Lead, follow or get out of Kirby’s way.

Once upon a time, I wrote this in the wake of the Richt firing:

… Regardless of where you think Richt falls on the performance spectrum, you cannot deny that for the bulk of his time in Athens, he was not allowed the resources to duke it out with Georgia’s main rivals.

Forget about the IPF. Georgia was one of the last schools to give out multi-year contracts to assistant coaches. (Ironically, the administration got away with that because of staff loyalty to Richt.) Saban bulks up support staff; Richt is forced to come out of his own pocket to pay bonuses to his assistants. Georgia’s recruiting budget was far short of what other conference schools were allocating until this year.

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.

This is what allocating resources to make sure that happens looks like. (h/t Argondawg)


Stadium obtained the NCAA Financial Reports for the 2018 fiscal year for more than 50 FBS schools, most of which play in a Power Five conference. These reports are submitted to the NCAA annually, and they list detailed financial data regarding the operating revenue and expenses for each school’s athletic department.

That includes how much schools spent on recruiting.

Among the schools examined, Georgia’s $2.6 million spent on football recruiting in 2017-18 ranked first, and that spending yielded the No. 1 recruiting class in 2018, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings…

After analyzing annual million-dollar investments into recruiting, recent win totals and historical AP polls, we’re left with a recipe that tells us the surest way to land an elite recruiting class is to:

1.) invest at least $750,000 annually (but more likely at least $1.2 million) in recruiting,
2.) field a football team that has recently experienced high-level success, and
3.) be able to boast about your program’s proven winning culture.

But how many schools can check all three boxes?

Before you ask, yes, Alabama wasn’t included in Stadium’s data collection, but if you look here, you can see that Saban and Smart are essentially neck and neck in spending on recruiting.  The apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree, in other words.

While Kirby deserves the lion’s share of the credit for Georgia’s recruiting success, Butts-Mehre’s role in that can’t be ignored.  It’s not simply a matter of giving Smart a blank check (admittedly, that’s a change in direction); it’s also a matter of having an athletics administration that’s rowing the boat in a synchronous fashion with its football staff.  Having all hands on the same page is something new for Georgia’s athletic department and look where it’s gotten the football program.

Whether that’s the result of desperation, fear, or simple resignation that Smart is better at managing this whole football thing, doesn’t really matter.  Georgia is checking all three of those boxes right now, and that’s good enough.


Filed under Georgia Football, Recruiting

24 responses to “Lead, follow or get out of Kirby’s way.

  1. Bright Idea

    B-M wanted Richt to close the border in recruiting which would also save money. Kirby has opened the border which costs a lot more. Does he really have a recruiting budget or does he just spend what it takes until he’s told to stop at some point? And who’s gonna’ tell him?


  2. This kind of stuff makes it apparent that student athletic fees need to become opt-in fees. I don’t mind the recruiting expense because we’re getting results, but students shouldn’t be forced to provide a subsidy to the athletic program if they don’t use the benefit.


    • Normaltown Mike

      students get free or reduced price tickets to athletic events. That’s what the fee pays, last I checked.


      • My point is that many students have no desire to get football tickets or go to baseball game. Why should they have to pay the athletic fee? It should be an opt-in choice. If you don’t pay the fee, you can’t buy a student ticket either direct from the AA or get one through transfer.


  3. DugLite

    I thought GaTech had practically given up on football, but boy Wisky has almost quit trying.


  4. Hogbody Spradlin

    I know I’m complaining about good things happening to bad people, but how did Corch do it on the cheap at Ohio State?


  5. Is it possible that BM had no faith that Richt would know how to properly deploy the additional resources?

    It’s not as if he hadn’t provided reasonable evidence that he wouldn’t.


    • W Cobb Dawg

      Agree. For years CMR wasted money (resources, if you prefer) on hangers-on like Van Halanger and Eason. A seach for the top S&C position was effectively walking down the hall and asking Joe T if he wanted it. If someone said “CMR wouldn’t be outworked”, like its said frequently to describe Kirby, everyone would start laughing.

      I’m not excusing BM – they’d say ‘hold my beer’ in the competition for wasting resources. The last useless holdover is Greg Mediocrity. I guess he has sense enough to keep out of Kirby’s way.


      • I just think that Saban’s model broke Richt. He came up under Bowden, whose MO was to just out-talent people and don’t sweat the details.

        Saban is CEO level organized, sweated every detail, and had an NFL background in quality control, analytics, etc.

        Richt was the perfect person and perfect personality when he was hired in 2001. He was the absolute worst personality to have when Saban returned in 2007.


        • dawgman3000

          Spot on gatriguy.


        • Mayor

          My recollection is that CMR beat Saban (remember the 2005 SECCG and the ’07 Bama game?) so it ain’t just Saban. CMR is 2-4 against Saban lifetime and if the Dawgs move the ball 5 more yards in the 2012 SECCG that record is 3-3. It’s the whole B-M lack of financial support thing that was the problem back then. The B-M crowd is afraid of Kirby so they give him whatever he wants. They weren’t afraid of CMR.


          • ATL Dawg

            Les Miles was the LSU coach in 2005. And Richt was 2-5 against Saban, not 2-4.

            2003 at LSU – LSU won
            2003 SECC – LSU won
            2004 at UGA – UGA won
            2007 at Bama – UGA won
            2008 at UGA – Bama won
            2012 SECC – Bama won
            2015 at UGA – Bama won


          • 2005 wasn’t Saban. And 2007 was an OT win against his first team.


    • ATL Dawg

      That was definitely part of it.

      They were taking a very cheap and risk averse approach. Richt was giving them good enough results to keep enough money flowing in to justify not taking on the risk of making a change. However, the bottom fell out on that approach during the 2015 season. They knew they weren’t going to be able to get by with doing it that way any longer.


  6. GruvenDawg

    We are doing it now and that’s what matters. Don’t hamstring your team if you want them to be successful. Butts-Mehre could use the same strategy for Baseball and are finally doing it for Basketball.

    I looked a couple of years ago and our athletic pay to coaches was bottom third of the league across the board. Get the cash cow rolling and let the other programs benefit. It’s not rocket science the west has been doing it for over 10 years now.


  7. Mick Jagger

    Having recently re-read “Behind The Hedges”, I am happy to see the (apparent) co-operation going on in Athens.


  8. jt10mc (the other one)

    This is why you are the best in the biz at blogging on the dawgs!


  9. Athens Townie

    Pretty difficult to untangle the correlation versus causation. But very interesting, nonetheless.


  10. charles harris

    McGarity stated that Richt really never asked for anything but they would have worked with him if he had. The only thing Richt wanted was more couch time with Katherine!


  11. WHB209

    After the 2005 SEC Championship, Coach Richt could have gotten almost
    anything he desired. He asked for nothing. And he got nothing.