Sunday, June 10, 2012

Thoughts on McGarity and the New Contracts

So we finally got all the details on the new contracts for Richt and Grantham, and then got the surprise news of a new contract for McGarity as well.  The details of the contracts have been pretty well hashed out by everyone, so I won't take the time to list out the details.  But with these contracts for Richt and Grantham, I continue to be impressed with McGarity and his handling of the athletic department.

Richt's contract couldn't possibly have been done any better.  Though last year was a huge improvement, the overall performance of the team the last 4 years did not merit a raise on his base salary, but building in additional incentives was a nice gesture to both the coach and the fan base.  Dropping the buyout requirement on Richt's side was brilliant, because that then gave McGarity the leverage to significantly lower the buyout on the University's side, and the risk of Richt deciding to walk away for another job is pretty low anyway:
"I think the bottom line for me, gosh, I think I’ve been here long enough for everybody to understand … that Georgia’s my home. Georgia’s where I want to be. Georgia’s the only job I want."
The buyout on the University's side under Richt's previous contract though was just not something that could be repeated.  At the time that contract was signed, we all probably thought it was a great idea to have such a mutually large buyout in place, but once the program got off course, it was clear that having such a large buyout was a mistake.  I do believe that Richt has us back on the right course now, and I do want him to perform well enough to stay at UGA as long as he wants to be a coach, but even with last year's improvement, there is still a bit of lingering doubt in much of the fanbase right now, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't still have some doubts way in the back of my head too.  McGarity was right to address this by finding a way to lower the buyout.  He has said that he always wants his coaches to feel a sense of urgency, and while Richt is not a materialistic man, making a lot of money has to be something valuable to him because it will allow him to do the things he wants to do with supporting missionary work and other areas of ministry.  Having the additional incentives and the extra urgency from a lower buyout will help Richt to not let the program lose focus like it did in the 2006 - 2009 era.  Again, well done all the way around by McGarity.

As for Grantham's contract, I think it is pretty straightforward and right in line with what many of us expected.  I thought we might see something more like $850,000 - $900,000 annually based on the contracts signed by VanGorder, Chavis, and Smart, so at first I was a little surprised to see the figure of $825,000 until I saw the additional incentives that were built in.  It's hard to argue with McGarity's logic:
“With Todd’s new bonus structure, we feel like he’s right behind the two guys who have won national championships here in the last two or three years,” McGarity said. “We feel like it’s a fair deal.”
Agreed.  There are some protections built in to prevent Grantham from making a lateral move, though I don't see a potential lateral move (DC at another college) as a threat whether there is a buyout or not. Grantham has his eyes set on bigger things (NFL DC or college head coach), and he will get his opportunity.  I hope we can get at least 2 more years out of him, though his star is likely to be at its highest after the 2012 season considering how much talent we have coming back now and how much we lose for 2013.  Just look at Gus Malzahn....after their big season in 2010, he was arguably the hottest candidate in the country, and even had an SEC head coaching offer in hand that he rejected.  But after coaching another year without a stud like Newton running the show, Malzahn could barely get a sniff from any decent size schools, and ended up in a Sun Belt head coaching position instead - quite a change in scenery.  So it wouldn't surprise me if we lose Grantham after this year if the defense ends up being as good as we think it will, but it won't be because McGarity did anything wrong with his contract.  McGarity is making sure Grantham knows he is valued in Athens.

There's been a couple of other things that have stood out to me about McGarity as well.  I really liked how he was willing to shake things up by trying things like relocating the marching band.  But what impresses me even more is that he is willing to undo one of his own ideas like that when it doesn't work out, instead of being bullheaded about the decision.  He has for the most part been firm and assured in dealing with the various coaches and handling hiring of replacements.  There has been a bit of grumbling in his handling of the baseball coaching staff, but with everything else he has done, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that one.  He's taking a bit of a gamble by keeping Perno and allowing Perno to just reshuffle the existing assistant coaches, but he must see something there that is worth giving a shot.  In no way does McGarity strike me as being indecisive, so I trust that he has good reasons for retaining the Diamond Dawgs staff.

What do you guys think?  I've focused on the positives of McGarity in this post, but are there any things you would like to see him do differently?  Hope everyone has a great Sunday.


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