the borders in recruiting! Coach Strick needs to show more emotion in the dugout as well. It’s like he doesn’t even care! Where is the passion for the game? Why should the players care when there HC doesn’t seem to care. We need a Billy Martin type in the Dawgout!

    • This gives me an excuse to tell my one Billy Martin story.

      I was at a Yankees’ spring training game in Ft. Lauderdale. Fairly small crowd. Young pitcher on the mound who was struggling, walked two batters and was behind in the count to the third one. Crowd was getting restless.

      Martin walks out to the mound and begins talking to the kid. Kid nods. Repeatedly. Vigorously. Martin finally nods in return and walks back to the dugout. Pitcher toes the rubber. And picks off the runner on second base.

      The crowd went apeshit. In the aisle next to me, your classic New York transplant, wearing an undershirt and shorts, begins dancing and yelling in this gravelly voice, “Billy Mahtin! Billy Mahtin! Dat’s why the Yankees are gonna win the pennant! Billy Mahtin!”

      I about fell on the floor, I was laughing so hard. Priceless.

    • AusDawg85

      Strickland put in a 3rd string pitcher vs the gators to purposely throw the series so he’d get fired and could accept a job he already had lined up with his alma mater and thus be paid double but McG is now wise to that ploy.

  3. stoopnagle

    If GM won’t pony up to upgrade the facility to keep up with the rest of the league, then you have all the information you need. Wrigley Field my foot.

    • JCDAWG83

      I’d say the team should show some evidence of a pulse before anyone should expect a major expenditure in upgrading Foley.

      • Dawgwalker07

        By no means do I follow baseball super closely, but I think you’re going to have a hard time attracting solid coaching talent if they have to deal with the craptastic facilities our baseball team currently has.

      • stoopnagle

        You mean all those regionals and super regionals and multiple CWS appearances which were followed up with jack squat?

      • Gaskilldawg

        Since we just finished a multimillion dollar upgrade to Foley Field you are right, it will be a while before we can expect another major upgrade to Foley Field.

    • Normaltown Mike

      you know they just upgraded the facility, right?

  4. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Well, we’ve never been much of a baseball school. There have been a couple of good stretches, but they never lasted long and have been too infrequent. I thought based on his pedigree that Stricklin would have some success. BUT momentum and tradition mean something and we have neither. No one gave two hoots about women’s gymnastics until we started winning, with regularity. And even though there has been a drop off since Suzanne left, people still go. Kids still want to come here. Baseball has to develop some sort tradition and momentum to be attractive. Facilities aren’t that bad.

    The bottom line for me is that Stricklin hasn’t done what I hoped, but who are we going to hire that can do better? Another example: Mark Fox. Hasn’t been exactly what I hoped for, but I’m not sure who we have a realistic of hiring that will do better, and sticking with him is starting to show signs of paying off. They’ve had a couple years of good recruiting back-to-back and should be pretty competitive next year.

  5. Bright Idea

    Nothing wrong with Foley but Stricklin may have some staff issues. Pitchers can’t execute with runners on and hitting approach is terrible. If the draft doesn’t gobble too many of them up incoming freshman class is a good group.

  6. Noonan

    How many years are left on McGarity’s contract? Can anyone argue that UGA athletics are better since he got here?

    • Gaskilldawg

      Careful. Criticize McGarity and you will be accused of being more of a Richt fan than a Georgia fan.

  7. Cousin Eddie

    He is a McG hire, he will be given all the rope he needs (as long as it doesn’t cost money)
    McG just paid good money on a buy out, he doesn’t want to do that again (probably won’t next year either)
    After reading this article McG realized that the baseball team finished sub 0.500 for three years in a row, and thinks that sounds like a good batting average.

  8. aladawg

    Dear Senator and GTP Sports bloggers,
    I do have a dawg in this hunt. I am a season ticket holder and the last 3 years have been for crap. Also take into account that McGoofy forced us to donate to GEEF for the privilege of purchasing season’s seats. Oh yeah, he is milking us and such a hypocrite. He fires a guy who goes to the championship game, buys out another go for $4,000,000 and hires an unproven guy. It’s obvious he only wants his hires here. It’s also obvious that the Georgia Nation is tiring seriously of McGoofy. It’s no wonder that the donation minimums are dropping in football. Hear us Athletic Board: “This guy is ruining Georgia’s Athletic Program”

    • Normaltown Mike

      Well if you want Perno back you can find him at Clarke Central washing unis and applying helmet decals since he’s the HEAD FOOTBALL COACH now.

      • stoopnagle

        And good for him. That parting of the ways was the best of a bad situation for everyone. As it turns out, he’s got the best resume of any baseball coach we’ve ever had. And a DGD.

        • Normaltown Mike

          I guess but the fact no other school has hired him to even chalk the lines says something about his perceived ability to lead a baseball program.

          The argument for Strick is that he knows how to recruit metro Atlanta from his days at Tech (he even brought in Jeff Guy from Tech, formerly Lassiter HS). The product isn’t there yet. I hope he does it but we need to see a post season team in 17.

          I think Ron Polk was the best coach we ever had but he was gone before Mrs. Polk had unpacked the China.

          • My only question about the baseball program is if the coach is such a great recruiter, why hasn’t that ability translated to results on the field? Is it because these guys end up signing pro contracts and never enroll or is there a problem in the dugout on game days?

            There is absolutely no reason Georgia baseball shouldn’t be in the tournament EVERY year.

            • Normaltown Mike

              Perno was a great recruiter BUT he lost guys to the draft.

              The limited scholarships in baseball makes in-state recruiting a necessity. Not sure if we’re going right direction or not. Good pitching this year, dreadful hitting though.

              • Good pitching … dreadful hitting

                The aluminum bat is the equalizer for good pitching. Teams can scratch out enough runs with the aluminum bat to beat teams that have good pitching but can’t generate offense.

                On the recruiting front, the Georgia baseball coach should just have an apartment in Cobb County and focus all of his effort in that area. I haven’t been to a game in Foley in years, but it sounds like we have fallen WAY behind the rest of the conference … Damn shame because this program could be a giant.

      • aladawg

        Ok Normaltown jerk. My brother-in-law hired him(Perno).
        You obviously don’t get my point about the contrast and hypocrisy going on in the Athletic Department………..May be you have consumed the Koolaid; I haven’t………….

        • Normaltown Mike

          I don’t dislike Perno, I just think it was time for a change.

          As to Strick, I think he deserves another season, though reasonable minds may differ.

  9. Bulldog Joe

    You don’t get a full appreciation for the University’s financial neglect of the baseball program until you look at comparative annual operating budgets.

    For the SEC’s 2014-2015 athletic year, it shakes out this way:

    Florida $1,347,753
    Arkansas $1,319,106
    Texas A&M $1,257,309
    Vanderbilt $1,238,806
    Mississippi $1,230,216
    LSU $918,372
    Alabama $890,601
    Kentucky $758,912
    Auburn $668,882
    South Carolina $655,228
    Mississippi State $648,304
    Missouri $560,324
    Tennessee $481,679
    Georgia $417,391

    This becomes more eye-opening when you consider Georgia is one of the largest universities in the conference. But Georgia baseball fans are not alone, as the relative financial neglect for Georgia basketball is worse.

    • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

      $417k per year seems a little low ball since we pay the coach $600k a year. How does that work?

      • Normaltown Mike

        yeah, I wonder what they measure for that. Is this the salary for Janet & Nancy over in ticketing plus the cost of balls and bats?

      • Bulldog Joe

        His position is privately-funded and is likely the true reason why he wasn’t let go.

        • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

          ‘Endowed’ is a way of explaining the source of the funds – and the funds can be earmarked – but they still run through the University. Scott doesn’t get a “handshake” from Tom Cousins. So, if you add that back, we’re pretty comparable.

          • Bulldog Joe

            We’ve been at or near the bottom of the SEC in baseball investment long before the endowment from the Cousins family. Other SEC schools receive endowments not included in these totals, so I won’t go so far to say we are comparable.

            This becomes apparent when we see Georgia play on the road.

            • Dylan Dreyer's Booty

              Just for what it’s worth, you don’t understand how endowments work. It’s just a way for someone to boost their ego (or to honor a family member) and give for an issue that they consider important. Once it’s done, it’s part of the department funds. It might be restricted and only be used to hire a head coach, but it’s still department money, and I’m sure that’s true for all schools.

    • Cousin Eddie

      That is bordering on neglect. No wonder he didn’t make a change, he apparently doesn’t even know UGA has a baseball team. No reason UGA should be the lowest on investing in any sport.

  10. Ricky McDurden

    This post has depressed me worse than any I can recall in the past year (football season and richt firing included).

    It’s like mcgarity brought all of Jeremy Foley’s frugal attitude and absolutely none of his hiring skill.

    And what a shame, too. Foley field is prime to be one of the most unique locations in all of college baseball if only someone would pour a little bit of money into a creative renovation that expands the park to fill its modest confines and a coaching staff with a pedigree to win and win now. And in a day and age in which the braves are at an all time low for this century, imagine the crowds a good baseball team in a quality Athens park could pull.

    Shit, when you think about all the wasted potential that UGA athletics has endured, someone should be arrested for neglect.

    • aladawg

      Go Jimmy W. Go! Arrest ADGM………….wouldn’t that be a story……………

    • Normaltown Mike

      Have you been to Foley lately?

      I keep reading people that say we need to renovate Foley as if we didn’t just renovate Foley.

      • Ricky McDurden

        Season ticket holder, actually. And while the gutting and renovation of the whole complex was a long overdue and well-done venture, the stadium still looks like an overly fancy softball stadium. In a league we share with the likes of South Carolina, LSU, Miss St, A&M, Arkansas, Ole Miss – all of whom have outstanding college baseball stadiums and atmospheres – it’s really sad to me that more is not done to turn what was once a respectable baseball program into a feature of the Spring sports season in the state of Georgia by expanding down the lines and living up to this purported “Wrigley Field/Fenway of the SEC” that development is trying to play it off as. Hell, Alabama and Tennessee just renovated their stadiums to the point that I think we now lag behind them. The renovation was nice but that should have only been phase 1. And if it was only phase 1 of a larger scale renovation project, they need to let the fans know that an expansion is in the works.

  11. Tim (Watkinsville)

    Baseball season ticket holder and donor here. I have read this thread with great interest and there is one vital component missing in the commentary. The replies pointing out the poor financial support for baseball are spot on. UGA is cheap as hell with respect to baseball. That will continue as long as we have the NTAC Howdy Doody running things. No hope at all.
    He has never been on a baseball road trip, he has no idea what other SEC schools offer their fan bases. What we offer our fan base for tail gating is a dirty assed parking lot. Thats it. Go to Ole Miss, LSU, A&M. There is no comparison at all.
    The AA touts the unique residential aspect of Foley as being unique in the SEC and that it true. Howdy Doody then goes and has oak trees planted on Kudzu Hill to block the view from the Green House and the other houses. Is that hypocritical? I think so. And indicative of the kind of leadership we have. Very indicative.

    The one thing that is missing from this conversation is the demeanor of Stricklin. With respect to an earlier commenter who bemoaned stoic demeanor of Strickin, he is anything but. He is verbally abusive to the players. He screams at them, he curses them, he questions their manhood, he tells them they ‘let their school and their parents down’. He calls them MF’ers and pussies. I know this for a fact. As one of this players told him late this past season ‘you have sucked the life out of this dugout’.
    Auburn fired their coach before the season for less than what happens on an almost daily basis at Foley Field. When Auburn takes the high road compared to a UGA program, we have a very major problem. More major than you can believe.

    • If all of that is true about Stricklin, he should be out. I don’t think a coach needs to be the players’ best friend, but the demeaning attitude is awful. I actually like a lot of what we’re seeing from Kirby in this regard.

  12. Will Trane

    The Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach … an endowment gives you a title, but it does not make you a baseball coach. His record for three years says it all. If you have watched his team hit for the past three years, you have to cringe. His recruits, his players, his coaching staff, his practice, and his drills…subpar!! There are some players in this state. Like Richt if he had them he can not improve or develop them. Never seen batters has slow as his are thru the zone. No body torque. They can not square up on pitches quick enough. Outside of his catcher he has no players who can hit or field. They are slow. Not quick enough.
    There are at least a dozen 6A fields better than Foley.
    It is pitiful to field such poor teams in a cracker jack box. Why endow a program with your name and it looks like this. Think you would be embarrassed, but some folks are soooo passive in Athens!
    Almost have to look at the softball head coach. Explain how she blew that damn big lead at Bama during regular season. Like Sticklin, she can not set a defense. Yes, she UF because she has some players. She had young lady who walked on at AU who homered against OU. Politically correct UGA. Take a look at the top 3 softball programs …AU. Bama, and UF…just watch their softball head coaches. Same with the baseball…simply watch and compare A&M, LSU, Vandy, South Carolina, and even Kentucky.
    Here is a message for McGarity and the Athletic Board. If you do not want to compete at that level, just get out of the damn sport and put the resources in another one. But face the fact collegiate baseball, softball, and basketball are huge draws and money makers.
    Stop wasting time and money!

  13. Spike

    His record speaks for itself.