They’ve always had the best of intentions.

Over at Lucid Idiocy, Travis surveys the Georgia basketball program and doesn’t like what he sees.  So he turns to the obvious question and ponders what it might take to get better.

How do we improve? It seems obvious that some combination of smart decisions and throwing money at the problem is called for. We’re paying Mark Fox $1.7 million a year. Should he fail to earn that salary next year, why not pay someone else double, see what happens?

Count me within the school of thought that hiring a great head coach is far and away the best thing you can do for a college athletics program, and if it takes a stupid number to do it, so be it.

Count me in his school of thought.  Here’s the thing, though.  When it comes to Georgia athletics, there are competing priorities that can best be summarized through the prism of the athletic director’s primary role.

Specifically,

  • For the fan base, job one is hiring/employing the best coaches available.
  • For the major higher ups, job one is running the athletic department in the most fiscally favorable manner possible.
  • For the athletic director, job one is keeping the job.

That isn’t to say there aren’t other priorities in play.  Nobody on the Board of Regents is going to object to Georgia having winning athletic programs.  Nobody in the fan base wants to see Georgia operate like Rutgers.  That being said, I feel safe in saying our school of thought isn’t theirs.

In the wake of Richt’s dismissal, I once wrote that,

If you manage an SEC football program, there’s a difference between being committed to winning and being financially committed to winning.  Everybody wants to win.  The hard part is figuring out how to allocate resources to make sure that happens.  And, no, that doesn’t mean spending money like a drunken sailor.  (We’re looking at you, Tennessee.)  It simply means that if you think your rightful place is among the Alabamas, Floridas and LSUs of the world, you’d better take a hard look at what they’re doing and make sure you’re giving your coaching staff the opportunity to keep up with them.

I don’t see how anyone who’s observed the way Butts-Mehre has operated over the past quarter century can objectively state that the athletic department has done its job figuring out the hard part there, which is one big reason I’ve always had a reluctance to go overboard on coaching changes.  If Smart succeeds, for example, it’ll be in spite of his bosses, not because of them.

And for all of you who clamor for a change of athletic directors, who’s to say that will make a difference?  After all, the ultimate decision makers and their priorities aren’t going anywhere soon.

I used to think I’d quit blogging when the college football postseason changed so much it would rob me of my passion for following the sport.  I have to admit that of late I’m beginning to think it’ll happen because I can’t tolerate any more mediocrity, both in terms of results and administration, from Georgia athletics.  Hope I’m wrong on both counts, but I wouldn’t put any real money on either.

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53 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

53 responses to “They’ve always had the best of intentions.

  1. Bright Idea

    Until ALL of the state’s media start calling attention to the major decision makers, whomever they are, the status quo will remain with UGA athletics. Everybody in the world knows about t Lowder and Ranes at Auburn and Bryant, Jr. at Bama but few in Georgia have a clue who the puppet masters at UGA are. McGarity is just the front man.

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    • Otto

      Agreed but I think UGA has factions that donate in relatively equal terms and I think there are good odds that they often disagree.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      When McGarity retires, they will just hire another stooge willing to shake down the athletic board and annually rake tens of millions of dollars over to the university instead of the student-athletes.

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  2. Al

    Please. Do. Not. Quit.

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  3. Chi-town Dawg

    Senator – unfortunately, I share your pain, which is why after 25+ years I finally gave up my football season tickets. Basketball and baseball tickets were dropped a few years ago. It becomes harder and harder to believe the “we can’t walk and chew gum one project at a time” crap as they sit on a massive pile of cash and then hit the alumni up with increases and tales of woe. Clemson has lapped us in football and as much as we make fun of them, South Carolina has far better basketball and baseball programs than UGA. We’re falling further and further behind other SEC schools in a number of sports and the UGAA seems okay with it so long as the checks keep on rolling it. I sure hope we hit a home run with football because that’s what everyone is banking on to make us forget about all of the other problems.

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    • This. Between Clemson winning a natty and SC getting to the sweet 16 by walloping a Duke team after not winning a tourney game in like 40 years our state’s flagship university is behind a backward state like SC’s two schools. Sad.

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      • Irwin R. Fletcher

        Sometimes it helps to have a chip on your shoulder rather than being fat and happy. South Carolina was tired of being the 3rd wheel to Clemson and UGA and so they’ve dropped major coin on getting better through facilities and coaches.

        I think we talk about hiring decisions getting the AD fired…honestly, if Fox and the basketball program don’t come out next year, make the tourney, and keep us at the top of the SEC, I think you should start asking if you can fire a guy for not knowing when it’s time to cut bait.

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  4. Russ

    It does seem like we’re now spending on football like we want to win. Kirby seems to have gotten everything he’s wanted so far.

    I’d love to see us make a commitment to basketball. There’s no reason we can’t win. Hugh won, Tubby won, and Harrick won. Fox has gotten us to a consistent place, but I don’t think he can take us farther. If the next guy wins, be prepared to do what it takes to keep him.

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  5. Keese

    Kirby ain’t the answer to UGA football either

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    • Otto

      Maybe maybe not but I think he is changing it in a needed direction. We will see if he can win.

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      • Russ

        I agree. On the field performance hasn’t indicated an upgrade (yet), but I think football is getting all the other support they need to succeed, such as eleventeen analysts and an IPF.

        I’d like to see a similar commitment to basketball, but honestly, I don’t know what that looks like. More focus by the press/blogging corp could start to highlight those issues.

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        • Otto

          I’ll add signing the limit and the recruiting room in the end zone renovation. it blows my mind UGA did not have a room like that.

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  6. I understand that we don’t have the history of UK or the program “name” in basketball…but UT found their star coach in Bruce Pearl (before the cheating)….and i do think we can find a coach that can make NCAA Tournaments….and win some SEC Titles….and if we have to pay him a top salary, why not when we have it?

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    • Otto

      UGA wouldn’t spend for Tubby’s salary or facilities, maybe that will change but with this generation of boosters I doubt it.

      Senator you are demanding more out of B-M, keep it up.

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    • SC had even less basketball history than UGA. Hadn’t won a game in the tournament in like 40 years. And now they are in the sweet 16.

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      • Otto

        As of the past 40 years yes, however many USC fans will tell you differences between McGuire and Dean Smith had more to do with USC leaving than ACC than football. McGuire had SC basketball very competitive but the funding dried up with out money from a conference. I would put the programs in a toss up.

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      • 86BONE

        I find it very hard to believe that USC & Woo Pig are both that far ahead of us in basketball, as well as baseball for that matter.
        Speaking of which, I had planned a trip over to Alex Box for the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon game. Looked to book at the Watermark downtown and make a fun little weekender out of it….but then I thought better. Why spend the time, money and effort to go watch another mediocre UGA team get beat….SAD

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        • Chi-town Dawg

          With all of our in-state talent, there’s no reason USCjr, Arkansas or most other schools should be ahead of us in basketball and baseball. However, when you look at the on field results, they dispute this belief. Also, we keep falling each year in the Directors Cup (or whatever it’s called now) rankings, which is probably the best barometer of a school’s overall athletic performance.

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          • Otto

            Arky has had a decent basketball program for decades. USCe has been spending money catching up across the board. SOS may have something to do with the increased funding from the Alums.

            Liked by 1 person

          • We’ve run the gymnastics program into the ground. Both basketball programs appear to be dumpster fires in waiting. The football program is in transition and who knows where that’s going – championships or the wilderness. The baseball program would be an insult to dumpster fires – the whole damned landfill is blazing. The swimming program is still good, but Bauerle isn’t getting younger. The tennis program isn’t where it once was, and Diaz in particular is on the backside of his career. The men’s golf program is struggling this year and can’t even win a tournament at Athens CC. The track program appears to be doing well but in a tough neighborhood.

            It’s not a great time in Georgia athletics in 2017.

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            • Otto

              Gymnastics has improved from the prior coach. It was built into a dynasty on a very fortunate hire, who with the help of rival Alabama also built the entire sport into something far more competitive than it was before she was hired.

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              • No doubt but when you fall from titles to irrelevance, it’s not good for the program. Can Durante turn the program back into a juggernaut? Probably not. Can she bring the Gym Dogs back to relevance in the SEC and national championship conversation? Hopefully.

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                • Otto

                  4th in the SEC ins’t ideal but not irrelevant. I admit I do not keep up with their W/L record but they just beat #5 Utah.

                  Looking at UGA sports UGA should be winning in women’s soccer at least be near the top of the SEC.

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                  • My point is that we’ve made the Super 6 recently but not even considered a real threat to win the title. I believe that 4th is out of 8 … it’s mediocre considering that very few schools even offer the sport.

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        • Governor Milledge

          Go check out SC’s arena – it’s comparable to any major university basketball facility (and frankly reminded me of an NBA facility). They use it frequently for major concerts, the circus, etc.

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  7. 3rdandGrantham

    “I used to think I’d quit blogging when the college football postseason changed so much it would rob me of my passion for following the sport. I have to admit that of late I’m beginning to think it’ll happen because I can’t tolerate any more mediocrity, both in terms of results and administration, from Georgia athletics.”

    About 6-7 years ago, I went from a passionate UGA football fan who loved all things UGA football, to someone who merely liked UGA football and was far from consumed with it. Why? Because I finally realized (with the help of a few personal setbacks) that I had absolutely no control over the overall direction of UGA football, so why on earth was I spending so much time being consumed with something I had no input or control over — particularly considering all the knuckleheads we have in charge of the program?

    I’m far, far happier these days as a result, and ironically enough, even though the team hasn’t been successful as some of CMR’s earlier teams, I’m a much happier and content fan to boot. Whereas previously I just had to watch every UGA game in-person or live on TV, these days I mostly DVR the games and play catch up later so that I can enjoy outdoor hobbies, play with the kids, or do really anything else that I have some type of control over. And when UGA wins a game, it’s nice overall but doesn’t really make the day any better, and conversely when UGA loses I might fret about it for 10 minutes or so before moving on to more important things.

    Not sure how many of you feel the same way as I do and/or are in the same situation, but for those who are, its certainly a better way to enjoy UGA football than to seemingly agonize over every play, isn’t it?

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    • Cousin Eddie

      Completely agree. Until the administration wants to win, or at least acts like it why should I care. McG has stated to many times about spend “middle of the pack money” well sir that is what you get, middle of the pack.

      Spending an extra $1.7 mil for a BB coach shouldn’t be a problem with the size of the budget, it really wouldn’t be noticeable, but with that type of coach he will want facility up grades. That is where the problem will be as those things cost real dollars.

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    • Chi-town Dawg

      My feelings towards the UGA sports programs are exactly the same as 3rdand G. You did a great job of summarizing where I am and how I got there!

      Like

    • I’m starting to get to the point where golf or some random family activity may be better than watching Georgia sports teams on any given Saturday with or without a DVR.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        Give it a try sometime and see how it works out for you ee. A good way to ease into it — so to speak — is to is to choose a lessor game to skip/DVR (particularly one during the day), and use that time instead to do a fun hobby of your own or something fun with the family. You might find that doing something that directly impacts you or something you have control over ends up being far more enjoyable and meaningful overall.

        Worst case is you’ll free up 2 hours of your time that you would have wasted sitting through all those ED commercials or local car dealer ads screaming “all applications accepted!” at you. If you’ve never DVR’d a UGA game and watched it later, you’ll be amazed just how much of that 3 1/2 hours or more is total wasted filler.

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        • dawginutah

          I’ve had to go this route in the past few years. My kids youth football plays their games on Saturdays (I know, Utah) and generally speaking the start times to all have given me no other choice than to DVR the games. At the time it pissed me off, but looking back, this has made games much more enjoyable for me. I am not as emotionally invested in the game as I once was. It no longer is an all day affair. I go watch my kids play and get home and, depending on who the opponent is, I catch up or start over.

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          • 3rdandGrantham

            Where in Utah? Great, great state…love it out there.

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            • dawginutah

              Stansbury on the other side of the mountains west of SLC. Work in Dugway. It really is a great place to live and raise a family. Moved out in 2012 and have not regretted it one day.

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              • Olddawg 55

                My wife and I are Utah alums with lifetime ties to UGA and Georgia in general. If you’re in Utah and not LDS, you get used to being second-class to BYU in all sports. We had a fling at both football and basketball short take on national fame but you’ve got a lot of outdoor’s sports to enjoy. I’ve been all over the states but maintained my TV ties to UGA football. It’s been my main tie to the state and I’ve ridden the roller coaster rides with the coaches/talent/athletic board over the years. Now in my dotage I find the TV a happy medium to sports, having coached and played the big three in my early/middle years. Don’t miss out on your family but don’t give up on the Dawgs in any sport. The old adage of “this too in time shall pass” will serve as a salve to any discontent. Enjoy Dugwaay as much as you can but don’t give up the 80 inch tie to the world.

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        • I do that sometimes for away games. The question will be the day I give up my season tickets is likely the day I’m just done with it. 🙂

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  8. Monettadawg

    And what about our poor little baseball team that’s just down the road from all that Cobb Co. talent.

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    • RG

      I know! Makes me sick. And the CSRA area around Augusta is talent rich. I realize that Clemson and South Carolina pull from there given its proximity to their state but we should get our fair share.

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  9. RugbyDawg79

    The florida game used to affect me for the rest of the year now it only changes my life for a couple of weeks – age probably has a lot to do with this.

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  10. MattR

    Senator, I know all good things must come to an end…but don’t even breathe a word about quitting. I would be lost!

    However, I believe Saban said it best when he arrived at Alabama when he said he wanted to be at a place that was ‘institutionally committed ‘ to winning. UGA has made strides recently but I don’t think they are at the same place as others are.

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    • 92 grad

      In the past I’ve had occasion to ask an old boss or colleague questions of the “general status of my program/situation” as I try to measure out reasonable expectations for the year/semester. I’d like to think that Kirby can consult with Saban on things and I wonder if he bounces things off his mentor occasionally. I do wonder if Kirby chooses his words to the press based on frustrations he has with things his boss tends to move slowly on or ignore.

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  11. Atticus

    Baseball is an epic disaster as well.

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  12. ToccoaDog

    Most Athletic departments use fundraising to help make the teams successful. The UGA uses the teams to help make fundraising successful.

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  13. BulldogBen

    I’m convinced that UGA will never be good again at hoops until we win a National Title in football. UGA as a fanbase is so starved to get one that I think all other spending seems frivolous to these people. Maybe when that monkey is off our backs, more focus will be put on it. That said, UGA has only 12 NCAA appearances. Florida now has 11 SWEET SIXTEEN appearances. It’s all about the coaching hire. Florida isn’t UK, who has been good for 75 years, most of those runs have been in the last 20 years. Maddening.

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  14. Malcolm x

    SENATOR BLUTARSKY…DON’T QUIT.

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  15. UGA85

    What is our problem? Atlanta explodes and UGA athletics tank. Our problems pre-dated Mcgarity. They even pre-dated Jan Kemp. We have never been, athletically speaking, what we should be, but the issue is now more obvious, given demographic changes and growth. There is some kind of defeatist mentality at work. It almost takes deliberate incompetence to be as bad as we are across the board, given relative resources, etc. It’s very frustrating.

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    • Olddawg 55

      I belive that we are missing the Atlanta connection in Basketball…what is the relationship with Fox/UGA and the Atlanta area coaches…especially the AAU coaches? That’s got to be cured if it’s not working. Look at all the athletes with size that just sit because they’re not 5/4 stars…some of those kids are real gamers and deserve a look.

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  16. BulldogBen

    Also, so many of these posts are dripping with middle age. Oh you don’t lose your shit over losing to Florida like you did when you were 27 now that you’re married with 2.5 kids and a mortgage?

    I’m shocked.

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  17. ApalachDawg

    I’m middle aged and get pissed when uga loses a game. But I lose my shit when we lose to the nerds and/or the gayturds. So basically I’ve been pissed off since 1990 on Fall Saturdays save for a few years here and there.
    What the hell is wrong with y’all that ho-hum a loss to these fuckers. Now I’m pissed that someone on this blog (whom I’d consider a die-hard Dawg) wouldn’t get pissed about losing to those bunch of cheese dicks.
    Back to my Guinness…

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  18. 69Dawg

    With age comes wisdom Senator. We both are too old to continue to beat our heads against the rock that is the Georgia Way. I still want them to win but I find myself going into a game now thinking we are going to lose. If we win I’m happy but if we lose, heck I knew going in we would. It calms me down. I no longer believe in the team like I did when I was young. I just can’t stand getting setup for the heartache that Georgia football has become. I wish Kirby nothing but the best but I expect the worst.

    Like

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