Posted: 3:09 pm Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

McGarity speaks frankly about expectations for Georgia basketball program 

By Chip Towers

ATHENS – The University of Georgia on Wednesday announced a two-year contract extension for men’s basketball coach Mark Fox. That means it will expire at the end of the 2017-18 season.

Fox’s fifth Georgia team went 20-14 this past season and finished in a tie for second place in the SEC with a 12-6. Fox has an overall record of 85-77 and an SEC record of 40-44 heading into his sixth season.

Fox was traveling to Texas for the Final Four and is not answering questions about the extension beyond the statement he gave in the UGA’s news release. Meanwhile, Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity sat down with reporters at the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall on Wednesday to discuss the extension and share his thoughts on the direction of the men’s basketball program and his expectations for it.

Fox had two years remaining in his previous contract. Why were you compelled to extend and why two years?

“I think it was important for a number of reasons, because you’re on the recruiting trail and I think it was important for people to know this. This was a really good year. We didn’t reach all the expectations that we wanted to from the NCAA standpoint but 20 wins, I think, sets the table for us next year and I think there’s a lot of momentum building toward that. We just thought it was the right thing to do at this point in time.”

Why not just one year?

“Well, I think there’s a time for a young man (who) wants to maybe feel comfortable. It kind of puts to rest any questions when of when you’re talking to a high school prospect of, ‘Well, how long are you going to be around?’ So I think this kind of takes that off the table from that standpoint, which is important to anyone entering the depth of their initial contract.”

Was there a point when the hot-seat question was answered for you?

“I’m just like other fans. You look for certain things during the season, that’s why you wait until the end of the season for something of this nature. There’s so many highs and lows in every sport. Football back in 2011 – we start off 0-2 and if you make your decision then you’re not taking the whole picture into account. You want to see how the whole year fleshes out and you don’t make those kinds of decisions midway through the year, three-quarters of the way. You wait until the whole body of work is in place and you make decisions based on that. So there wasn’t a point in time until after the season until you review everything, you see who you’ve got coming back. You look at our scheduling, you look at all of those things and we feel like if we can continue to build on what we did this year and after that, build on that, I think that’s where we all want to be in this four-year period.

Where do you want to see the program get to?

“I think the program should be just like any other program that we sponsor, we want to be competitive in the SEC and usually if you’re competitive in the SEC then you’re competitive on a national level. So I think we all – every sport we have with 15 different head coaches – our goal is to all be competing in the NCAA Championship for whatever sport that may be. If you look at our goals as a department, that’s one of our goals – that every team competes in their national championship. Basketball should be treated just as other sports and as far as expectations.”

On recruiting …

“We need to recruit at a very high level, because you have to continually kind of restock every year. That’s a very important point, and we did talk about it as well as other things. But needless to say sometimes that is the elephant in the room. We realize what needs to be done, but our staff stands ready to assist in any way.”

Has Fox expressed frustrations about recruiting?

“You’d have to ask Mark that question, but I’m sure there are some misses that disappoints him throughout. You work so hard on certain individuals throughout the year and things don’t turn out your way, sure it gets frustrating. It’s not due to a lack of trying. I can assure you that. But that’s probably a question better asked (of) Mark. We just have to provide the resources. We have to provide all the tools necessary to make it all happen. And then it’s up to the coach. We’re able to help with official visits, setting things up, transportation, all those type things as far as providing the financial resources to make it happen. So I couldn’t answer that. Mark would be able to answer that better than I.”

If next season is similar to this one, are we back here having this discussion?

“I’m not going to comment on any could-have, should-haves. You know my stance on that. Time will tell.”

Is the gesture a reflection of what is coming back next season versus what Fox has done over last few years?

“Well, I think it’s the culmination of five years of work. Mark’s first contract was a six-year deal, right? Well, we’re entering that point in time where the institution felt like that was the right amount of time to try to turn things around. That’s why Mark Fox was brought to the University of Georgia. I would think anybody would hope when Mark signed his first contract that at the end of that six-year period that we’re competing at a high level. We competed at a high level this year. Not as high as we wanted to, but still, the record shows the performance of the team this year. Now we just need to start stacking success upon success. I’m sure we’ll be picked high. I’m sure our fans are thinking that we’re going to be about where we are next year, maybe improving. I think everybody looks at that. I’m sure if you ask all the players, yeah, they expect to get better. They expect to work hard during the off-season and get ready for next season and play a really, really tough schedule.”

What else was agreed to with this deal?

“We just talked in broad terms of the financial piece of it. But that’s not the story for today. We haven’t really focused on that part a good deal. We’ve got some clearances that we need to clear internally. But we thought it was important to go ahead with the recruiting and everything that’s in place that we go ahead and do it at this time.”

On same page as financials?

“Yes, we are.”

New contract?

“I think it’ll be an addendum.”

Buyout?

“I’m not talking about any of the financial. We’ve got some other hurdles to clear – not hurdles internally with me and Mark – but we’ve just got to go through the process with members of our board, things of that nature.”

Two SEC teams are playing in Final Four of SEC but Georgia was not competitive against them this season. Is that an indication of the gap?

“You’ve got to look at where we played them. They’re both on the road. Next year we’ll have really every power team in the conference coming to the coliseum. It’s hard to judge. Kentucky doesn’t lose many games at home and Tennessee as we know doesn’t lose many games at Thomson-Boling Arena so I think it’s unfair to judge it on that one game. We did play Kentucky in Atlanta obviously and it was a lot better than it was in Lexington. You can’t make a judgment on that until you get them in our place and we know how well we play at home and it obviously made a huge difference in some games this year. We were able to win at home but we just didn’t have an opportunity to play them, Florida, Kentucky or Tennessee at home this year.”

When did you meet with Mark?
“Oh gosh, we were just off and on. We met – what’s today? Wednesday. We probably met last week at some point in time. We’ve talked on and off for probably four or five days, but there’s not been one big meeting. There’s been meetings upon meetings and follow-up and discussions going forward. We talked numerous times.
Any real interest by other schools in Mark?
“I have not been made aware of any interest.”

On being at Florida when it hired Billy Donovan?

“There’s risk in every hire. There was risk in talking to Billy Donovan, who had been in Huntington (W.Va.) for what, a couple of years at Marshall? There was a risk there. It’s played out pretty well. But people do think that it’s easy to do because others do it, but it’s very difficult to do because of the type of person Billy is and what he'[s been able to do at Florida, it just doesn’t happen everywhere. You can look throughout college football and college basketball … it’s very difficult to do. But when you make that right decision it really pays big dividends down the road.”

When made up mind …

“Yeah, after the NIT tournament. You wait until the end of the year, that’s what you do. You obviously keep up with it during the year. You look at things. But that’s why you don’t jump into decisions and make decisions halfway through the year. I certainly wasn’t going to say anything during the season to mess things up. .. It’s better for the AD to just be quiet. Don’t mess it up. I didn’t want to insert myself into an area that needed no comment at that time. things were rolling in a fine fashion and I just didn’t want to get in the way.

On his interaction with Fox during season ….

“We approached the season just like any other season. You’re around the program, you’re at the games, you’re at the tournament. You’re around the program as much as you can be, but you don’t want to start acting differently all the sudden just because you might be struggling at the beginning or having success at the end. You try to be consistent with all your coaches and at the end of the year you deal with what you’ve got to deal with.”

On “very high” statement and NCAA tourney…

“Yeah, yeah, I think if you ask anybody that follows our program, if you ask our teams or our coaches, absolutely, that’s our ultimate goal, to get in the show. And if that wasn’t our objective why are we even playing the game. If you ask our players or ask our coaches or our fans, absolutely. Is that the final determining factor? There’s a lot of things that come into play. So you never go to a coach and say ‘this has to happen or else you’re gone.’ You can’t have that conversation. There are so many factors to go into decisions. And I think it pretty much handcuffs a coach, too. It’s just very difficult to work in an environment if you put out those kinds of demands before the season.”

On discussions with Jere Morehead ….

“He and I stay in touch often. He and I discuss things back and forth. So I make sure my boss is informed.”

Attendance, the general admission NIT.

“Oh we’ve got a group of staff that are working on some options internally, on how we can capture that enthusiasm that was in Stegeman for those two NIT games. Is there some way that we can develop that general admission atmosphere. I’m not sure where that leads us. But we’re certainly going to look at it and see if there are some options we can do to kind of mirror that enthusiasm for this coming season. Because as everybody noticed it made a huge difference. I mean we’re down 26 points to Louisiana Tech, the crowd, if that crowd wasn’t fully engaged in that game and didn’t want Georgia to win they would have left at halftime. But I think you saw a group in there that stuck behind our team, motivated them. What’d we do, cut it to four? So that made a huge difference. Those two crowds, I’d probably say Ole Miss was pretty comparable to that. But everybody that was there saw what that type of atmosphere did to encourage our players and get everybody excited about the game.”

It might help to have Kentucky, Tennessee and Florida come in …

“It helps, no question. It helps your season tickets. We’ve got Missouri coming in, we’ve got Arkansas. I think every team that was in the upper half of the league is coming in next year. And we don’t return some of those games, I’d have to look at the schedule. But we know they’re coming to Stegeman next year. So it should be a great home schedule, with Seton Hall, Colorado, those conference games. Tech on the road. Frank and Mark are working on some other games that we can do. So we’ve got the type of team that needs to play a really tough schedule because of our experience coming back.”

 

25 comments
58Supersports
58Supersports

4 years =6.8 million plus for nothing.  Talks cheap Mr. McGarity... We expect more, build the damn Gym and prove you want a winner in Basketball as you do in Football. Stop the BS to fans...

SvenOttke
SvenOttke

Extension?  The rest of Southeastern hoops fans say "THANKS!"

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

Whatever the problems with recruiting, it ain't the facility. The upgrades they've made, combined with the outstanding architectural design - yes, from the mid-sixties - have turned Stegeman (sp?) into a facility that rivals many of the newly-built ones. No , the problem is attendance and fan enthusiasm. You fill the seats with devout supporters that show players - and recruits - that they are deeply appreciated, and they'll come."... It's not, 'If you build it they will come.'...it's 'If you show up and cheer, they will come.'

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

mark fox needs uga grads on recruiting trails like terry fair, pope , wilikns , guys like that uga is not very smart , I would have Hershel walker calling or texing every kid  that  was good and say hey , I;m on the way for a visit I guarantee with Hershel   sitting in front of you and the parents there no kid would say nothing but IT;S UGA  FOR ME ., but this is real world , look larry brown is at smu , where are they in the nit final, some coaches have it , some don't.

reallygroovy
reallygroovy

GEORGIA NEEDS TO BUILD AN INDOOR ARENA FOR FOOTBALL PLAYERS AND BASKETBALL PLAYERS GREG MCGARITY IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME TAKE 100 MILLION AND BUILD THE DAMN THING SO TOP 4 AND 5 STAR KIDS WILL PLAY AT UGA  UNTIL THEN WE WILL KEEP OUR MONEY IN OUR POCKETS NO MORE YO UGA PERIOD

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Well its obvious that ThomAss has cleansed his colon of words this morning, i do appreciate him not hating on the Jackets.ime thinks 350's pants are a little looser.

Match369
Match369

I agree with charlstondog he screwed up we needed to fire fox not giv him an extension.

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

"  Having Hutson Mason to replace Aaron Murray helps as well.  "


Mark Bradley constantly gives us URL Links to ESPN pay-per-view articles, like we support this B.S. here of never any blogs, unless you pay them $ 365.  Uh, huh - I'm doing that, or any of the rest of us here, either.  Not when news is supported by both AJ-C and ESPN by all the ads.  Hire some sales reps and sell the ads.


This is a free URL Link by someone named Alex Scarborough, hired a year ago as Auburn grad covering just Alabama for ESPN :


http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/id/81249/sec-ranked-by-most-to-prove-this-spring


"  Having Hutson Mason to replace Aaron Murray helps as well.  "


What kind of hogwash, is this ?


We are not helped by having Hutson Mason replace Aaron Murray, Alex Scarborough, sir, assuming you're a sir.


This is one of the major reasons why we're in trouble facing-off vs your # 2 Auburn, hopefully also vs your # 7 Alabama for The SEC Championship Game, # 4 on road South Carolina, # 5 on road Missouri and # 8 Clemson to begin the season, all before we all want to make it to the play-offs vs # 1 and # 3 too !


We're not beginning to help ourselves replacing Aaron Murray with Hutson Mason.


For all his ball hog calling his own number more than half the plays with 10 % of his plays Fumbles, Sacks, and Interceptions finding our program in shambles at # 27 outside the top 25 in won/lost record for the Worst Period of the Mark Richt Era, Aaron Murray could throw the football.


Hutson Mason decidedly cannot zip even the short-to-intermediate passes, floating them as he is wont to do.


Hutson Mason also cannot run, but will maybe be an improvement there from the 286 Aaron Murray carries for a miserable 1-yard average Aaron Murray carry with all his crucial fumbles instead of handing the ball to our stable of 5-yard average running backs here.


Handed the job, worst of all, Hutson Mason will NEVER beat # 2, # 4, # 5, # 7, # 8 prior to pipedream # 1 and # 3.


It's not happening.


 "  Having Hutson Mason to replace Aaron Murray helps as well.  "


Excuse me Alex Scarborough ?


What type of numbnuts makes such a statement ?


Take many online classes, at Auburn, did you ?


Mark Richt's To-Do List Spring 2014 :


(1) replace Aaron Murray by looking for better option than Hutson Mason like Joe Cox & Joe Tereshinski III


(2) figure a way to win more than 7 latest 29 games vs ranked teams for seasons after 2007


(3) figure a way to cease saying We Love 8 arrested suspended in 2014 already, 6 on defense


(4) figure a way to teach recruits here to obey the rules off-the-field, and on at # 81 most penalties too


(5)  find a fullback in this fullback-centric offense


(6) throw to the Tight Ends for a change


(7) quit bragging how great WR is whom you liked so much to throw 2 passes to all year


(8)  cease passing in pass-happy offense and run the bloody ball


(9) figure out how to avoid 3rd and 6, so as not to be # 53 in 3rd Down Conversions again


(10) ask yourself honestly losing 3 starters from a poor OL, how to believe hype OL is great


(11) quit jerking players around from one under-staffed position to another


(12) recruit for your holes, instead


(13) recruit one of the over 200 fullbacks available every year instead of 6 years signing 1 total


(14) quit wasting scholarships on special teams' only players letting them walk-on like all others do


(15) return punts like we used to do, and like our opponents continue to do to us by stark contrast


(16) return kick-offs like our opponents do


(17) name a special teams' coordinator as 100 other 1-A FBS programs have


(18) build indoor practice facility like this URL Link discusses instead of having most cash any program


(19) build a gym with same cash on hand, the most of any program in the nation


(20) have beat-writers ask the tough questions such as when a new gym ?


(21) Realize that kick-offs and punts are DEFENSIVE PLAYS.


(22) Figure out why Mark Richt was 16-13 his 1st 7 years and 7-22 since vs ranked teams these seasons

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA


Chip Towers should have asked the obvious question about the statements by Greg McGarity about Greg McGarity providing Mark Fox the resources to recruit here in-state, where is the damn gym like the $ 129 million dollar gym built by the University of Virginia 2006, huh ?

Dawg350 12 hours ago


    " Thomas          Your negativity is suffocating! "



Look Dawg350,


Just because I don't reply to your every B.S. post of Pure Unadulterated LIES, does not mean that you have any upper-hand around here, as the pulse of our football program I have been far more involved with than you have, and for a further period.


You take a preposterous stance, and feel that you must censor fans who care a lot more about our players and program here than you ever will.


A fan has to look at the program.


Well, maybe you don't.


The rest of us certainly do.


The investments we make in The Bulldogs are daunting numbers in time and monies, especially in these times, Dawg350.


I have no idea where you get the concept that you can censor others, and state what they can and cannot say.  But, I know this : you're a fool.


Our Program is Top 10 All-Time in 1-A Wins, and when by stark contrast, we're # 22 in Wins over the latest 6-year period, then Mark Richt is no damn Saint.


Latest 4-years finds us outside the top 25 in Wins, at # 27.


This is totally unacceptable.


Then, to come in here and see you dominate every blog with utter nonsense that we're going to be 15-0 you brag repeatedly, with no sense of honesty on your part to discuss our 7-22 record vs ranked teams these latest seasons here.


Look, we play # 2 Auburn, # 8 Clemson, and go on the road  - where we have not Won in over 7 years and 4 months now against a ranked team these seasons except for Georgie tek in 2009 who would've vacated any win anyway - and face also # 4 South Carolina and # 5 Missouri both on the road.


We all want to face-off against # 7 Alabama in The SEC Championship Game.


Then, there are the play-offs against what ?  Also, # 1 and # 3 ?


Get over yourself that you are somehow better than I as a fan, because every off-season, you brag on the coaching staff and players and Quarterback; and therefore do not spur them on and demand better; but send the complete opposite expectations that indeed you're satisfied.


Complacent.


You've tried that.


It did not work.


Did it ?


Do not give anyone the impression that your medications have led you to believe that you are our spokesman : that you represent what a fan should be.


It has not worked.


Has it ?


Yet, here you are again unrealistically setting the expectation for what, instead, by stark reality, is our latest 6-year period here, after 2007 to-date exactly 54-26, exactly 9-Win Seasons when you yourself point-out they can now be 15-Win Seasons.


That is because we also latest 6-year period all of a sudden do not beat the ranked teams all these seasons now, and average therefore over 4 and a 1/3 Losses every season.


Maybe you're actually an unbridled child; I do not know what your head-buried-in-the-sand La La Land, Pollyanna, DISNEYdawgs.com approach is, and further son, I don't give a rats' behind for your silliness.


It's not healthy, and is most assuredly sending the completely opposite message from me and many others here to the players and most especially to Mark Richt that all is well.


No.  No, it's not.


Except for with you, DISNEYdawgs.com.


And, it is not working.  Try something else; you're a broken record of deceit, lies, annoyance, and complacency, and make no one but yourself out as the village idiot trying to censor the truth, which is not working to tell them how great they are.  They could be, but not by telling them they are; but, by the opposite.


And, the EXCUSES...


Good Lord, Dawg350, I've never seen in all my lifetime, such complete B.S. as your EXCUSES Dawg350.


We are all supposed to be as you Dawg350 ?

NeoDawg
NeoDawg

Fox is the anti-Richt.  Coaches his players up, but can't recruit worth a lick.  It's McGarrity's job to recognize this and fix it.  There is no excuse for UGA (or the Trade School for that matter) to not be a perennial Dance participant.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

What about the football team? Congrats to Coach Fox, he deserves it.

Charlestondog
Charlestondog

collegeballfan -- shut up.  I get tired of hearing that crap:  Georgia is not a basketball school.  The reason people have not been coming is because UGA has not been winning.  I went to UGA during the Hugh Durham years and we had sellouts -- why?  Because UGA was winning.  Even when Harrick was at UGA, there were sellouts.  Why?  Because UGA was winning.  People said Florida was not a basketball school but now that they are winning, fans are coming to the game.  We don't need small minded people like you.   I think it was a mistake giving Fox an extension -- let's see, he gets us to the NIT and we lose in the second round.  He might can coach but he cannot recruit -- now we have to wait a few years for him to lose again and then fire him.  McGarity screwed up. 

TampGator1
TampGator1

But McGarity was smart to sign Fox to an extension.   He is a couple of players away from having a very good team.....for an excellent coach.

TampGator1
TampGator1

If I were McCarity, I think I would be happy that Georgia only played Florida one time this year.  And it would not have made any difference if the game had been in Athens instead of Gainesville.  Florida is a powerful team this year.  And they are going to be really, really good next year as well.  Go Gators.  Final Four, baby!

Caius
Caius

Fox is a superb coach.  His problem is that he coaches at a college where basketball simply does not matter.  And even worse, UGA basketball does not matter nationwide.


Until the UGA grads get in the stands, Fox is fighting a losing battle.


McGarity can help by tearing down the cow barn and building a real basketball arena.


SinceVince
SinceVince

Hope the Tax accountant gets better recruits or it will be another two years of Fools Gold!

ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

You spelled it incorrectly : It's Stegesaurus, and has not hosted an NCAA Tournament game now in 43 years, while there were several games this season where we could've used a much bigger gym.  The University of Virginia spent $ 129 million in 2006 to build them a new gym, but we - with the most cash on-hand of all programs in America - cannot ?


ThomasBrownUGA
ThomasBrownUGA

GTcaryAZZd,


It's is a contraction of it is.  Me thinks ?  These are more of what the student you dated once at Georgie tek, accepts ?

HarryCrews
HarryCrews

@Charlestondog


I remember sellouts at the end of the Durham era -- they were because Auburn and Charles Barkley were in town or Dales Brown's Tigers with O'Neal and Chris Jackson were in the house. Last good team Hugh had was in 1983.


Tubby Smith's teams packed the house so frequently Stegeman was called "the Tub". Harrick's teams consistently drew fans.


You're wrong about Fox. As far as recruiting goes, the five starters on this year's team were from Atlanta!


What was the last UGA hoops game you attended?

HarryCrews
HarryCrews

@collegeballfan  Love Mark Fox. As a longtime season ticket holder (basketball) there is nothing wrong with Stegeman. The rodeo hasn't been there in years. It was rehabbed several years ago. When was the last time you were there?


I'd work on concessions and getting the students out to games. The majority of the crowd is alums and locals. You build a bigger, better arena and it will just look more empty. The students can barely fill one end.


Smith's and Harrick's teams filled the seats not too long ago. If you win, folks will come.

ugadog311
ugadog311

@ThomasBrown it helps when Paul Tudor Jones, the 108th wealthiest American at $4.5Billion puts up a cool 35 mil to fund the new arena

thebucket
thebucket

@DawginLex @Delusionaldog What happened when THE University of Dayton met the fighting buckeyes? I love it that the NCAA Selection Committee didn't allow Thad Motta to keep ducking his in-state counterparts!