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Monday, March 14, 2011

McGarity sees hoops making 'huge step .. by being relevant'

Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity sees an NCAA tournament bid for the men’s basketball team as a step forward for the program. Not just because of the bid itself, but because of the build-up.

“I told Mark (Fox) this before the announcement: What you’ve got to look at it is the big picture,” McGarity said Monday morning. “Whether you’re in or out, we’ve kind of made a huge step in our program by being relevant. And to be relevant you have to play in the postseason. … We just haven’t been there in so many years.”

Three years ago the Bulldogs made the NCAAs, but that was after an unexpected run to the SEC tournament title. The last at-large berth came nine years ago, and was later vacated. Since then the team has undergone two coaching changes, with Fox being hired two years ago by previous athletics director Damon Evans.

Fox opened his post-selection press conference Sunday night by thanking Evans, McGarity and school president Michael Adams.

McGarity was hired last August to replace Evans. While football drives the train at Georgia, McGarity’s background at Florida – which won consecutive NCAA titles while he was there – makes him aware of the process it takes to become a factor in basketball. And it starts with the drive to the NCAAs.

“That’s the goal of any program when you’re really starting over, and you’ve gone through so many years of not really being in the position to go to a postseason,” McGarity said. “The amount of pressure builds up as you get closer to (the tournament.) Players have friends telling them what they need to do to make it. People tell them you’ve got to win this game, you’ve got to win that game.

“I think being able to handle that is part of the growth process of the program. Not just for coaches but for everyone. To have a program established, you’ve got to kind of break that door down. And playing in that tournament. You’ve got to kind of get over that hump.”

There is one hazard with improvement in a program: Other schools might come after your coach. McGarity said any discussions of a contract extension or raise for Fox would come after the season, but intimated that he would make sure to show the coach his support.

“August 14th, that day after the announcement of the A.D. position being filled, that’s the first day I met both Marks. And since that day he knew he was going to have an A.D. that was going to be right there at his side,” McGarity said. “Our relationship, it’s very strong. We enjoy each other’s company. And we’ve had some conversations before the year ever started about the future of our program. Consistent goals, consistent future plans.

“I think you always have to worry about that (other schools targeting your coach), but you want to make sure you’re proactive rather than reactive.”


Anonymous said...

I know a lot of people complain that this team isn't living up to its potential, but I think you have to look where the program is coming from. I see nothing but good things in the future, and as soon as Fox can coach up a decent bench, then the team will stop fading in the second half.

I hope McGarity is true to his word and makes sure that Fox sticks around.

brew said...

That's right, Anon.

The bench is what is currently holding this team back from being a very strong team. There is just very little depth there, which is not surprising considering the mess that Felton left behind.

The argument for Fox is a lot like the argument for Grantham. He has to recruit and get the guys in there that fit his system; that does not happen quickly like we all would like it to.

NCIvyDawg said...

Who is coming to Charlotte?! Would love to get a tailgate going Friday evening.

There is plenty to do here as well, so make a weekend out of it!

Anonymous said...

I agree, brew.

I know people keep saying that losing Thompkins, Leslie, and Price will hurt next year. And don't get me wrong, I think they will all be huges losses, but on the bright side there should be more development out of Thornton and Brantley.

I think developing the bench, along with recruiting Caldwell-Pope, should ease some of the losses.

bigeasydawg said...

The headline alone tells you where the program is. "Huge step by being relevant" isn't exactly a nod of approval to the last 6 years.

I hate the expression "keep chopping wood" because it's dumb and doesn't have anything to do with anything (except chopping and wood), but that sentiment certainly applies to Georgia Basketball. I would trade one sweet sixteen for three tourney invites in a row at this point. We just need a little consistency to be able to launch this thing.

After the bama game, I was embarrassed to still be considered for an invite (i still kinda am), but we just need to keep getting those ncaa banners.

Anonymous said...

Only bad thing about playing In Charlotte, with both Duke and North Carolina both playing there tickets will be close to impossible. It is a shame I would love to go support the dawgs but not selling the house to do it. Excited dawgs are in tourny, let's wipe the floor with the huskies!

Anonymous said...

Tickets to the evening session with UNC and Georgia for Friday are still under $100 (for two games) on Stubhub. You can still purchase all 6 for $241 on Ticketmaster and resell them.

Anonymous said...

It is a great opportunity to be six victories from a championship, but this program still needs to get out and recruit a dream team of its own.

- Tom

Anonymous said...

McGarity sounds like a loon. UGA was in the NCAA's in 2008, when McGarity wasn't even in the program. McGarity didn't hire Fox. McGarity has nothing to do with this.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of people coming after Fox, listening to local sports talk radio in Raleigh today it was definitely intimated that NC State could be looking at Fox.

Anonymous said...

I hope we beat UW their fans are so cocky and they no absolutely nothing about the dawns. Go on the conversation board for the game on espn to see where I'm coming from

Rosy Fingers said...

Are you referring to "Delta" and "Rae Chong"?

Ka Bam