Friday, June 8
We entered Thursday's conference call to finalize Mark Richt's contract expecting to learn a little about Georgia's head coach and his future.
Instead, we may have learned a little more about Greg McGarity.
Quietly tucked away in the Richt news, UGA president Michael Adams announced an extension and raise for McGarity. Asked about it later, McGarity's face turned red because it embarassed him a bit to talk about it.
But he was glad to talk about Richt's deal -- for a while. Yes, after the approval and release of Richt's contract, to his credit McGarity stuck around and sat at a conference table with reporters to go step-by-step through the contract, explaining different items to make sure everyone was clear on what they were reading and what it meant.
You won't find many other ADs in America willing to spent the time to do that sort of thing, and he fielded questions for a while too.
As for why it took so long to get a deal done?
"These discussions were held in January," McGarity said, "and they were over very quickly in January. So this is not something that's been going on and on and on for months. These details I'm talking to you about, we had these settled many, many months ago.
"What was getting caught up and what took so long were maybe some tax issues. There was some legal wording that needed to be worked out between our counsel and Mark's representatives, so it just takes longer. But the deal points have been solid, really, from day one."
It was also McGarity who passed along the day's headlining fact that a buyout that had existed previously that would have called for Richt to pay at least $2 million if he chose to leave UGA was now history. It was not in the contract now, and McGarity put that on the table and explained it, saying "There's been nothing that has been any kind of indication that Mark is going to do that."
But McGarity also said it was something philosophically he believed.
"If they are a brand-new coach at an institution," McGarity said, "I do believe in being high on both sides. Have a high buyout and high liquidated damages, because you're trying to establish a program, and there's a lot of money invested in getting people on campus, relocating, things of that nature. I do think that if you go past a decade that perhaps those anchors can be removed. Basically, you have a working environment to where you're kind of free to do what you want to do. I've always felt that's important, and I don't think money should be an anchor to keep someone from doing someone or keep them from making a decision that they don't want to make."
The buyout on UGA's part is structured to where Richt would be owed $4.8 million if he is fired after the 2012 season, while that figure would be cut in half to $2.4 million in 2013.
While nothing is certain, a message is clear in these amounts.
For one, Richt is likely safe in 2012, but UGA will take stock on all this the year after that, and potentially start contract talks again either way (as McGarity was clear that he would not have a coach working with two years left on his contract).
And though Richt didn't receive a raise in this contract, McGarity also left the carrot on the table.
"It's called base salary for a reason," McGarity said. "We can adjust those numbers as we desire. So these are not locked in by any stretch of the imagination. These contracts can always be adjusted. So we have that flexibility down the road if we need to. I'm very aware of where the markets are ... and we know where our staffs are placed."
LINK(S) OF THE DAY
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, whose extended contract is set to be released Friday on the heels of Richt's deal, discusses recruiting with the AJC's Chip Towers.
TWEET(S) OF THE DAY
2012 starts today http://instagr.am/p/Ll3t5No_kf/
LB Christian Robinson
Up early for physicals
TE Ty Flournoy-Smith
These physicals are going to be all day... smh
LB Josh Dawson
Tired this morning from killing them boys in poker lol.. Bout to get to work though
RB Keith Marshall
Unlimited food anytime I want! #collegelife #awesome
P Collin Barber
Does anyone else on twitter feel like they are being followed?
DL signee John Atkins
I've decided I'm gona make flavored soap so when kids get in trouble for bad words and have to eat soap then the soap will b delicious!!
DB Blake Sailors
It's sunny and breezy, the perfect weather for a delicious lunch and drinks on our rooftop! #welovesummer
It's a grown man wearing hi heels. smh #JerrySpringer
DL Garrison Smith