Tag Archives: Greg McGarity

Greg McGarity’s bad luck

Pity the poor McGarity.

Greg McGarity is big on catch phrases. You’ll find them posted all over his office and occasionally on his personal things. Like the coffee mug that sits on his desk in his office on the fourth floor at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall.

“Life Is All About How You Handle Plan B,” it says in colorful hand-painted script.

A close friend gave it to the Georgia athletic director recently. It really hit home, considering the year McGarity and Georgia athletics just had.

It seemed the Bulldogs were constantly having to turn to Plan B in 2014. Like how to conduct a swim season without legendary coach Jack Bauerle, who was suspended and under NCAA investigation; like having run a $100 million operation without your CFO, Frank Crumley, who was forced to resign for having an inappropriate relationship with a married subordinate; like having to play a football season without Todd Gurley, the Heisman Trophy candidate tailback who had sold autographed merchandise on the side.

And to top it all off, McGarity had to deal with rumors about a sour relationship with football coach Mark Richt.

Well, I declare, Miz Scarlett!  How in the world did such scurrilous talk evah begin?  Po’ ole Greg has absolutely no idea. He’s quite perplexed, the dear man.

But it’s football that drives the passion — and revenue — at Georgia. And late last season rumors of a growing rift between McGarity and Richt grew to palpable proportions. Fan chat rooms and even the social media accounts of some otherwise reputable outlets were ablaze with gossip and speculation that McGarity was going to make a coaching change if the Bulldogs lost to Louisville in the Belk Bowl.

Georgia won handily, 37-14. But McGarity scoffs at the notion that game was in any way a referendum for Richt or his staff.

“I’m not really sure where that stuff comes from,” McGarity said. “There are only two people involved, Mark and myself, and I have no idea where that came from. … Mark and I, we’re fine.”

I can’t say for sure if he’s referring to Richt or Bradley there (I say, that’s a joke, son), but if he really can’t figure out where all the smoke at the Belk Bowl presser came from, the latter might be the place to find a clue.  I guess this is like the time McGarity claimed he couldn’t understand the criticism made about how there was “a PR nightmare” surrounding the way the school handled the Gurley suspension.

Maybe somebody can explain to me why Andy Staples’ “sharp athletic director” keeps wondering out loud how all these things just unexpectedly happen to him.  Sure is strange.

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“First of all, I work for a great university. Our athletic director is the best in the country. He’s the best I’ve ever been around.”

Ah, Greg.  It sucks when they’re taking long distance pot shots at you, doesn’t it?

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The best laid plans of mice and Greg McGarity

Talk about your sense of timing – right on the heels of my noting that Georgia appears lucky enough to avoid the potential bidding war Jeremy Foley may face over keeping one of the football program’s assistant coaches comes word that Mike Bobo’s name is in the mix for the head coaching gig at Colorado State.  Is Bobo jonesing to run his own program?  Dunno, but the pay isn’t likely to be half bad.  Jim McElwain was making $1.5 million a year when he was hired away by Florida.  That ain’t Will Muschamp money, but it’s a shitload more than Bobo’s banking right now.

Which brings us, naturally, to Greg McGarity.  The man with the rules, like this one:

“To me it’s all about performance and results,” McGarity said. “And we address those at the end of the season. If adjustments need to be made, then we’ll make them. That’s how we do things with all our sports. Nothing’s changed over the last four years. I’ve always said you should see the whole body of work.”

Does that mean he’d hold to refusing to consider Bobo’s situation until after the bowl game, regardless of whether things heat up with CSU?  And that, if Bobo should emerge as Colorado State’s first choice, whatever he offers Bobo will be based solely on how Georgia has performed, no matter the size of CSU’s offer? I mean, I guess he could, but it’s hard to see how Georgia doesn’t lose its offensive coordinator with an approach like that.  If nothing else, it should provide the program with a terrific distraction during bowl preparation and down the recruiting stretch.

Even if McGarity ignores the niceties of that rule and steps up to keep Bobo in red and black at a price, then what about this?

But offensive coordinator Mike Bobo, whose offense has set records the past few years, continues to be paid nearly $300,000 less than the school’s defensive coordinator. McGarity said that’s Richt’s decision, or at least Richt’s decision within the salary pool that he is provided each year.

“Mark has a pool of money that he allocates however he allocates,” McGarity said. “There was a significant jump made after the ’12 season for Mike. The pool is reflective of team success. You basically see where the pool is and how it ranks and where you finish. It’s all based on results.”

Again with the results.  Will Bobo’s raise come out of the existing pool?  If so, which coach or coaches take a cut to make up for it?  I think we know that’s an empty effort to shift away responsibility.  But when Bobo gets his raise and the pool increases accordingly, what message should Georgia’s other coaches take from that?

The message I’d take is that while Greg McGarity claims he ignores the market, the reality is that the market ignores Greg McGarity.  That’s how you get reactive leadership instead of proactive leadership.  It’s a helluva way to run a railroad, one that grosses a hundred million a year, but that’s Butts-Mehre.  That’s the Georgia Way.

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Here they are now, entertain them.

A little taste of Butts-Mehre attitude for you this morning…

The Bulldogs thrashed the Tigers 71-56 before an announced crowd of 5,229 at Stegeman Coliseum, which is below Georgia’s average of 6,638 for SEC home games this season. Missouri was the highest-rated SEC team that will visit Athens this winter, but Tuesday’s game had a 9 p.m. tip on ESPNU.

“I think sometimes that is used as an excuse,” McGarity said. “I know it creates hardships on people coming from Atlanta and that it absolutely affects them, but tickets were free for our students last night. We’re not in an exam period, and I’ve always felt that with the student body, later is better.”

Free tickets.  Loud piped in music.  Evening start.  And still the students won’t come.

I’m obviously drawing a very different conclusion from McGarity about what that means, but what do I know?  He’s got a much bigger reserve fund than I do.

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UPDATE:  Seth has some more on the subject here.

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“Any position that we have here needs to be justified.”

Honestly, it’s not like I take any great pleasure out of mocking Greg McGarity’s penurious tendencies.  (Let’s face it, some of that comes with the job.)  But, damn, when he’s the only man left in America who’s still counting on the NCAA taking steps to justify a lack of action, what’s a poor blogger to do?

McGarity and others are hoping the problem is solved soon via NCAA legislation:

• First, the amount of on-field, full-time assistant coaches could be raised to 10. Richt said earlier this month he thinks that could happen for next year, at which time he could hire a special teams coordinator.

• Secondly, McGarity thinks a hard cap will be put on the number of football staff members a program can employ. McGarity said he doesn’t know what the specific cap on football staffers will be — 25 has been thrown around — but he expects it to happen.

“The limitation on football staff is going to be a very popular item for discussion, with the way it seems like the structure of the NCAA divisions are going,” McGarity said. “I do feel like that we’re heading in that direction, sooner than later.”

Hope and the NCAA – what a concept.  Hell, I don’t even follow the logic of his last point there.  If the NCAA divides itself in one form or fashion, it’ll be to give the haves greater control of their ever-increasing resources.  You would think in that context there would be even less pressure brought to rein in the big spenders.

I’d like to give McGarity the benefit of the doubt when he says things like this…

“You don’t add a position just because so-and-so has 10 more than you do. You don’t just add it to keep up with your competition. What are these people gonna do? Discuss their role, and then you go from there. And that’s across the board for any sport here, and any position. There’s got to be a justification process, and there can’t be School A has this, and you don’t have that. …

“If you’re living in a comparative world, it’s a hard place to be. Tell us what you need, we’ll provide that, and then we’ll move forward.”

… but first, I doubt Mark Richt’s been silent about what he wants to spend money on.  I also doubt he’s gotten everything he’s asked for.  But the other thing is, if McGarity insists that the extra staffing doesn’t add any value to a program, why should he care about NCAA intervention limiting the size of schools’ staff?

Ironically, I hope McGarity is proven right and the NCAA bails him out.  Because the alternative is waiting a few years and then playing the inevitable game of catch up.  At least the reserve fund will have grown some more by then.

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Todd Grantham? Big fan of Greg McGarity… big fan.

You know, earlier today I posted that link to Seth’s article about Grantham’s tweets because I thought they were ambiguous, but worth a fun spin.  I couldn’t say for sure that Grantham was taking a shot at the Georgia program.

I’m pretty sure now, though.

“What appealed to me most was being able to team up with coach Petrino and what he does but also the vision of the athletic director and if you look at the things he’s done,” Grantham said. “To win a championship, it takes a lot of different elements. And the first thing it takes is to have an athletic director that has a vision for the resources needed moving forward. And you obviously have that.”

Ouch.  But I bet Georgia’s reserve fund kicks Louisville’s reserve fund’s ass, man.

Of course, maybe all that means is that now he’s working for somebody who’s willing to shell five million large to a coach who can say this with a straight face:

“Two of the last three years we’ve won the SEC East,” Grantham said. “We really have been the backbone of getting to those conference championships. I think the ability to see how we changed an identity and developed some mental toughness and physical toughness there and develop players.”

Early prediction:  if Georgia gets it done in 2014, prepare to hear Grantham praise Pruitt for getting it done with Grantham’s players.

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UPDATE:  This just gets buttah and buttah.

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Greg McGarity has lost control of Mark Richt.

He’s obviously not as hands on as many anonymous Internet denizens would have him be, damn it.

Q: What kind of feedback have you gotten from fans and donors regarding the football season?

A: “I get tons of letters. ‘You need to fire (Todd) Grantham, you need to do this, you need to do that.’ Three years ago it was, ‘you need to fire (Mike) Bobo.’ It’s just the soup of the day. But I tell them, I don’t hire assistant coaches. [Emphasis added.]  After the LSU game, it was totally different. It’s amazing, the swing of emotions people have. I wish I saved them all. Even during games people are emailing me. Those are the ones I wish I could read back to them because people are so reactionary. There are so many ways of technology to get to people. It’s our world today and we’re living in it. We shouldn’t be surprised what anybody does any more. Sometimes people do irrational things. But it’s our world and nothing surprises me these days. We just have to manage the best we can.”

Q: You’re meeting with Coach Richt on Thursday. What kind of suggestions will you make?

A: “We’ll go through things I see from the athletic director’s chair that might help. Like every other coach, I’m sure he has some things he feels like he needs or he’d like to think about. We go through that with every coach every year. I want to make sure I’m providing the resources they need. There may be times I can’t do it, but there will be a reason behind it. But it’s the job of the administration to provide the resources that are necessary and provide an environment where the coaches feel like they can get the job done.”

Suggestions, bah humbug.  If you’re not gonna fund an IPF, Greg, start firing some people!

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