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January 5, 2009

Rodney Garner staying in Athens

Rodney Garner, Georgia's defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator, has turned down an offer to return to the Tennessee Vols coaching staff. Garner came to Georgia from Tennessee in 1998, and he was instrumental in Jim Donnan's retooling of the Georgia talent base. He was also critically important in holding together the 2001 recruiting class after the Donnan to Richt transition. The seniors from that transitional class went 42-10 for the Dawgs.

There were numerous rumors floating around about what type of role Garner would have on the UT staff. One version had Garner taking on the job of "Running Game Coordinator" for the Vol offense with position responsibilities at RB, TE and/or OT. In that scenario, another position coach would've been responsible for the passing game coordination while Lane Kiffin called the plays. That three headed monster is somewhat similar to what Oklahoma State has done with their offense. It also sounds like a convoluted mess.

(Update: Towers confirms the job title)

Over the past several years, Richt had proactively and strategically moved to put reduce Georgia's risk of losing a key recruiter like Garner. Most recently, John Lilly was named Tight Ends coach for the Dawgs prior to the 2008 season. Lilly spent 10 years on the FSU coaching staff much of that as their recruiting coordinator. Lilly appears to be the defacto "Recruiting Coordinator in Waiting" for the Dawgs.

Georgia has also upgraded its recruiters vs the initial Richt coaching staff of 2001 and 2002. For instance, Stacy Searels apppears to be a quantum leap forward in talent evaluation and recruiting effort vs. Neil Callaway. The stabilty of the Georgia staff has also helped. Five of Georgia's nine assistant coaches have been with Richt for his entire 8 year tenure. As a good sales manager will tell you, there's no substitute for time in territory for building relationships and trust among your customers and partners (in this case High School coaches).

Losing Garner wouldn't have been the devastating body blow to recruiting in 2009 as it would've been in 3, 5 or 8 years ago. But it wouldn't have been painless either. It is a good thing to keep him.

For the record, I do NOT begrudge Rodney Garner for looking at other offers. Two weeks ago, Garner was a little underpaid versus the open market value for a man of his unique skill set. Just two weeks later, with UT and Auburn spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave, he was significantly under paid. Kudos to Richt and Damon for being creative and working hard to keep a key hire.

And for those questioning RG's loyalty to UGA. If he turned down a "running game coordinator" job title promotion that involved more money and less recruiting responsibilities to stick at UGA, how is that disloyal?

See Also:
-- Garner to remain with Bulldogs -



blackertai said...

Crazy lucky that he stayed. Regardless of what some people may think interviewing for a job just means your finding out how much your services are truely worth. Free market capitalism at it's best.

Anonymous said...

any word on how we got him to stay? ... a raise maybe?

Anonymous said...

Seriously, UGA is the EMPLOYER for these people, not their life-long passion. If you worked for UPS and FedEx came by with a promotion and pay increase, you'd stay out of loyalty to UPS?

WE are the loyal ones. WE have more at stake than being employed; we have ingrained favorites and dislikes--passions--that these people do not because they are PROFESSIONALS trying to do the best job WHEREVER they happen to be. As such they should not be expected to remain with someone because they are "fans" of that place--they are hired to do a job.

I wouldn't go so far as to call them hired guns, but the lifelong loyalty to school thing is just not part of their jobs.

Bernie said...

A man does what is best for his family. No one could have begrudged CRG for taking a position that paid him more money and provided his family with greater financial security.

As blackertai said, crazy luck he stayed as I'm sure it was for less $$. But the UT situation sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Maybe he read the writing on the wall.

Maybe Mrs. Garner just likes Athens better. Maybe he used the situation to better his place.

Whatever the reason, more power to him.

Go Dawgs!

Unknown said...

No F bombs.

Anonymous said...

This is great news, as Garner seems to be a good guy in addition to a good coach.

Now,since we have a "tight ends coach" and a "running backs coach", etc, can we please get a full time "special teams coach" and end the suck?

Slic Ric said...

It's been a pretty good last few days for the Dawgs.

-Tech lost, badly.
-Georgia won (and the defense showed up).
-Branden Smith commits.
-CRG tells Kiffin and the Viles to kiss his a$$.

It's a great day to be a Bulldog. Now let's just hope we can get either Moreno, Stafford, or both to stick around.

Go Dawgs!!!

Sports Dawg said...

Imitation is the greatest form of flattery. It means we've got good guys if others want to hire them. If you retain them fine, if you lose them replace them with other quality coaches. I don't think it has anything to do with loyalty by either party. It's a case of a guy looking to better his own situation and decidng if the grass really is greener or not on the other side of the border.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone else read on Hale's blog that Kiffin said "thought he could steal recruits in Georgia because Richt's staff wasn't going as hard after them". I was wondering if anyone had a transcript that he said that. Would love to show that to my UT friends here in Nashville.

Anonymous said...

If Lane Kiffin still needs a coach, may I recommend Jon Fabris?

Anonymous said...

I'm so tired of people getting on to Coach Fabris. He is a great coach who was dealt a tough hand for this season. He is also the most intense motivator on our staff and works every player's tail off.
As for this season, his two coaching areas, special teams and defensive ends, were our two weakest when it comes to personnel. All of the injuries to our second and third string guys wrecked our special teams. I guarantee everyone will love Fabris next year when everyone is healed up.

Anonymous said...

does anyone know when knowshon and stafford are supposed to announce their decisions?

Anonymous said...

Where is everyone who was playing the race card the past few days? I sure hope that all of the recruits we are looking at did not read any of the fan's posts! Typically this blog has great comments from the reads. PWD does a great job of staying away from the "nutty fan" posts. Not so much for the readers/posters during the CRG issue. Thanks for the blog PWD, you do a great job!

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