On the flip side, the job won't be without its challenges, and that's what makes the hire so incredibly important.
Here's a partial list of some of the things the new AD will likely have to deal with in the next 5-6 years (in no particular order):
- Replacing the baseball coach - David Perno has dug himself an enormous hole, and it's possible that he'll pull himself out of it. However, making himself (a former utility infielder) as the pitching coach isn't the most confidence inspiring move this off season. To me, it would be like Mark Richt solving his problems with Willie Martinez by making himself the Defensive Coordinator.
- Retaining or Replacing Mark Fox - Mark Fox's timing in this transition is exceptional. He'll have a loaded team next year capable of making a helluva first impression on his new boss. In 100+ years of athletics, UGA has only lost two coaches to other programs that we wanted to keep -- Tubby Smith and Ron Polk. The new AD will likely see what Damon saw. The best/fastest opportunity to build a legacy at UGA is via basketball because Richt will get all the credit for football. Retaining Fox (or replacing him if he flames out) will be a major part of the new AD's job over the next 5 years. Luckily, the checks for Stegeman renovation were all written before Damon walked out.
- Replacing Andy Landers -- Landers turns 58 in October. It's not unreasonable to think that he'll be doing something other than coaching hoops when he's 64 years old. UGA has only had one full-time women's basketball coach in its history.
- Replacing the Gymnastics Coach - I don't want to poop on Jay. He had a solid first year, but almost nobody survives replacing a legend in their sport like Wooden or Bryant. That's what Suzanne was. Can he survive the next 5-6 years? Sure. Would I bet on him to make it? History says "no."
- Conference Realignment - It's highly unlikely that the conference landscape will stay the same over the next six years. How will UGA be positioned from a TV, Revenue, and Divisional Alignment standpoint?
- A new university president - Mike Adams is about 62 years old now. He won't be here much past 65. We'll need a strong leader to help us navigate that change.
- Replacing Jack Bauerle - Jack is also about 58 years old. Will he be here in 6 years? Probably...because that's just how he rolls. But how much longer beyond that?
This is an absolutely enormous hire, and it's a tremendous part of Adams legacy. That's why I've got more confidence in his role in this search than many others. He knows how big a job this is, and what leaving us with a mess would do to his "place in history." Am I resting easy with Adams running the ship on this? No. But, I'm a lot more optimistic than others because the job offers so much.