It didn't take nearly as long as most Georgia Bulldogs fans anticipated, and the choice, at least from the outset, appears to be the one that most fans are more than willing to accept. Greg McGarity, the longtime associate athletic director for the Florida Gators, has reportedly been hired by Michael Adams.
Initially, the search for the next athletic director (AD) was thought to be one that could take up to six months or more. It seemed conceivable that the sports programs would endure an entire season without anyone serving in that capacity—save interim AD, Frank Crumley.
But, as daunting as that sounded, most fans were willing to wait—they didn't want another quick decision.
There were many who felt that former AD, Damon Evans, was hired too quickly in 2004. McGarity was a candidate back then as well, and had more experience, but Michael Adams wanted a guy that he felt comfortable with, who wasn't necessarily a Vince Dooley guy, and who he could say he hand-picked—in short, Adams wanted this hire to be his own.
He got his wish and Evans was hired. However, once Evans resigned after his DUI arrest, it became clear that the next individual to take over the slot would need to be chosen a bit more carefully and, preferably, come into the position with more experience than Evans did back in 2004.
It was at that time that many fans and followers of the Georgia Bulldogs football program started rehashing the name of Greg McGarity.
He was not only an Athens native, but an alumnus of the University of Georgia and a former friend/colleague of Vince Dooley—the Georgia coaching legend who served as the AD for more than two decades before being unceremoniously let go by Michael Adams.
It was the latter point about McGarity that made some feel that he would, again, not get a serious look for the job. Adams has long been criticized for his penchant for hiring people who aren't as likely to challenge his authority.
However, after the Evans debacle, Adams may have seen the writing on the wall and might have thought it best to hire a person that the athletic association board members were comfortable with as well—something he didn't necessarily consider when both Damon Evans and Jim Harrick (former men's basketball coach) were hired.
Whatever the reason (because clearly the above is up for some debate), Greg McGarity will bring years of experience and class back to the position.
He has been a key member of Jeremy Foley's staff at the University of Florida over the last decade and played a prominent role in turning the athletic department, particularly the basketball and football programs at Florida, into SEC powers.
Georgia Bulldogs fans will probably hear a lot of good-natured ribbing about stealing away a Gator to try and find success, but they'll take the teasing if it means that Georgia can get back to the business of winning big in the SEC.
To read a short bio of McGarity's skills and experience, click here, but expect more to come as the official announcement of his hire is slated for tomorrow.