Mark Richt is reportedly interviewing for the Miami job today, so chew on this for a moment:
Rush Propst is a very successful high school football coach who’s also got a fair share of personal baggage to go along with his professional success.
Based on this, he’s apparently lobbying for a job on the next Georgia staff. So take what he says about Richt, the 2015 season and moving forward with a grain of salt. But read it, because it’s interesting.
I guess Greg McGarity didn’t like appearing clueless at the press conference.
The Clay family received an in-home visit from UGA assistants Thomas Brown and Jeremy Pruitt on Monday night. But what happens when the new staff comes in? Will his scholarship offer be honored by the new coaching staff?
“We got reassurance from Coach Pruitt and Coach Brown about that,” Willie Clay said. “(The athletic director) has told those guys that anybody who is committed obviously we are honoring them and we don’t care who ‘the new coach is,’ we are obviously going to honor that commitment we got.”
Good to hear.
If there’s a story that sums up all of the arrogance that I despise from college athletics administrators, this is it.
About 1,000 miles to the west in Lawrence, a battle to eliminate a student fee at the University of Kansas ended differently.
In two years as a walk-on golfer, Catt got an inside view of Kansas athletics and began to wonder why the department needed $50 from each student every year in addition to ticket payments.
In two years, Kansas athletics spent $9 million in severance on fired football coaches Mark Mangino and Turner Gill. When Catt did not notice any corresponding layoffs or cutbacks, he decided to do some research.
Catt reviewed financial statements that showed Kansas athletics income rose from $50.8 million in 2005 to $93.6 million in 2013. In early 2014, Catt sent a 35-page report to the student senate, arguing that the fee, which produced about $1.1 million for athletics, should be eliminated.
“Students were seeing a rise in tuition, more student debt . . . and the athletics department was making more and more money every year. It just didn’t seem like they needed it,” Catt said in an interview.
Catt’s report was persuasive. Students voted to kill the fee. Athletics administrators fought back, though, and eventually won a compromise from the chancellor that kept a reduced $12 fee. Ultimately, the change cost Kansas athletics about $350,000.
Kansas athletics administrators weren’t satisfied. A few months later, they eliminated one of the best student sections at men’s basketball games — 120 seats right behind the Jayhawks’ bench — and gave the seats to donors who contributed at least $25,000 per year.
“When the student government proposed [eliminating the fee] . . . it made it very clear that it wanted the athletic department to find other ways to raise revenue,” Kansas athletics spokesman Jim Marchiony told a local newspaper. “That’s what we did.”
When Catt talks about the experience today, one comment from a deputy athletics director sticks out in his mind.
“He told me, ‘We’re in the business of being great, and it costs money to be great,’ ” Catt recalled.
A few months later, Kansas fired football coach Charlie Weis, who won just six of 28 games at the school, taking on another $5 million in severance.
“It became clear in our meetings,” Catt said, “that normal economics don’t apply to anyone in Kansas athletics.”
Honestly, were I a Kansas student, the thought that part of my student loans went to pay Charlie Weis’ buyout would drive me to drink. Heavily.
… but at least they’ve got a search firm!
Now that there’s someone in place where blame can be deflected if things don’t work out, the process can move ahead.
Hey, baby steps, peeps.
Will Leitch watches yesterday’s presser and nails the underlying message:
The move to fire Richt was, in this way, the precise reactionary one that Georgia has always claimed it wasn’t about. At a bizarre press conference on Monday morning, McGarity attempted to keep up the façade that Georgia remained the classy place you thought it was, heaping praise on the man he had just fired right as he sat next to him. He was able to bathe himself in the Christian good nature of Richt, who answered questions honestly but with no malice or anger toward the executioner a few feet away; Richt, by taking the high ground at every opportunity, allowed McGarity to believe he was somehow still doing things the Right Way, even as he evaded every question and refused to even give a reason for Richt’s dismissal.
Richt said he told his players that the way you feel and the way you act should be two different things, and he couldn’t have exemplified that any better in his press conference. McGarity tried to pretend he was somehow doing the right thing by Richt by standing beside him, that it meant Georgia football Stood For Something. But the only reason you felt that way was because of Richt.
With Richt gone, Georgia can no longer claim that it is any better, or different, than any other school that believes it should win a championship every year, that it will do anything in its power to get one as soon as possible, that cares more about expedience and emotion than prudence and patience. Now, it’s very possible, even likely, that Georgia shouldn’t have felt it was any different in the first place, that it was smug and self-aggrandizing to believe it wasn’t playing by the same rules everyone else was. Georgia is a big-time football program like the rest of them, and now it’s acting like one. “About time,” many will say. The illusion had to evaporate at some point.
I understand this. But then you can’t pretend, as McGarity tried to in the press conference, that things are the same as they ever were. They’re not. The central organizing principle of Georgia football, of this community, was that it was different here, that Richt was different, that this was all different. Now, no one can claim that, ever again.
The end result may be good. It may not be good. But it’s definitely going to be different, regardless of who they bring in. Because he won’t be Mark Richt.
And the guy who has the most at stake in the new world is Greg McGarity. Holding a joint press conference won’t change that.