ATLANTA, Ga - Every once in a while there is a story that appears in the media that is a tragedy. Unfortunately, the events surrounding Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans fit this category.
They are devastating for his wife, his kids, and for all of the students at Georgia.
Evans had the look, the business skills to keep Bulldog athletics well-funded, and the credibility to drive a $550,000 year salary by age 40. Evans was the epitome of success, and he was on top the world.
With so much success, why would he put it at risk?
Then on July 2, what could have been a quiet night in Atlanta turned into a nightmare for him. Apparently, Evans had been drinking and then started driving. His erratic behavior caught the attention of a highway patrolman.
When Evans was taking the sobriety test, his 28-year-old female friend would not stay in the car.
She did it so much that the officer had to arrest her for disorderly conduct.
What could have been just a DUI for Evans now would turn into a scandal because Courtney Fuhrmann’s name would be part of a public record.
Getting a DUI is shameful for an Athletic Director.
However, the DUI could have been fought in court and gone down as a big misunderstanding which has happened in Atlanta.
The DUI plus a late night with the young girl in a party dress (see mugshot ) is a lot deeper hole to climb out. Especially since he is married with two kids.
Evans played the only card he could to hold on to his job. Apologize, ask for mercy, and say he will earn the trust of the public again.
It won’t work.
People will forgive, but they expect more from their leaders than this kind of behavior.
There is a reason why you get the $550,000 salary as athletic director. You are expected to perform at a much higher level than everybody else. You are expected to be a role model and to live a scandal-free life.
When you are doing public service announcements at every home football game stating, “you drink, you drive, you lose,” you are expected to abide by those same rules.
It wasn’t that long ago that former Georgia quarterback Zach Mettenberger was dismissed from the team for a drunken night in South Georgia. Seems like the same rules would apply to upper management.
I like Evans but these kinds of problems can’t be worked out in public with a high-profile job like his. Recent headlines prove this to be true.
President Adams did the right thing by letting Evans publicly apologize and deferring his decision about Evans until a future date. But if Adams keeps Evans, he will be seen as weak.
UGA already has a tarnished record with the issue of alcohol problems. Keeping Evans would magnify the issue.
If the video is released showing Evans taking a sobriety test with his friend jumping out of the car, the pressure will be too much. No one wants to see their leader wearing handcuffs or alone with a woman that isn't his wife. It’s tragic.
More information will continue to trickle in but there will not be a happy ending to this story.
Jay Holgate is an SEC Sports Analyst and co-host of Southern Football TV.