July 6, 2010

The Next UGA Athletic Director

There's never a good time to undergo a change like Damon Evans' departure from UGA. However, we have to look at the bright side. The athletic department is in rare air when it comes to its income statement, its competitive positioning and the compensation package.

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?
And that's just a partial list of big personnel issues out there. There's also marketing opportunities to be unlocked, new media to be leveraged, facilities to be expanded and debt to be managed. All while getting many of our women's sports (other than softball) out of the ditch. Oh...and the football team could make this search a lot easier with a fast start in September of this year.

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.

PWD

6 comments:

Regular Guy said...

Thanks for the in-depth breakdown on all this, PWD. We won't see this very many other places. THIS is why you should post more often!

(just kidding, I know you have a real life outside the blogosphere).

Anonymous said...

This may be crazy, but would Jeremy Foley listen to us?

Anonymous said...

http://www.heliospartners.com/people/welton.asp

We should beg him to be involved in the process if not the outright AD.

ColumbiaDawg said...

One thing I'd like the new AD do is change the way the scheduling is done in football. Home and home games might have been appealing once, but not anymore. It might be fun for the fans, but it has taken a toll on the team.

Playing at a neutral site like the Georgia Dome or Cowboys Stadium is the way to go now, preferably the Georgia Dome on the opening Saturday.

Anonymous said...

You forgot potentially replacing Mark Richt if the football program doesn't get better. To his credit, Richt made some drastic (and needed) moves with the new hires, but only time will tell if it works or not. Don't forget our poor record vs. the SEC over the past three years and the continual beat down at Florida and recent beatdowns by Tennessee. If things don't ultimately change, the new AD will need to have a talk with Richt too.

Anonymous said...

ColumbiaDawg,

How is playing at a neutral site not going to take a toll on the team like any other away game? There is still travel involved. They even travel to a hotel for a home game, so the only real toll for any game is the in transit time to an away game hotel.

 
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