The last days of Tracy Rocker

Two stories popped up on my Twitter feed yesterday, almost on top of each other, both involving former DL coach Tracy Rocker.

First, news of minor NCAA violations:

Last September, during a non-contact recruiting period, two Georgia assistant coaches called a recruit and the recruit’s father. Both calls lasted a minute. The identity of only Rocker, then the defensive line coach, is listed in the report, which was provided via an open records request.

A letter of admonishment was given to Rocker, who it is noted was not scheduled to make a call to the recruit “the week in question.” As further self-punishment, the football team was prohibited from calling the recruit (also unidentified) from Nov. 13-26.

And then, within minutes, this story about Rocker’s departure:

Former defensive line coach Tracy Rocker was dismissed by the university, according to documents obtained by The Telegraph through the state’s Open Records Act.

A hand-delivered notice of termination was given to Rocker and signed by athletics director Greg McGarity about the program’s decision. The university is still obligated to pay Rocker his $525,000 salary through the calendar year ending on Dec. 31.

Towers has more details.

Rocker, the Bulldogs’ defensive line coach and associate head coach, was fired. That’s according to a termination letter, dated Feb. 6, delivered to Rocker from athletic director Greg McGarity. That and other documents were turned over to DawgNation on Friday via an open records request filed immediately after Georgia’s announcement of Rocker’s departure.

In a hand-delivered document, McGarity wrote:

“The decision has been made to discontinue your services as associate head coach. The University is hereby terminating your agreement of January 1, 2016. Please consider this advance written notice of your termination.”

Rocker was also asked to sign a general release form requiring him to not speak of his dismissal pending the receipt of the remainder of his pay designated in his contract. Neither the letter nor the release provides any specific reasons for Rocker’s dismissal.

Naturally, this being Georgia, the first thought that came to my head was this is how Butts-Mehre rocks with assistant coaches and NCAA violations these days, but, according to Butt, that’s not the case.

You had to figure it was a firing, because people like Rocker generally don’t leave unless greener pastures beckon.  What the real story is… well, I imagine the rumor mill will start cranking out something sooner or later.

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48 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

48 responses to “The last days of Tracy Rocker

  1. I got nothing. Anybody have any facts or rumors they want to share?

    Like

  2. Faultering Memory

    I want to know who McGutless had hand deliver the letter?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uglydawg

      My assumption is, (even though I’m no admirer of McG ) that there would have been a face to face meeting where the decision was aired, and the written notice followed as would be expected and required.
      What precipitated that meeting, and what happened during it is what intrigues. Was it supposed to be simple reprimand of Rocker, and things somehow got out of hand..Rocker got exercised and told McG where to get off, thus escalating the reprimand to a canning? Maybe Rocker had enough and wanted to be fired…it’s usually more costly to resign.
      Regardless, I wouldn’t want to be the one to serve that one on CTR. I think I would just leave it on his desk or car seat.:)

      Like

  3. AusDawg85

    Assistant Head Coach and new Kirby regime probably don’t mix. But no resignation, seemingly blind-side firing, and no landing spot already in place with the assistance of a well placed phone call from the top suggests some bad friction occurred.

    Like

    • Yea, but Rocker’s sitting pretty with a cool half mil this year. He can take his time finding a new job.

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      • artful codger

        He supposedly has to demonstrate due diligence in pursuit of another job, which I don’t know how could be measured.

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      • Adam Owens

        Probably a fine line between NOT being a “yes man” and insubordination. I know nothing. Just a gut feeling.

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        • reality check here

          My gut tells me you are probably on the right track Adam Owens. However, the reason would likely not be on a fine line. Not being a yes man usually does not get you fired. Insubordination usually does. That is even when the employee is getting good results and Rocker did. The defensive line was his responsibility and I would argue it was the soundest unit on the team last year even with all the youth.

          I have no facts but I will see some knowledgeable sources tomorrow. I can tell you now there is a history of robust disagreement on the coaching staff. That is not necessarily bad, but it is a fact.

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  4. I consider losing Rocker to be a major loss.
    Losing an Assistant HC (also a DL Coach) Ia a big deal.
    Did the salary paid to an AHC play a part?
    Will the new Coach do as well? I Hope He Does.

    Firing an Assistant HC,(& a DL coach), is a big deal.
    Did the salary of an AHC play a part?

    Like

    • rob10274

      It definitely is a loss at this point, but the new guy could turn out to be pretty good himself. IMHO Rocker is more of an NFL guy than college.

      Like

  5. Dawgy1

    Rocker may of been done a favor in the long run. This coaching staff doesn’t impress me and could be headed to a major shakeup.
    I hope against hope I’m wrong, just not impressed.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Macallanlover

    If Rocker refused to come in for a face-to-face (major tell about acrimony, if so) then hand delivering a termination would be justified. Otherwise, sending a termination letter by courier is total bush league.

    And why wouldn’t the head coach handle the termination of a subordinate, and not the AD skipping a level down? This is the firing of a key cog in the staff, and a risk to take with players/recruits, there was more than just a little friction involved here.

    Like

  7. St. Johns Dawg

    Does anyone wonder why a well-known and respected assistant coach in the SEC like Rocker hasn’t been hired by another school in the whole United States? I mean, coaches like Rocker always get immediate offers unless they are damaged goods somehow. VERY rare for a healthy, capable coach to say “You know what, I’m just going to sit this one out and see what happens.” Hell, Richt couldn’t even do it. Maybe Rocker is in pursuit of something (like an NFL position) that hasn’t come to fruition yet … Just strange. The fact that he was “fired” by UGA might be telling … Then again, maybe not.

    Like

    • Dawgy1

      You have a point but, maybe he’s decided to just take his money and play golf for a year?
      If he was fired for some egregious reason I don’t think that he would have been able to keep his salary?

      Like

      • The Dawg abides

        Did you bother to read the story? He gets his salary this year, but had to sign an agreement not to discuss his dismissal. He also has to “diligently seek other employment to mitigate any contractual damages”. And that is an even bigger head-scratcher regarding him still being unemployed, a school could get him on the cheap with UGA paying the bulk of his salary.

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        • Dawgy1

          Yep I bothered to read it. My post has nothing to do with him signing a release or him seeking employment which is a joke because no one would expect him to take a job for a variety of reasons.
          I was responding to whether other schools seen him as damaged goods.
          But thanks for being a smartass.

          Like

        • Gaskilldawg

          He is entitled to the balance of his contract. Any post firing agreement to seek other employment to diligently seek other employment would not be enforceable without new consideration.

          If his existing contract required him to seek new employment then it is a part of the existing contract but signing such new agreement to get what he was already entitled to is unenforceable.

          Like

    • aladawg

      He has a kid entrenched at North Oconee. May be the biggest factor.

      Like

  8. ATL Dawg

    College football is as shady a business as used car sales. Lock the high schoolers into contracts before making staff changes. Gotta love it.

    College sports are pure. Not like those evil professional sports where it’s all about money.

    Like

  9. I’d say it’s a buyout but definitely not an outright firing. No need to shut someone up if there was a clear reason to justify a firing. This is Kirby not being happy enough about something, and that seems to be recruiting.

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  10. Chi-town Dawg

    I have no inside knowledge, so just pure speculation on my part. However, I have to wonder if the fact he was a holdover from CMR’s staff combined with losing 2 5-star instate DL recruits in 2016 (Brown) and 2017 (Solomon) had anything to do with it. There were also rumors about a blow up that Rocker supposedly had with Solomon’s mother. Either way, it’s all very unusual when combined with the fact the termination letter was delivered by messenger and came from McGarity as opposed to CKS. I liked Rocker and thought he was a good DL coach along with being a decent (not great) recruiter and wish him luck in his search. Now let’s see how the new guy does and hope he’s an upgrade.

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  11. ElectroM

    Coach Rocker should use this time off to write a book about his time at UGA. I would love to have a behind the scenes accounting of all the things that were happening. Jeremy Pruitt, the “mutiny” Rocker alluded to, the firing of Mark Richt and many other events, including Rocker’s own firing, would make for a best-seller.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jim

    Honestly I know as much as the next commentor which is next to nothing but Perhaps it’s a combination of things, possibly Rocker’s and Kirby Smarts philosophy didn’t jive together and they wanted to part ways. Friction in the circle of leadership, along with the recruiting violation could’ve possibly created an opportunity on the payroll for Kirby to offer his close friend Scott Cochrane a lucrative opportunity. I’m not sure, but I think he is in his last year of his contract at bama. I’m still not convinced that he can be pulled away from Saban, but everything I’ve read is that Cochrane and Kirby Smart are very very close. One can only wish

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  13. dawgfan

    There has to be a lot more to it than an incidental phone call to a recruit. The swimming coach kept his job for a much more serious violation. May 15 or 16 will be 90 days after the firing and maybe we will get the truth then.

    Like

  14. W Cobb Dawg

    Rocker was a good DL coach. Kirby’s gonna look awful foolish if replacement Scott bombs.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The Georgia Way

    Remember to get your ticket order in before the March 31 deadline for another competitive home schedule. We have a team that once again expects to be in the hunt at the beginning of the season.

    For those of you concerned about all these NCAA violations, you can be assured there will be no post-season ban announcement until every ticket order has been processed.

    #COMMITTOTHEG

    Like

  16. Russ2

    I wonder if Rockers dismissal has anything to do with the JC recruit from NC who was offered a schollarship in the last 2 weeks before signing day . Then UGA pulled the offer on Tuesday night before signing day. The JC recruit was committed to Ole Miss but was planning on picking either UGA or Miss on signing day. The kid ended up going to NC State. That was kind of an odd situation to pull offer when UGA did. Kind of interesting timing for that to go down then Rocker was fired right after. Just speculating .

    Like

    • Chi-town Dawg

      This could definitely be what brought things to an end. Perhaps Rocker was pissed about being told to pull the offer or Kirby wasn’t fully onboard with the offer. We signed a nice class, but there were a couple of real head scratching, un-Georgia like moments. The first was when we pulled the offer to the 4-star RB from Houston a week after convincing him not to visit UT and then pulling the offer for the JUCO DL from NC the night before signing day after he’d indicated that he was going to sign with UGA in order to bring in another DB.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dawg-n-bama

        Un-Georgia like moments??? More like “The New Georgia”. This is not supporting or throwing under the bus. With New leadership, changes to the way things are done were inevitable.

        Like

  17. Will Trane

    Lot of speculation swirls around the departure of Coach Rocker.
    We will all know for sure when the AJC releases their full documentary.
    Will be released the Friday before the Notre Dame game.
    2017 recruit class was void of defensive lineman. Two five stars in the state and not one goes to UGA. Then the loss of the North Carolina recruit. Failure to communicate or just not getting the job done as an assistant head coach.
    Have to remember who the DC is and where he came from…came with Coach Smart.
    Did not fit? Maybe. Mishandled? Maybe. Happens all the time in sports. Part of the arena, coach Richt.
    New hire. Who knows. Ask Chubb? He gave an answer in the Dome.
    Frankly, I have not been bogged down in this even those guys at Dawg Nation always do. Why? They have to have something to do this time of the year.
    Thanks goodness spring practice is around the corner.
    Think that baseball coach stays after this season. There is your waste of money coach.

    Like

    • Cojones

      GEDOUTTAHEAH! Just because LSU puts 22 runs on the board? What kinda waffler are you? 🙂

      Like

    • Dawg-n-bama

      Across the board, the UGA athletic program should be competing for championships yearly. In the Big 3 for men’s sports we have woefully under performed. And our AD for the most part seems to be accepting of it.

      Like

  18. Dawg-n-bama

    I think it is probably not what Rocker did, but rather what he did not do, recruit. I could be wrong.

    Like

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