Thank you for your support.

In the wake of Richt’s firing, 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.

The inspiration for that thought was watching the number of support staffers and assistants Alabama crowded into its coaching booth at that year’s Iron Bowl and comparing the attitude behind that with Butts-Mehre’s notorious cheap-ass approach to the Georgia program.

All of this came back to mind after I read something Seth Emerson wrote in his Mailbag post this week.

Back in February 2013, I counted up UGA as having $1.078 million towards the support staff, not including graduate assistants, assistant trainers, team chaplains, equipment managers, etc. There were four staffers (not counting assistant coaches) who were earning six figures. This year the overall support staff figure is a bit under $3 million. And there are 10 support staffers earning six figures.

Three things have happened on that front, in my opinion:

– The administration has signed off on more hires after Smart’s hiring. It’s not that Richt didn’t want some. I remember asking Richt about it around that time, and I actually expected him to scoff at all the quality-control hires by other schools, but instead Richt said he would “do what was best for Georgia,” and left it at that. It left me with the impression that he wanted to hire more, but was being a good soldier by not saying more publicly.

– Smart has come in with the Alabama mentality, which is a sense that you hire as many as possible to help out…

Before some of you get your asses bent out of shape ready to complain about how I’m denigrating Smart’s work, you need to realize I’m offering this as a compliment to Smart.

While I’ve bitched consistently about the lack of thought that went into the process that led to his hire, one thing I ought to concede about it is that there may not have been another coaching hire outside of Saban himself that would have gotten McGarity and the people McGarity answers to open up the checkbook in support of the football program the way Smart has managed.  That is entirely to Kirby’s credit and I don’t see how anyone who has watched the growth of the program this season and the likelihood that the importation of the Process has contributed significantly to that can disagree.

I also wrote at one point that Smart had his work cut out for him, not only in meeting expectations about raising the program’s profile, but also in terms of being the only person in the athletic department who had a real clue about what it took from top to bottom to create a success in today’s SEC.  That’s a lot to put on anyone’s plate, especially so for someone who had never been a head coach before.  That Kirby has succeeded says a lot about the man.  Let’s hope Butts-Mehre has the good sense to let him keep on keeping on.


Filed under Georgia Football

26 responses to “Thank you for your support.

  1. No Axe To Grind

    If BM doesn’t figure it out, Smart will not be hanging around long. You get what you pay for.


  2. Kirby has had the leverage from day 1 and knows it. He lost some of his leverage last year during his first year, but he still knew that the UGA power structure would be marching to his drum. I have no doubt that he knows that every person he works for knows their continued employment in Athens depends upon his performance and they will give him everything he says he needs to make it happen.


  3. 92 grad

    Kirby does deserve credit, at least so far. There are as many ways to organize a college football program as there are coaches so as far as the state of our program goes I’m glad that Kirby not only knows what he needs/wants but also that he has demonstrated the ability to effectively utilize the resources he has assembled. It’s not hard to find leaders/managers that don’t know how to use the information/resources given to them.


  4. Uglydawg

    If the U of Alabama was faced with a money crisis that somehow came down to cutting the budget of the football program by 5% or cutting the Medical School by 50%…well, we know how that would go. It isn’t that way at other schools and it shouldn’t be. Alabama is a world unto itself.


  5. Mdcgtp

    Senator, it was never about the “amount of thought” that went into Kirby’s hire. The points you have consistently missed is that there are no “sure things” and the right process varies depending on the circumstances. The one thing we know is time and place matter and fit is important. Sometimes that means hiring a proven coach through a process of multiple candidates with numerous interviews, and other times there is one candidate that simply makes more sense than others.

    For example, UF didn’t interview anyone else when they hired Meyer because he was such an easy and obvious choice. There are no easy choices for any of these programs in 2017. Kirby, win or not, was as easy a choice as has existed, In 2015, Bama was (and still is) at the ridiculously high level that Saban built it to. Kirby was an integral part of that process. At UGA, we have every reason to be believe Kirby could theoretically create something similar due to the talent in state, tradition and resources the program has, and his background. If Kirby didn’t exist, our process should have looked (and probably would have) looked a lot more like the process I believe you envisioned.


    • Those of us who had a problem with the hiring process didn’t like how it was done. Honestly, Kirby was the high risk, high reward candidate. He had no head coaching experience (as we saw a lot last year), was (and is) an excellent recruiter and tireless worker, and had worked with the best in the business. He was either going to be successful or was going to flame out wildly (think Boom at UF). At this point, he’s the right guy in hindsight, but to use that as a rationale for an excellent hiring process is just wrong, IMO, but I understand your perspective.


      • Mayor

        I wouldn’t be so quick to use Boom as an example of a flameout. I think most of the FU folks now think they acted prematurely in firing Boom. Boom actually had their program back on the right track–witness the 2 SEC East titles won by his successor with his players. As for Kirby, sometimes people (in this case B-M and the alums) fuck things but it turns out right anyway. They hired a guy for all the wrong reasons (fear someone else would hire him, he was a homegrown guy, one of us, etc.) but HE rose above the second raters at B-M and made things happen HIMSELF. If any of those limpdick SOBs at B-M don’t give Kirby every damn thing he asks for from now on, whoever it is needs to be shown the door pronto.

        Liked by 1 person

        • He may have had them on the right track but had burned every bit of political capital in north Florida. Hindsight by Gator Nation is interesting because after the Missouri game in 2014, they wanted to throw him in the swamp outside Gainesville and see if he could have survived. He was a dead man walking in Jacksonville and pulled that one out.

          I’ll say this about Boom. He seemed to learn his lessons from his stint at UF and is applying them well in Columbia. He has done a really good job this year.


  6. Cojones

    Kirby didn’t manage it into existence, rather, he was handed the Keys to the Kingdom along with the money to get it done, just as Richt wanted and B-M never granted. If B-M had backed Richt, we would have had more assistants added that he wouldn’t have to keep here by paying them out of his own pocket.

    Kirby can stand on his own record and strengths just as Richt could, only the deck was stacked against Richt and money wasn’t even turned loose for an indoor practice facility that B-M also knew was badly needed. Kirby is here now and doing a good job on his own without anyone having to prop him up more for what was gladly handed to him and unfairly kept from Richt to get this job done. We don’t have to compare or denigrate one coach compared to another. Richt and Kirby are both good men and coaches and Kirby has a long road to travel to equal Richt’s record.

    So be it as we cheer for our team to win this last scheduled game with aplomb and continue to move forward as loyal and worthy Dawgs who can accomplish so much this year with the loyalty of their Seniors leading the way. Go Dawgs!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Debby Balcer

      +1. Thank God Kirby is getting support from BM. You can not win without the backing of your athletic department.


      • Uglydawg

        You know a man’s post is a “must read” when he uses words like “aplomb”. Way to go, Cojo!
        And may the Seniors leave the Jackets as “pomme de rue” in the rear view mirror as they leave Atlanta with (hopefully) two more games to play in that city.


    • Macallanlover

      Good post Old Timer. As much as some can not let it go, Richt has moved on (but still loves us, and we him), and this is Kirby’s ship to manage. He has it going on in a big way with recruiting, seems to be improving on game day coaching/preparation, has gotten the support staff help to make them competitive, has team buy-in to their approach, and is positioned for a shot at another SEC title in Year 2. With some tweaking on the field staff for next year, we look ready to being an annual threat to anyone we face.

      Time for the antagonists to stop trying to divide the UGA fans with cheap shots that should be already buried in our past. Like a scab that is picked out, we need to let things heal and get behind Kirby, his staff, and this team. You don’t often get clear opportunities like the one facing this year’s team. Go Dawgs!

      Liked by 1 person

    • MLB2

      Great post, Cojo.


  7. BReynolds

    My fact-free hunch is not so much that BM made a brilliant move, but that to some degree they felt like they had to. The risk was not so much in hiring Smart, but instead I wonder if they felt that the greater risk was NOT hiring.

    As a result, their hiring process couldn’t be anything but ugly.


    • Dawgoholic

      Have to disagree on the hiring process. There were no “sure-fire” hires. Kirby was the best choice by far for two reasons:
      (1) Great recruiter (in the South too) so if he fails the cupboard is loade for the next guy.
      (2) Young and UGA is likely his dream job so if he succeeds you have a coach for 20 + years.

      No other potential candidates could offer either of those two. This was an obvious choice just like Erk was. Glad we didn’t screw this one up trying to look like we went through a “process.”


    • Tim in Sav

      And you know this exactly how?????


      • Tim in Sav

        I meant that to BR


        • Mayor

          The word was South Carolina was going to hire Kirby and some influential alums felt that Kirby would be a great “get” for the Cocks and put them ahead of CMR and the Dawgs. Personally, I think that if the Cocks did hire Kirby, the Dawgs could have hired him away from there after a year or two if it came to that. Momma calling and all that.


  8. Captain Obvious

    thank you Jimmy Sexton


  9. Coaches coming in have a lot of power and Smart has used it. I would not be surprised if he was not given a must do list by the previous head coach. Both are working out well and have leveraged their positions. Lessons learned.
    Now please beat Auburn. Living in Alabama, Bama fans are bad enough, but the little sister fans are now obnoxious as hell.