Friends, Greg McGarity has a problem.
He’s a modest guy, someone who doesn’t like tooting his own horn in public. How, then, to sell the first good year of his career to a skeptical fan base, at a time when his contract is coming up for renewal?
It’s time for one of the great buddy acts of Georgia athletics, folks. That’s right: enter Mark Bradley.
We sometimes say that a coach is coaching for his/her job. There’s no equivalent for an athletic director. (“Directing for his/her job?” Nah.) Because Morehead is nearly as inscrutable in his public utterances as his AD, it’s unknown whether another lesser Georgia season would have been cause for directorial change. Today the questions are rather different. McGarity, who’s 63, is under contract through June 2019. Shouldn’t he be given a raise – he makes $675,000 per year, well below the SEC’s going rate – and an extension? Then again, are we even sure he wants to stay?
Oh, FFS. One modestly good year and suddenly he’s allowed to play hard to get?
And one good year is all we’re talking about.
McGarity is an Athens native and a UGA grad. When he was hired as AD, there was widespread rejoicing. (“One of our own!”) In some circles, that soon yielded – I don’t fully grasp just why, and I’ve tried hard to understand it – to utter scorn. To hear his critics, McGarity was a do-nothing whose doing-nothing did harm to the program under his stewardship. He didn’t support his coaches. He didn’t care about the fans. He wouldn’t spend money. (Never mind that enough counter-examples existed to laugh those claims out of court.)
Firing Richt – which many Georgia fans wanted to see happen, but never mind that, too – only deepened the discontent. When Smart’s Year 1 was an epic fizzle and McGarity stuck with Fox and Stricklin … well, the grousing rose to a mighty din. (Rumor: Billy Payne would replace him as AD any minute.) A year later, McGarity stands rewarded in his faith in Smart, Stricklin and Taylor, and his choice to succeed Fox – Tom Crean – arrived with better credentials than any Georgia basketball hire ever.
The neat trick Bradley plays here is with time compression. He’d have you believe McGarity just had a bad blip and now everything is back on track. The reality is that when McGarity was hired, he acknowledged his mission was athletic championships, something that’s been noticeably absent during his tenure. (Not that it’s affected his tenure, of course.)
Bradley’s examples indicate how weak a case he makes. Taylor has brought some life back to the women’s basketball program, but it’s not as if her team made much of a mark in the conference or the NCAA tourney. Sticklin deserves credit for this season’s breakthrough, but he’s the flip side of the coin to Mark Fox, who got the same benefit of the doubt from McGarity. Crean at this point is nothing more than the result of throwing a lot of money at a problem; sure, there’s new hope, but he hasn’t coached a single game yet. Which leaves us with what we know is the real bottom line here — after a process that developed from being told to do what the boosters expected, McGarity wants the credit for Kirby Smart’s talent.
Don’t let that stand in the way of a victory lap, though. Bradley sure isn’t.
If there was ever reason to believe McGarity was in over his head, recent events stand as compelling evidence to the contrary. He’d never say so himself, but Georgia’s AD has done his alma mater proud.
Meanwhile, nothing but aw, shucks from Butts-Mehre.
Does McGarity feel gratified by all the above? Silly question. His response: “No personal vindication whatsoever. It is gratifying to see the success our coaches and student-athletes are experiencing.”
Look, I doubt the court of public opinion will have much bearing on where McGarity’s career goes from here. At best, puff pieces like this are nice things to waive at folks like us who’ve grumbled, but the reality is that for the folks who really matter, Greg McGarity has been a faithful soldier. If he’s given the chance to re-up, that’ll be why.
25 responses to “Mark Bradley’s take on McGarity’s contract year is utterly predictable.”
All one need do is look at where UGA was in the Sears Cup standings (or whatever it is now) pre 2005, then 2009, then last year, and this year. McJughead hasn’t just diddle with the big 3, he’s been a failure in the other sports, or a mediocrity. Nice job with the tennis facilities and the NCAA tournament, too. Kirby had a great year last year, but if McJughead was in charge, would we have hired Dan Mullen? I knew Joel Eaves. I knew Coach Dooley. They were ADs, not puppets. McJughead is a puppet.
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Ok. I looked. We are 15 right now. Second in SEC behind UF who is 12. As soon as we add water polo and fencing we should crack the top 10.
Don’t let facts get in the way of insignificant people complaining that they feel like McGarity’s primary concern is not making sure that insignificant people feel important. The Georgia fanbase will always blame McGarity for anything that goes badly and will not give him any credit when something goes well. It has nothing to do with whether or not he has successfully done what Morehead / Adams wanted him to do.
Thanks for your input, Mrs. McGarity! We were a top 5 overall program before Jughead arrived. Didn’t CMR get fired for underachieving? Sauce for the gander, etc.
You missed the point. Most fans and most of the people bitching about McGarity have no connection to the school, do not care about it as an academic institution, and do not care about any team other than football. There are a number of legitimate criticisms one can make about McGarity, mostly PR related, but most of the vitriol you see and hear is from fans rationalizing their dislike of the man. If we make it back to being a consistent top 5 institution, the same people bitching about McGarity will claim that he had nothing to do with the return to prominence, that he is just a puppet for person X, etc.
All you need to ask yourself is, would any other P-5 school in the country (much less any other SEC school) hire McGarity to be its AD???
Start by listing the very few who failed to make the post season jn football, basketball, AND baseball.
Oh, look. There’s one within driving distance of Greg’s house.
His timing is great. Smart isn’t quite to the point of having enough clout to give the backroom “thumbs down” signal. And with the football program on afterburners, no one is going to want to rock the boat.
Is that leverage? In the world of college athletics, and especially Athens, probably.
In college sports, the total body of work is not as important as the present moment. Like him or not (he has his flaws), his “good year” has been very good.
The BBall firing/coaching search was handled very well (I think Crean will be a huge upgrade). His retention of Stricklin looks wise. You may not want to give him credit for the Richt fire/Kirby hire (he botched the fire), but if everyone was going to roll him had Kirby tanked, it’s not fair to give him no credit for getting the hire done. Not all “no brainer” hires are executed. Ask Vince Dooley about Erk.
Even the wallet has been opened up a bit.
Considering trash receptacle conflagrations like UT, LSU, ASU, Ole Miss, FSU and many others, UGA is looking pretty good. We seem to be slowly getting away from the Evans/Adams/Dooley “self destruction in the service of sanctimony” way of doing things.
I don’t see the difference between how long he let Fox hang around and the same with Sticklin. He guessed right on one and wrong on the other; neither met McGarity’s alleged standard of production before this year. It’s hard to see how that’s not a product of luck rather than astute observation.
He hired Smart because he was told to do so. You want to give him credit for that, be my guest.
My criticism related to Smart’s hire was the process that led to it, as you note, rather than Smart himself. Had Smart not panned out last year, my stance wouldn’t have changed.
Hiring Crean wasn’t luck. He focused on a guy, got turned down. He pivoted to the next guy on his list and signed him up. Crean looks like a winner. It is a solid move, even if he dosen’t work out. If it dosen’t though, McGarrity will be responsible and should be accountable, regardless of how good it looks now.
He might be lucky, but he has to live with the consequences either way, fair or not. I’m not saying he’s a great AD, but if the programs are winning, there are no scandals and stature of the Athletics Department is moving forward relative to its peers, McGarrity gets to enjoy the spoils.
Regardless of the past year, there is competence and utility in not fucking up a complex system in a dynamic environment while implementing large-scale changes. A lot of leaders can’t pull that off. He deserves credit for that, even if some might not consider that significant.
Didn’t mean to imply hiring Crean was luck. As I said in my post, Crean was the result of throwing a lot of money at a problem.
The luck part was Stricklin working out.
Again, neither your perception nor mine matters here. It’s just whether the boosters are satisfied. My guess is that the money rolling in matters most, followed by McGarity’s compliance. The thing is, I suspect there are plenty of others out there who could live up to that kind of standard.
how smart to you have to be to chase a “name” guy? Long as you’re willing to throw money at him, sure, it’s a safe pick. Guy has a rep (like Charlie Weis, maybe?), you pick him, pay him and if he messes up, hey, he was the hot guy.
Not saying Crean is Charlie Weis, by any means, but you don’t have to be Red Auerbach to figure out a guy like him, or Matta, would be an obvious choice. How can anyone blame poor old Ears for betting on chalk?
The man is a UGA tennis letterman. He let the facilities that Dan Magill built languish to such a state that we can’t even get the NCAA championship back on campus. The same championship that Dan Magill built into an event. For that alone he should be fired.
But you’re right, as long as he answers the calls of the liquor baron, he’ll be fine.
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You want to put money into tennis facilities so we can host a NCAA tournament once every 5+ years?!? Good God man happy you are not the AD.
Based on that comment, I’m happy you’re not the AD either.
Well, you know how tight money is these days.
I think they’re all overpaid so in a way McGarity is no more of a failure than any of the others.
Positive – he makes less than the others and he’s not going to be pulled over holding red panties.
Negative – out of touch with the fans, doesn’t do enough to fight for our athletes against the NCAA.
Yeah, it’s not so much that he’s under compensated, his peers are grossly overpaid. If they (athletic associations) didn’t have to aggressively unload so much money by any means they can, would they pay the revenue sport staff and admin these multi million dollar contracts? It’s all just money laundering for the good of the student athletes.
I don’t really care about anything outside of football. If CKS is winning titles everything else is just icing on the cake. Having said that, I’ve been done with ADGM ever since the handling of the Todd Gurley scandal. But as long as he stays out of Kirby’s way his presence doesn’t effect my life, well except for his ticket pricing swings.
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I appreciate the Senator for doing the legwork by providing a synopsis and link to the blathering of Mark Bradley- mildly surprised he still has the AJC gig. Thankfully I cancelled my AJC access year’s ago and my wallet thanks me for it. Good riddance!
Since Greg Mediocrity hit town he’s been a liability. Has no PR skills and isn’t interested in learning any. His biography is one screw-up after another: TG3 suspension, firing of CMR couldn’t have been handled worse, auburn schedule screw-up, kept Fox too long, Ludacris contract, etc., etc.
Let his contract expire and let him move to his rightful pace in the dustbin of history. And for goodness sake hire somebody with fundamental skills for the job.
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McGarrity, A former UGA tennis player, has royally screwed the tennis program. By dragging his feet upgrading the indoor tennis facility, Georgia’s bid to continue hosting the NCAA tennis championships every 3 years was rejected. Hosting every three years (as opposed to every other year which was common in the 1990s) is a huge benefit on recruiting, and the Athens crowds, while highly partisan, are widely considered to provide one of the best experiences for both fans and players.
I went to the men’s SEC tennis championships in Tuscaloosa a few tears back, and they had a brand new state of the art facility. UGA is not keeping up.
The tail is wagging the dog at BM. Starting with Coach Pruitt coming in and saying “What the heck is going on here?”, to Kirby ushering in Bama East – Greg McGarity has demonstrated a lack of creative imagination with respect to facilities, program marketing and adequate coaching adjustments. I agree, one year of success does not overshadow the overall mediocrity during McGarity’s tenure as UGA’s AD.