Even a blind Georgia Way finds an acorn sometimes.

Some of you will doubtlessly find other sections of this Andy Staples piece on the Sabanization of the Georgia program more interesting, but for me, this is the part that really sticks out:

After the 2015 season, Georgia officials took a big risk: They fired Mark Richt to create an opening for Smart. Richt had gone 145–51 in 15 seasons in Athens, winning two SEC titles. Richt had already lost much of his political capital after a strange choice to start third-string quarterback Faton Bauta against Florida even though neither of his first two quarterbacks were injured. The 27–3 loss to the Gators was bad enough, but Georgia officials decided the Richt era needed to end late in the 2015 season after watching the Bulldogs celebrate an overtime win against Georgia Southern as if they had won the Super Bowl. A few days earlier Saban had delivered a now-infamous rant in which he described an opposing offense as going “through us like s— through a tin horn.” (The team Saban was referring to was, ironically, Georgia Southern). The Georgia brass wanted its program to have a similar attitude. With South Carolina sniffing around Smart while seeking a replacement for Steve Spurrier, Georgia fired Richt after a 13–7 win over Georgia Tech on Nov. 28. Athletic director Greg McGarity signed Smart to a six-year contract a week later.

When Smart accepted the job, McGarity didn’t issue marching orders. He asked questions. What did Smart now need from the administration to build a championship program? “He needed to educate us,” McGarity says, “about what it meant to go big-time.”

 “Georgia officials” — plural — drove the change.  Greg McGarity needed to be educated.  Kirby schooled his bosses.

The rest of us got lucky.



Filed under Georgia Football

19 responses to “Even a blind Georgia Way finds an acorn sometimes.

  1. Castleberry

    Sickening that we had to hire a head football coach so someone could explain the athletic director’s job to him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • No One Knows You're a Dawg

      About the nicest thing I can say regarding McGarity is that I guess he’s not the worst athletic director in college sports, but still…


      • I think there is an unstated element that everyone is missing: 1.) did McG ever ask questions to Richt about what was needed, or 2.) did Richt not know.

        The Senator has made the point before that simply providing additional resources is only half the solution—you still have to know how to deploy those resources, which requires extreme organization and strategic vision. My argument all along (and I’m not defending McG), is that Richt never demonstrated to the decision makers that he actually knew what to do with any extra resources they provided. Fair or not, his passivity often times comes across as being reactionary and a little aloof.


  2. Bulldog Joe

    So they were actually interested in winning?

    Well, knock me over with a feather.



  3. I have no doubt that Kirby sat down with President Morehead during his final interview. Morehead likely asked him the question of what did he see was necessary to take the program to the next level. I’m sure Kirby told him exactly what he needed, and Morehead said yes. People who run down Morehead as part of the Georgia Way have no idea what they are talking about. He wants what’s best for the institution as a whole. He knows winning athletics will lead to positives across the university.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. AthensHomerDawg

    “He knows winning athletics will lead to positives across the university.”
    I hope you’re right but what else besides Equestrian and Football is bringing home trophies?


    • Maybe I should have said it differently … He knows winning football will lead to positives across the university.

      My point is that he is Bulldog through and through. If you ever have a chance just to chat with him for more than a meet and greet, you see a passion for everything Georgia. He had a passion for his students as someone who had him as an undergrad (even now, he still leads a First Year Odyssey), he goes to events all over campus (I’ve seen him at University Chorus concerts), and he seems to be a leader that Adams never was. I’ll admit I’m biased, but he’s a DGD in my book.

      Liked by 2 people

      • AthensHomerDawg

        I’ve never met him. My youngest son holds him in high regard.


      • Athens Townie

        I’m biased too but I’m high on Morehead’s leadership and style as well. He sincerely loves UGA and works hard to improve the institution. He’s also just a genuine and humble person. We’re lucky to have him, IMO.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. SCIllinois

    This. Attitude and expectations matter a lot. I see it in my line of work everywhere. There are places with a culture of “how can we get better today, because yesterday wasn’t good enough (even if it was pretty nice)” and there are places that foster a culture of complacency and “good enough.”

    So many examples in sports. The USMNT didn’t qualify for the 2018 World Cup and the head coach, the next day, said “The fundamentals of our program are sound; it just wasn’t our day.” That should be an immediately fire-able offense. For a more foreign example, Arsenal fans have watched their team celebrate 4th place like it was a trophy. Absolutely infuriating.

    This is a more controversial example, but also think about all the winning the Braves did in the 1990s without bringing home titles. Bobby Cox was a relaxed clubhouse guy; Nick Saban is not. “Good enough” is great when you’re blessed with several generational talent starting pitchers, but not when the margins of playoff games – especially in the wild card era – are tight.

    That said, CMR still deserves a prominent place in the pantheon of UGA coaches for what he did on and off the field.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Doyle Hargraves

    Couldn’t be more pleased with the results, but this could’ve easily gone horribly wrong. But you know what…we were due a break

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jt (the other one)

    Well Richt knew he was gone the week after the Florida debacle. It was formally announced after the Nerd game.


    • Otto

      Maybe maybe not, the Georgia Southern game solidified it.

      I find this interesting:

      Georgia officials decided the Richt era needed to end late in the 2015 season after watching the Bulldogs celebrate an overtime win against Georgia Southern as if they had won the Super Bowl.

      I have been saying since Richt was fired, an OT win over your snot nosed little brother who couldn’t keep his grades up did more to get Richt fired than a loss to Bama.


      • I tend to agree that game slammed the door completely. Not being able to push Georgia Southern off the LOS was the absolute final straw for a lot of people.


  8. The Dawg abides

    I can’t believe Staples did such shoddy research. The “tin horn” game was in 2011, four seasons earlier. It was when Southern still ran the true triple option that Johnson runs. They scored 21 on Bama’s defense and rushed for a ton. Four years difference is a pretty big gap to miss, but I guess the story tied well to Staples’ narrative. More should be expected from SI. Someone should call him out on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Athens Townie

      Good call. It doesn’t really change the point that Richt wasn’t committed enough to excellence. But that’s an important detail he should’ve gotten right.