Pity the poor McGarity.

[Ed. note:  I gotta tell you… that never gets old.]

Chip Towers rises to defend the beleaguered Georgia athletic director.

Look, I realize it’s cool to bash on Greg McGarity right now. That certainly seems to be the trend judging from commentary I see on my social media feeds. And some of it is justified, at least based on the overall performance of Georgia’s sports teams. I’m sorry, but with the exception of a few Olympic sports, we’re not in the midst of glory days when it comes to this period of UGA athletics.

That said, I can’t get on board with the meme that McGarity is cheap. I certainly can’t when it comes to the facilities arms race that is currently raging full bore throughout the SEC. The Bulldogs are in there slugging it out when it comes spending money on buildings and “stuff.” And they’ve been at it for a while now. But they’ve also had a ways to go.

If you want to point fingers over how Georgia got so far behind with respect to facilities, you’d be better served to direct them toward McGarity’s predecessors. It was during the administration of Damon Evans and his CFO Frank Crumley that the Bulldogs fell behind, in my opinion. UGA has been playing catch-up ever since those guys left.

Hmmm… I didn’t know I was being cool griping about bathrooms and tailgating.  I just thought I was pissed off.  Neat trick.

There’s something both obvious and curious about Towers’ argument.  But before I go there, I have to start with his pointing a finger at Frank Crumley, who Towers mistakenly references as McGarity’s predecessor.  Crumley was indeed at his position before McGarity triumphantly returned from Florida, but he stayed at his position in the aftermath.  Crumley was let go afterwards, but not because his new boss walked in one day, cried “begone, thou foul skinflint!” and hustled him off the premises.

No, Crumley and Georgia parted ways because he got caught with his hand in the Butts-Mehre cookie jar, spending athletic department revenues to promote a married female employee with whom he was having an affair.  (Okay, maybe another part of the anatomy, too.)

What made things so special from McGarity’s standpoint was that it took him more than a year — and an open records request! — to work up to the step of actually canning Crumley.  As I referred to it at the time, the Butts-Mehre Way.  (The Georgia Way has many rooms, my friends.)  You’d think a guy who leaped into action when Todd Gurley got a few bucks from a shady autograph dealer could have moved with more alacrity when it came to an inside job like Crumley’s, but I guess it was more important to protect amateurism than the house.

Anyway, as Marlon Brando alludes, Chip is right that it’s not totally fair to Greg McGarity to call him cheap, when he’s clearly following orders from others as to how athletic department moneys are being spent.  It could be argued that it’s also not fair that those who give him direction as to the reserve fund leave him hanging with having to make absurd defenses about rainy days that may never happen, but, hey, them’s the breaks and that’s what they’re paying him for.

That being said, let’s not make McGarity out to be nothing but a helpless pawn, either.  After all, it wasn’t the nameless powers behind the throne whom Jeremy Pruitt called out when he made his pitch to the media for an IPF and it wasn’t them who were publicly embarrassed by it.  If you want to choose to believe that the about face on the status of the facility that occurred shortly thereafter was purely coincidence, be my guest, but that explanation strains credulity.

As far as whether McGarity is cheap, well, cheap is a relative term.  Internally speaking, it’s nice to give McGarity a pass on increasing spending, as Towers does, in comparison with what went on before that fateful night of the red panties, but to do so glosses over the fact that athletic department revenues have also increased over that time, from “just shy of $90 million” in fiscal 2011 to nearly $100 million two years later to more than $116 million in fiscal 2015 (with the likely odds that number increases significantly for the following fiscal year).  So, yeah, when you’ve got more coming in than before, you can spend more, too, especially when you’ve got donors who are willing to step up and participate in the funding for big capital projects.

In other words, let’s not throw any ticker tape parades yet.

Cheap is contextual in a macro sense, too, as a look at those 2015 finances in comparison with the rest of the SEC will quickly tell you.  Of the thirteen conference schools listed (remember, as a private institution, Vanderbilt doesn’t report) Georgia was eighth in total revenues, but tenth in expenses, resulting in the third-largest surplus of the group.

Now if that got you wins because it was wisely managed, or if Georgia were both fiscally prudent and first-tier as far as facilities go, then there would be little room for griping.  The reality, of course, is quite different.  Georgia, as Towers acknowledges, has been in a catch up mode with its peer athletic departments for years, as complaints from both Richt and Smart would indicate.  And as for the other little matter,

Now as for how things are going in the fields of play, McGarity is probably rooting harder than anybody else for some good things to happen. In fact, on Monday he sent out a rare direct email message to fans and donors lauding the men’s and women’s track teams for their recent fourth- and second-place finishes, respectively, in the National Indoor Championships this past weekend. And he’ll point with pride to Georgia currently being ranked No. 5 in women’s gymnastics and perennially highly-rated programs in golf, tennis, softball and swimming.

But you won’t hear much talk about volleyball, which has been a disaster and is now under the direction of the second coach under his watch. And it’s in the high-profile sports of football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball that McGarity really needs some good things to happen.

Football just lost to Ole Miss, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt in the same season; baseball continues to struggle in its fourth season under his hire, coach Scott Stricklin; and men’s and women’s basketball both missed NCAA Tournament play for the second straight season.

Yeah, that’s going well.

The problem isn’t so much that McGarity is cheap — the Georgia Way’s gonna Georgia Way, y’all — it’s that he lacks the vision to make the most out of what he’s been dealt, which, let’s be honest, isn’t inconsiderable.

A perfect example of that is evident in how taken by surprise he was with the fan base’s reaction to the announcement of the Sanford west end capital project.  It’s as if he was completely unaware of the grumbling that’s gone on for years regarding the bathrooms and concessions.  At least now we’ve moved on to the hinted promise stage.

More importantly to you fans, I’m hearing that there’s an announcement forthcoming — possibly as early as this week — on restroom improvements at Sanford Stadium.

Be still, my heart.

Hey, if I’m wrong, it seems there’s an easy way to prove it.  As we discussed before, there’s a long list of items that would cost relatively little in the vast scheme of things, all of which would serve the fan base’s interests.  All it takes is a little openness.  And a little vision.  Anybody at Butts-Mehre listening?

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66 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

66 responses to “Pity the poor McGarity.

  1. aladawg

    Really? Seriously……………….

    Like

  2. Red Cup

    It nice of you Senator to continue to fight for cleaner and working bathrooms and better concessions when you have never used either, with exception of that one fried Oreo five years ago.😜

    Like

  3. Gaskilldawg

    Towers gives laurels to McGarity for being willing to spend for the IPF and West Sanford project? Chip, donors are paying the vast majority of the costs! Towers is attempting to prove McGarity isn’t cheap by pointing out how much of other people’s money McGarity spends.

    Like

    • Normaltown Mike

      If it’s so easy, why hadn’t these spend thrift donors already given the 30 + million they have raised?

      it’s fun to dog McGarity, but he’s undertaken two huge projects in the past 2 years and how he’s done so is noteworthy
      (1) identify and prioritize the project,
      (2) built a strategy to fund the project (in this case – Magill) without compromising our balance sheet or debt rating and,
      (3) direct his staff to find the donors to make it happen

      Like

  4. rchris

    Good johns are a must, and so is a healthy reserve fund, if you study ruin theory. McG must walk a tightrope and deliver both.

    Like

  5. I've Stopped Caring

    Have heard McGarity only wants to work a few more years and retire. I guess he needs a few more to get his 30 in the Georgia system. I’m afraid we’re stuck until then.

    Like

  6. L McWhorter Colvin

    For the love of Georgia, McGarity needs to retire. He is inept in every phase of his job. Rather than leaving no stone upturned to make Georgia the best in every sport, he sits on our donations as though they were his. He has never had a proactive original thought. I loathe his ineptitude with every mounting loss. For the love of Georgia, he needs to retire. Is Jere Morehead even awake?

    Like

  7. lakedawg

    Stay on his butt Senator, because there is momentum within the ranks for something to be done with these many shortcomings we have been writing and complaining about.

    Like

  8. It’s “cool to bash” the AD. I didn’t know asking for a reasonably good in stadium experience as a paying customer was bashing. I also didn’t know that questioning the performance of our teams and his PR skills was bashing. It sounds like someone is feeling the heat and is trying to get his friends at the AUC / Cox to tell us to back off.

    Keep up the pressure, Senator …

    Like

    • ” It sounds like someone is feeling the heat and is trying to get his friends at the AUC / Cox to tell us to back off.”

      This is exactly what I was thinking reading this article. The whole thing seems like a reach to drum up support ADGM. The ultimate question is whether or not those few good things he has overseen out-weigh the many bad things. I don’t think so–and for a person with a gig that requires deftly navigating PR–he shits the bed regularly…on a pretty big stage.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chip’s back is probably pretty sore from carrying all that water.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hmm, blaming it on Evans is a bit of a cop out. Richt started bitching about the IPF basically on day 1, back when Vince was running things.

    He only way to clean up BM is a complete overhaul. Get some people in there under the age of 50.

    Like

    • DawgPhan

      I feel like UGA lacks the institutional knowledge required to compete at a high level.

      It seems unlikely that even if we did fire everyone in BM, the people doing the hiring still wouldnt actually know what to do to achieve the desired result.

      Chances are those with that knowledge have passed through those doors, will continue to pass through those doors, but BM lacked the vision to see it. Instead probably fought with them constantly, ignored their pleas and continued on with business as usual.

      Like

    • Bulldog Joe

      Yes. It’s all George W. Crumley Evans’ fault, or something.

      Like

  10. Dawgy1

    Economics aside can someone name a coach that McGarity has hired that has had any success of note?

    Like

  11. Athens Dog

    “cool to bash” I never knew it was bashing to ask for us to be better.

    Keep it up………..and you’re correct, that clip never gets old.

    Like

  12. Just Chuck (The Other One)

    “A perfect example of that is evident in how taken by surprise he was with the fan base’s reaction to the announcement of the Sanford west end capital project. It’s as if he was completely unaware of the grumbling that’s gone on for years regarding the bathrooms and concessions.”

    There’s no question he was unaware. This is what happens when you only talk to the people with offices next to yours and not to your “customers”.

    Like

  13. Class A

    I have it on good authority that this week’s announcement will highlight a row of porta potties that will line the concourses on both sides of the stadium as we walk in for the game . The fact that they will be “outside” the stadium gates and security does not allow in/out during the game is an issue that will be addressed at a later date.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cousin Eddie

      And the restrooms will be closed during the games, just to let them be “appreciated” no matter the conditions later next season.

      Like

  14. CB

    Serious question, have you ever thought about emailing McGarity directly? Probably wouldn’t do any good, but I emailed during the Todd Gurley fiasco, and he actually responded.

    Like

    • I think you just answered your own question.

      Like

      • CB

        Think about it though, McGarity making meaningful, and reasonably priced stadium improvements based on the emailed suggestions of a concerned blogger would be the most McGarity thing ever.

        Like

        • More McGarity than paying a search firm $40000 in connection with a decision he’d already made? I hardly think so.

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          • CB

            Fair point, my hyperbole was misplaced, the magnums for Luda would also be decidedly more of a McGarity. But, with regard to the way the CJPMIPF finally got started, I would think an e mail from a blogger would be worth a shot, and it would not surprise me at all if it was successful.

            Like

    • tbia

      Every email I have ever sent to GM has been sent to an underling, often to the wrong one.

      Like

      • I’ve sent him a couple and received direct responses. I also sent a couple and I’m still waiting.

        Like

        • MurphDawg

          I received written and phone follow-ups when I didn’t donate this year. I provided a polite list of concerns that led to my decision not to renew season tickets and offered to speak with someone live about any of them. So far no response at all. I won’t bore anyone with the total list but mentioned specifically:
          1. The many early kick-offs
          2. Unfriendly tailgate policies
          3. Poor restrooms
          4. Poorly ran concessions
          5. Lack of meaningful fan improvements while spending $100 million on facilities
          6. Increasing ticket and contribution prices while raking in record television revenues – being made to feel like a wallet rather than a valued fan and Alumnus.

          I truly don’t expect to receive a response from B-M but I wanted to at least put some of the concerns out there. I really thought I’d be upset after the fact but even though they offered to take my donation up until 3/31, I’m just not moved to renew at all.

          Like

      • Normaltown Mike

        I’ve got some hilarious forwards that I’ve sent to McG but no response….one was the infamous Smurf porn and another a collection of “Confucius sez…” one-liners.

        Maybe he missed them, I’m sending again!

        Like

    • Russ

      What did he say?

      Like

  15. Go Dawgs!

    I’m glad that you mentioned the situation with UGA baseball. They’re dreadful. I’m still very much of the opinion that Georgia should not have fired Dave Perno. All the man did was take Georgia into multiple postseasons, to Omaha, and into the national championship series. There’s no doubt the program dipped in his last few years in charge. He also had two players he was counting on for those years end up paralyzed in freak accidents. Whether Perno needed to go or not, though, Scott Stricklin’s tenure has been a disaster. I bear him no ill will, he seems like a good man. But Georgia baseball is circling the drain. McGarity either can’t fix ir or simply hasn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. W Cobb Dawg

    McGarity’s name is synonymous with sports mediocrity and p.r. disasters. He has the rare ability to take any situation and make it worse. He’s a continuous embarrassment to UGA and needs to be dumped.

    Want a guaranteed 93k at the spring game? Announce we’re publicly firing McG at halftime.

    Like

  17. Macallanlover

    Drain that swamp, er, bathroom!! I am not buying the McGarity should be forgiven because the tons of bad publicity has pressured him to respond to a problem so simple. If you haven’t reacted to the bathroom complaints from your guests/customers for years, you are really asleep at the wheel. Can’t imagine any AD not making this a priority, and yes, it began long before his arrival. And it does say much about the Georgia Way that it has been tolerated through several administrations. Perhaps the AD and Prez should sit amongst the great unwashed and let their wives wait to pee or get a cool drink during those noon starts in September. Lot different than what life is like in the Skyboxes, but it will keep you focused on the simple things.

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  18. Cousin Eddie

    He is a poor manager. He is completely reactive and seems to not be proactive on anything. He always seems out of touch with almost every aspect of the program. While he can probably tell you the exact amount of money in the reserve fund at any given minute he couldn’t tell you what projects the athletic department will tackle next year much less a 5 year plan. He needs to go through PR training because he is horrible at it.

    Like

  19. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    His coaching hires have had poor results to say the least. I don’t know how you go about hiring a volleyball coach, but I really expected Stricklin to be a home run (see what I did there?), and boy, it’s been anything but that. Maybe he’s just snakebit. Hope him hiring CKS is not a jinx of some kind.

    Like

  20. Snoop Dawgy Dawg

    Senator, someone else mentioned that clearly BM and McGarity have instituted the PR attack dogs to get Towers to write this article. As I was driving back from a customer lunch, I was listening to Buck and Kincaide. The topic was the crazy fans who think McGarity isn’t doing a good job. First caller after they introduce the segment starts with how bad his hires have been and no one sport has improved since he got here. Started with football, basketball, then rattled off the other sports.

    Kincaide cuts him off, and goes on and on about he’d have to look into the other sports as he doesn’t know their status, but Kirby was clearly a great hire.

    If they weren’t given their specific marching orders to support McGarity, they wouldn’t have said a single word differently than if they had been.

    Like

  21. Greg McGarity, J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics

    As usual, the only complaining is coming from the Society of the Miserable. Most of our supporters are very happy with the way things are going.

    Get those football ticket orders in people. You have 2 weeks left to finish giving us your zero interest 5-6 month loans (the first half of your loan is the donation, the second half is the ticket price). We rely heavily on these generous loans to stay afloat.

    Oh, and cutoff scores to the Florida game should be announced by mid-to-late October.

    Go Dawgs!

    Like

  22. Bulldog Joe

    Operations Budget – Men’s Basketball

    Ky 2,633,149
    Tam 2,074,604
    Fla 1,879,482
    Ark 1,821,979
    Mis 1,784,026
    Mo 1,556,363
    Ala 1,480,031
    Van 1,439,776
    Ten 1,368,686
    Aub 1,285,584
    Ga 1,260,026
    Lsu 1,197,593
    Msu 1,181,524
    Sc 1,165,279

    http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/#/

    Like

  23. Bulldog Joe

    Operations Budget – Baseball

    Mis 1,615,445
    Tam 1,346,943
    Van 1,200,314
    Ark 1,153,132
    Ala 1,010,732
    Fla 983,934
    Lsu 900,050
    Sc 764,273
    Aub 738,780
    Msu 731,688
    Mo 638,032
    Ga 588,999
    Ky 583,008
    Ten 462,365

    http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/#/

    Like

  24. Bulldog Joe

    Operations Budget – Women’s Basketball

    Ten 1,473,455
    Tam 1,406,679
    Ky 1,110,489
    MSU 1,082,073
    Fla 1,070,643
    Sc 1,046,939
    Lsu 1,005,765
    Ark 1,000,668
    Van 999,263
    Mis 950,934
    Mo 937,955
    Ga 909,484
    Ala 891,185
    Aub 889,800

    http://ope.ed.gov/athletics/#/

    Like