Posted: 10:06 am Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Ten@10: Perno’s plans, a Murray on The Bachelorette and that ‘Hoss’ Gurley 

By Chip Towers

Former Georgia coach David Perno led the Bulldogs to three College World Series from 2004-08. After a year off, he's set to return to coaching. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Former Georgia coach David Perno led the Bulldogs to three College World Series from 2004-08. After a year off, he’s set to return to coaching. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Got a chance to catch up with David Perno on Monday. The former Georgia baseball coach was being inducted into the Athens Athletic Hall of Fame Monday night at the Classic Center in downtown Athens. The distinction came exactly year to the day after he was fired as the Bulldogs’ skipper.

“What a difference a year makes,” Perno said with a sarcastic laugh.

Perno grew up in Athens and starred in football and baseball at Clarke Central High School before moving on to Georgia to play baseball. He eventually became the Bulldogs’ 24th coach in 2002 and led the Bulldogs’ to their most successful stretch in history with three College World Series berths from 2004-08. He was fired on May 19 of 2013 after Georgia finished 21-32 and missed the SEC tournament.

Perno took most of the past year off before returning to work six weeks ago as a college baseball analyst for ESPN. He has been the color commentator on “three or four games” so far and serves as a studio analyst every Thursday night on College Baseball Live during the SEC games of the week. He’ll next be assigned to cover some NCAA regional games.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Perno said. “I think I’ve done OK. It’s just like anything else, you’ve got to do it over and over to really get the hang of it.”

2. Until recently, Perno has been concentrating on matters closer to home. He helped coach his son Hayes’ recreational league basketball team in the winter and attended daughter Saidee’s soccer games.

“It’s been a good year,” Perno said. “I have no complaints. I’ve been able to reevaluate what’s important and I believe I’ll be a better coach because of it. Just sitting back and seeing everything unfold and having the quality family time that I had given up for many, many years because of loyalty to your job. So that’s been good.”

But don’t translate that to mean that Perno is no longer interested in coaching. He’s actually eager to get back into the dugout.

“I think so,” he said. “Some good jobs have already opened. Hopefully I’ll get in the mix. I feel like I’m ready to move forward now. I’m looking forward to another chapter of coaching somewhere.”

Perno expressed interest in the head coaching position at Cincinnati briefly after being dismissed by UGA. That job eventually went to Indiana pitching coach Ty Neal. The Bearcats went 22-31 in his first season.

3. Perno has been in an interesting and somewhat awkward position living in Athens and following college baseball for a living. He’s constantly being asked about the current Georgia team, coached by his successor Scott Stricklin and stocked with players he recruited and coached the last couple of years. But has been hesitant to talk about it.
I could coax only a little out of him when asking him to assess the Bulldogs’ first season without him.

“It’s just a tough league,” he said. “I feel for them. I know what you go through in that league when things don’t fall right. It’s very unforgiving and it’s hard to remain relevant. Obviously I have an interest in all those kids, so I feel for them.”

4. Meanwhile, the 2014 Bulldogs (26-28-1, 11-18-1 SEC) did manage to qualify for the SEC tournament this year, but just barely. They secured the 12th and final seed by a game in a half over Auburn, which was swept at home by LSU this past weekend. Georgia, which lost two of three to Kentucky, will open tournament play with a single-elimination game against No. 22 Mississippi State tonight.

It’s been a long, tough year, but the Bulldogs see their appearance in the league tourney as a step in the right direction.

“There’s no question we wanted to take a step forward this season,” Stricklin said. “Transitions are never easy. We knew there would be bumps in the road. When you have a change in coaches there are different philosophies, different personalities, and that can be hard on everybody. So by no means did I think we were going to come in here and sprinkle magic dust and win a national championship. There’s a lot of work to do. But we felt it was important that we improved and became better as a team and better as baseball players and that we show some progress in a positive direction.”

5. Former Bulldog Josh Murray made his television debut Monday night on the premier of the ABC series The Bachelorette. Murray, 29, is probably best known as the older brother of Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. Despite their age difference, the two are nearly twins in terms of his physical appearance. But Josh actually played professional baseball before walking on at UGA in 2009 and completing his college eligibility on the scout team. He played in two games with the Bulldogs, according to his bio on georgiadogs.com.

Spoiler alert: Josh made it through the first elimination round on Monday night’s show. Bachelorette Andi Dorfman, an assistant district attorney from Atlanta, seemed to like him. Several blogs have reported that Dorfman’s father is a Bulldogs fan, so that might help him. The AJC’s Rodney Ho wrote about Dorfman and the new season of The Bachelorette last week.

Georgia coach Mark Richt pronounced himself 'a Gurley man' at the UGA Day event in Augusta on Monday. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Georgia coach Mark Richt pronounced himself ‘a Gurley man’ at the UGA Day event in Augusta on Monday. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

6. Georgia coach Mark Richt was in rare form Monday night when he addressed Bulldogs fans at the latest UGA Day gathering at the Augusta Marriott and Convention Center. He created a bit of a Twitter buzz when he said of star tailback Todd Gurley, “I’m a Gurley man. … We’re gonna ride that big hoss.”

Gurley (6-1, 232 pounds) will be a junior next season and is said to be in good health after missing nearly four full games worth of playing time last year due to injuries. Nevertheless, he managed to gain 989 yards and score 10 touchdowns. As a freshman in 2012, rushed for 1,385 yards and 17 touchdowns and has averaged more than six yards per carry during his two-year career in Athens.

Of course, Gurley isn’t the only tailback the Bulldogs have. Junior Keith Marshall is set to return from a knee injury and Georgia signed a pair of 5-star prospects in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, who are set to enroll in school in June.

There are two more UGA Day get-togethers this week — Wednesday in Columbus and Thursday in Macon — before the big finale July 15 in Gwinnett County.

7. Looking forward to heading over to the Boyd Golf Center at the UGA Golf Course later today to talk to members of Georgia’s men’s golf team. The sixth-ranked Bulldogs are headed to Hutchinson, Kan., later this week to compete in the NCAA Championships.

Georgia qualified with an impressive showing in the San Antonio Regional, which they won by 13 shots. The Bulldogs are seeking their third national championship under head coach Chris Haack and associate head coach Jim Douglas and will be among the favorites again this year. So will fourth-seeded Georgia Tech, which won its regional by 17 shots. Georgia State is also in the field of 30.

Of course, Georgia’s success as a golf program has extended beyond the college ranks. Letterman Brendon Todd (2004-07) won the Byron Nelson Classic this past weekend to record his first career PGA Tour victory. That made him the fifth Bulldog to win on the tour in the past year. He joins Bubba Watson, Chris Kirk, Harris English and Russell Henley.

8. Another Georgia program in the hunt for a national championship this year is the women’s fast-pitch softball team. The Bulldogs (49-13), who are seeded fourth in the NCAA Tournament, had to work harder than expected but dispatched N.C. State in powerful fashion on Sunday.

After falling to the Wolfpack 5-4 on Saturday, Georgia had to come through the loser’s bracket. That proved little more than a nuisance as the Bulldogs won three straight, including belting seven home runs in 9-1 and 8-0 victories over N.C. State to win the regional title.

Now Georgia will need to win two games against Baylor (45-14) in a Super Regional Friday and Saturday at the Jack Turner Softball Complex to advance to the College World Series. Should the Bulldogs advance, it will be their fifth WCWS appearance under coach Lu Harris-Champer. They made the Final Four in their last two trips to Oklahoma City.

Roddick

Roddick

9. Neither of Georgia’s teams will be participating in today’s NCAA tennis championship finals at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, but there will be some Bulldogs involved. Oklahoma, which will face off against No. 1 Southern Cal in the men’s final, is coached by former UGA players John Roddick and Bo Hodge.

Roddick, who was a four-time All-American at Georgia (1995-98), has transformed the Sooners’ tennis program in his five seasons as head coach. Hodge was also a four-time All-American at UGA (2001-04) and joined Roddick three years ago.

Today’s 1 p.m. women’s final is between UCLA and North Carolina. The men’s final is set to start at 5 p.m. The singles and doubles competition commences on Wednesday.

The Lady Bulldogs were the top seed but were knocked out by Florida 4-1 in the quarterfinals. Seventh-seeded North Carolina ousted the 10th-seeded Georgia men in the round of 16.

10. This & that: Receiver Uriah LeMay, who recently decided to leave Georgia due to a lack of playing time, will transfer to Charlotte, according to postings on his Twitter feed. The upstart 49ers are coached by former Bulldogs secondary coach Brad Lambert. … Meanwhile, LeMay is still facing theft by deception charges in Athens-Clarke County. He’s and the three other players charged with the same offenses are expected to receive pretrial diversion sentences as first offenders. They’re expected to be arraigned the first week of June.

82 comments
batterupdawg
batterupdawg

The word around metro Atlanta high school travel baseball regarding David Perno, is that he over recruited(too many preferred walk-ons and other commitments) and made too many promises to his recruits that he didn't keep. Therefore, when top local Georgia talent figured it out, they lost interest in the program and went elsewhere. Most of these top travel programs have ex-college players on their staff and they know what is going on. They also have influence on the state's top players.


The word on Scott Stricklin is that he "gets it" and will turn that program around quickly and has already started getting his share of the top players in Georgia. This state produces so many high quality players that if he is honest in recruiting, he will do really well at UGA. He is also a very good coach.


Good luck to him!!!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

Hutson Mason is David Greene remade. Even wears the same number. Not the biggest arm and not the flashiest passer but is accurate and gets it done and wins. It wouldn't surprise me to see Mason do what Shockley did back in 05. Senior starter who waited his turn and then leads us to a championship win. Tee Martin did it at Tennessee after Peyton Manning left. It happens that way sometimes.


UGA lost 4 games last season by 5 points or less. Those swing the other way and we have back to back 12 win seasons under our belt. 8 wins is a huge disappointment at UGA because we've set a standard of at least double digit wins. I think a healthier UGA team with a better defense wins 10 or more this year.

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

You can't hit Gurley hard enough to take him out of a game. Only reason he missed games last season was due to a rolled ankle which actually should have broken due to his size and the way he rolled on it but thankfully it was just a sprain. Crowell would get hit and then wave to the coaches to come out. You can give it to Gurley 25 times a game, maybe even 30 if Bobo would commit to it and he'd do just fine. And one man isn't going to take Gurley down. We're talking about a 230-235 pound back  with track speed. Holy smokes. Ride that "hoss" all the way to Dallas, TX. 

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Keith Marshall says he won't redshirt. IMO, Marshall has his work cut out for him if he wants to beat out Mr. Nick Chubb for #2. I would expect that Marshall will give it all to try and get his backup role back, I just hope he does not reinjure himself doing it. UGA has an offensive line like every football team does. In fact, many believe it will be pretty stout, and better than it has been in several years. Folks will be surprised at how the shortcomings will be shored up for 2014. Gurley II, and the other elite backs that will be available will make 2013 season a forgotten bad dream. Auburn getting all the love while the Dawgs getting prepared!  

forexbomb
forexbomb

No offensive line, NO big numbers for Gurley...  It's that simple.. Coach Richt needs to beef up the big uglies... That is his only chance...  Time will tell..

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Under what handle/handles has this Delusional IDIOT posted before? Moron.

godawg
godawg

Chip,


In almost every article I read about UGA running backs, there is never a mention of RSF A. J. Turman. Just Gurley, Marshall, Douglas, Michel and Chubb . He was a 4-star and ranked among the top 10 best backs in the country when he signed with Georgia. I know he was dinged up in Fall practice last year and they put a shirt on him. What's the deal?

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

NCDawg has proclaimed if Gurley gets hurt this season then he is injury prone, So let it be written, so let it be done.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

Another thing that will be VERY important in first two games are TURNOVERS. Hutson Mason is on a roll. No interceptions for the spring. Now, everyone can sit back and blame poor secondary play for this stat, but the guys in the secondary were fighting to impress Pruitt, so I'm not going to read that into it automatically. Bobo had a little talk with Mason on the subject, and Bobo knows a little about ball protection. Bobo as a QB threw very few picks. I am not Murray bashing here, but he was one of the worst at UGA in this department. His turnovers, whether fumbles or picks always seemed to come at the worst possible times to give points and momentum to the opponent in big games. Clemson 2013 was a good example. Being prepared to protect the ball on offense AND special teams will go a long way. Georgia just needs to come out at the start of the season like it has actually been preparing for it for once.

BravoDawg
BravoDawg

Hoss has to stay on the field in order to ride him to the BCS!  Giddyup Gurley

ARdawg
ARdawg

Ride that Big Hoss! I'm anxious to see what the new freshmen can do, too.

thebucket
thebucket

Perno is a DGD and I still hate the way that all worked out. The team was doing so well at first and then they hit a wall with recruiting and just couldn't get the mojo back. Here's hoping Perno gets another shot soon.

96JB
96JB

Really sad that since UGA took the spring speaking tour away from the local Bulldog clubs, I know attendance has dropped like 60-70% in Augusta.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

Everybody must be voting today, or they decided to not rip off their employer.

Kushdawg
Kushdawg

I think if healthy Marshall is the clear #2 and only for the reason that in Richt offense, you HAVE TO PASS BLOCK.  I don't know if Chubb or Michel will have that down by the time the rubber hits the road!

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@ColumbusDawg  If Marshall is healthy, he's the #2 back unless Chubb or Michel come in and wow the coaching staff. He's proven he's capable. 

DawgGoneIt
DawgGoneIt

@forexbomb  Our O-line is just fine. In fact, could be the best one we've had in years thanks to the emergence of Greg Pyke at RG. All 6'6, 330 lbs of him and John Theus moving back to LT which is his natural spot. Theus got a haircut btw

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@godawg He is probably wondering why he didn't go to Auburn.

NCDawg
NCDawg

@BravoDawg Gurley was just fine injury -wise until he got his ankle turned over.  He carried the load in 2012.  He wasn't even 80% healthy for most of the time after he came back.  High ankle sprains (and that was very nearly a broken ankle the way it buckled under) take a long time to heal.


It isn't like Crowell where he'd get hit hard and take himself out of the game.  There is no one that could have had that injury that would have done much better.  The injury was unavoidable.


I fully expect him to be as injury free as any back and be a big part of the offensive success.  If the freshmen produce then he should be in great shape for the end of the season.  I do not consider him injury prone.  If he gets a major injury this year then he would be "injury prone"

Dogleg
Dogleg

No doubt, the Augusta Bulldog Club Spring Meeting would draw 600-750 folks and now with the Alumni Association running things, it is 150 if lucky. Our University and Athletic Department wants to control everything and every dollar and frankly the "Tour" is a pain to the coaches. TV money is so big now, they don't need the Bulldog Clubs that Coach McGill, Coach Dooley and Loran Smith envisioned and built in order to unite the Bulldog Nation. A tragic loss.

Contractor1
Contractor1

To keep on point though, Gurley is a stud.

Contractor1
Contractor1

I'm sure one or a few will try to say "we are the employers" bla bla, but we all know three and a half quarters of them never even went to Georgia.  Must be a long line at the unemployment office today with so little commenting going on.

ColumbusDawg
ColumbusDawg

The folks that don't think Georgia will be able  run or pass or anything else that requires an offensive line.

Grant1296
Grant1296

Come on Techeye...

Your way too smart to be able to dumb down enough to post as POAD.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@NCDawg @BravoDawgWell last year i was listening to 680 and your beloved B. Belue said he was growing impatient with Gurley and his recovery. I felt the same way, plus those runs out of bounds were not what ole 34 would have done and you all know it.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@godawg Is it go-dawg or god-dawg, i don't want to rub you wrong if it's the latter.

KeepOnSmilingWetWillie
KeepOnSmilingWetWillie

I see you're back to piling on again or as Ron Cherry said..."he was giving him the business".

DawginCO
DawginCO

@Delusionaldog Scratching my head.  2 "I"s and 2 "if"s.  Are you seeing double or something?  Not sure what your point is.