The other factor that drove Georgia up the list is a donor base that demanded the administration stop pinching pennies and start pouring resources into football facilities. This coincided with the firing of Mark Richt and the hiring of Smart. Georgia wasn’t always the kind of place where the coach could get what he asked for every time. It basically is now. One staffer who put Georgia atop their list said it came down to support from donors and the fan base and pure potential.
Richt certainly had his share of warts and flaws, but no football coach is going to win at a power program where the AD doesn’t buy into what the coach needs to succeed. The dysfunction may have stayed largely beneath the surface for a few years, but by 2014 it was obvious McGarity wasn’t seeing eye to eye with his football coach.
But even before McGarity, it was apparent that Georgia was a program where the administration was reluctant to provide Richt with the level of support that an Alabama did for Saban the moment he walked through the door in Tuscaloosa. The irony was that B-M was able to leverage Richt’s own loyalty to the program to control spending.
Putting profit before sustained success on the field, while all the while holding yourself out as being somewhat purer than the typical football school is what the Georgia Way was all about. There is a part of me that gives Richt credit for being as successful as he was in the face of dealing with that. But there is a bigger part of me that gives Smart credit for using his substantial leverage to call bullshit on the whole thing.