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December 24, 2013

UGA's Financial Commitment to Basketball

By Paul Westerdawg

I've seen a lot of chatter on message boards about UGA's lack of commitment to hoops.  There is a myth that's out there now that UGA doesn't pay for coaching talent and invest in basketball.  The theory goes that because we haven't torn down Stegeman and completely rebuilt it that we're not "all in."

Most of that noise is from an old song book about UGA basketball.  Much of which is no longer relevant. Here are some facts:

In 2009, when we hired Mark Fox, we was offered $1.3 million. At that exact moment, Jim Calhoun of Uconn had 2 National Titles and like 7 Final Four appearances.  Calhoun was making $1.6 million.

At that time, we offered Mark a deal which was roughly Top 20-30 money.  More importantly, we offered Mike Anderson, between $2.3 million and $2.0 million. That package was comparable to what Roy Williams was making at UNC at the time.

Roy Williams made $2.11 million in 2011...2 years AFTER we offered Mike Anderson $2 million.

Mike Anderson turned us down to stay at Missouri for $1.3 million.  We hired Mark Fox at $1.3 million and bumped him to $1.7 million after his contract was renewed in 2011.  If we had paid Mark more in 2011, it wouldn't have made him a better recruiter.

The point: Salary for our head coach isn't the problem, 
and it's not the problem for the assistants either.

Mark Fox is losing because he's not the right coach for UGA.  It's not because he isn't paid competitively.

Facilities Ramp Up
UGA started beefing up the investment in facilities used by the basketball team in 2005.  The practice Annex was a $30 million investment (opened in 2006) and the Stegeman renovations in 2010 were an additional $12 million investment.  There's another million or two in incremental modest enhancements overlaying that which I'll ignore for now.

Over that same time period, Auburn is the only SEC school who has outspent us on bball facilities.  Even if you dial it back a full decade, its the same story.
  • UK spent $30 million in that time. (although a massive redo of Rupp is on the horizon)
  • UT spent around $15 million
  • GT just spend $45 million which is basically the same as what we spent.
We have many issues, but financial commitment isn't the problem anymore.  The problem isn't the marketing department.  The problem isn't the PR team.  The problem isn't fan support.

Fan support is a symptom. It isn't the root disease.

The problem is that Mark is a poor recruiter who plays a boring brand of basketball and lacks any ability whatsoever to evangelize and sell his product to the UGA fan base, AAU/HS coaching community or media.

We've let him run this thing into the ground because he wouldn't staff for success. Finding his replacement is not going to be easy.  But it is what it is.  McGarity makes the big bucks to thread this needle. In March, he'll have to do that barring us winning at Colorado or GW and going about 13-5 in the SEC.  That's about what it would take for this team with this strength of schedule just to make the NIT.

And he may have to make the NIT to save his job.



Sam Bron said...

I appreciate these state of the b-ball program addresses (not too long!). Stegman was a blast with those Harrick teams. Capacity for fan/school enthusiasm is much greater than the football-only commentators like to attest. I remember the push for Bobby Knight (almost entirely media generated) in the lead up to the Fox hire. I thought Fox was better then, and I'm still not convinced we wouldn't be in the same place today w/ Knight, but just wondering what your thoughts are vis-a-vis Fox vs. Knight today? (wondering as that seemed to be the Sophie's choice at the time).

paulwesterdawg said...

Knight would have us in basically the same place in terms of talent level. However the fan apathy wouldn't be as bad because he's such a polarizing figure. Fox is so boring that people don't even care enough anymore to complain.

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