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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Vic Koenning Update

OK, plenty of rumors swirling at this point, so it's probably best to address what's being said.

First off, I preface all of this with two important caveats:

1.) I'm writing this without confirmation from Vic Koenning or from Georgia, so nothing is official at this point regarding an acceptance of any potential offers.

2.) My preference is to be official before writing, but since enough of you are asking, it's probably worth telling you what I do know, even if we don't have the complete story at this point.

Of course, the third caveat is that this all may be a moot point by Friday morning, but that's the world we live in now.

So… Vic Koenning as the UGA defensive coordinator?

Yes, Koenning wanted the Georgia job. I've heard for several weeks from numerous sources that this was the No. 1 destination on Koenning's list, and it was a job he was fairly open about wanting. Saying he lobbied for it might be a strong term, but it was of significant interest to him. Koenning coached at Clemson for several years under Tommy Bowden, and as you know, the Bowdens are close with Mark Richt, Dave Van Halanger and other members of the UGA staff. So there was contact early.

Sources have also confirmed that Koenning and Richt spoke as recently as last week about the job, but no offer was immediately forthcoming. As we've since learned, Richt was pursuing other avenues that included, at the very least, Virginia Tech's Bud Foster.

In the meantime, Illinois offered Koenning its defensive coordinator position. Koenning followed up with Georgia -- again, according to various sources I've spoken with -- but was again not tendered an offer. By Tuesday, he had decided it was time to pursue the Illinois offer, assuming things were not happening with Georgia.

Joe Schad of ESPN reports that no deal was finalized with Illinois, but I have been told that in fact the Illini had a news conference planned for Friday to announce the hiring of Koenning, so it seems clear that, at the very least, there was a strong understanding that a contract would be agreed upon.

Thursday, however, an offer finally came from Georgia, which was Koenning's first choice and the preferred destination of his family. So now, what we're left with is this: Koenning has offers from both Georgia and Illinois, and while Athens was indeed the preferred destination, there are repercussions to backing out on what was at least an implied agreement with Illinois.

So… what happens from here?

That, I don't know yet, but an answer is likely to come from Koenning soon. And as Georgia Sports Blog wrote, his qualifications are certainly worthy of the job. Still, the temperature of the room among fans seems to be a luke warm on this at best. So, what say you? Would you get behind a Koenning hire? Or is this not enough of a departure from Willie Martinez for your liking?

Again, phone calls and text messages to Koenning have not been returned, so I'm not ready to call this a hire for Georgia. The situation, according to my sources, is still fluid. But I'll let you know as soon as I know something for certain.

UPDATE: Schad now reporting that Koenning is going to stay with his agreement and head to Illinois.


CNoogaDawg said...

I felt good after reading Richt's comments yesterday because it sounded like he had his guy and was waiting until the proper time to announce it. If the DC is going to coach in the title game (Smart) or has NFL commitments the wait is reasonably acceptable.

If your offering the job to Koenning now then that's not good because he is a guy you could have had day 1. It's starting to look like our top choices have turned us down and we are left scrambling for plan B and we might have screwed plan B up.

I support Richt and he is the best coach we've had since Dooley, but waiting until Jan. for a second or third tier coach will cause some problems with the fan base.

rc said...

Yes, I would have gotten behind Koenning, and yes, I didn't feel like he was enough of a departure from Free (TD) Willie. Make sense? No? Good. Seriously, though, I agree with a lot of what CNooga said, especially the part about how we could have had this guy from Day One, so why now after all the build-up? The homer in me wants to be somewhat skeptical that a true "offer" was ever made, but that Richt may have been frank with him that he was still in the running, and not to rush into what is sure to be a short term situation if he could hold out a little longer. I've been involved in job searches like that before: your dream job is still very much a possibility, but not assured, and the timing isn't your own. In the meantime you've got this bird-in-hand that is going to significantly increase your compensation- and probably your quality of life- but not necessarily improve your job security. What do you do?

Given that scenario it is entirely possible thaqt Koenning and/or his agent heard what they wanted to hear from Richt/UGA, but never actually got an offer. So I'll just consider that a bullet dodged. Like I said, I would have given Koenning a chance- hell, look how much better a DC Joe Kines was at Bama than he was at UGA- he still wouldn't have moved the needle much for me.

Anonymous said...

According to Richt they never offered him and was told to "not want on us".

Left to Right said...

Thanks for the info.

To echo CNoooga, given what is being reported, does this do away with the "Richt-is-following-a-carefully-constructed-plan" meme? Seems the Koenning-to-Illinois news pushed him into making an offer he wasn't otherwise ready to make. And this indicates nothing good about the situation with Smart.

Ugh, this is beginning to look like the basketball search, where Mike Anderson was "Plan A", and Anthony Grant was was "Plan B." When Grant accepted the Bama job, and Anderson surprised Evans and Adams by turning down UGA (after Adams had shot off his mouth about making a big time hire), it forced Georgia to start the process over again. As you have pointed out, it led UGA to gamble with an off-the-radar hire.

Georgia may very well be facing a repeat scenario. Plan B (Koenning) takes another job and Plan A (Smart) turns Richt down.

Anonymous said...

Oh boy.

This looks a lot like our recruiting the last few years.

Really poor personnel choices based on reaction to others.

I hope that CMR recognizes that he must get this right, or he will be the one looking for a job this time next year.

Anonymous said...

Obviously all of this is just speculation but I don't see it as a Plan A,B,C and so forth. I think VK is among a group of candidates that are in plan A. According to what Richt has been hinting at and others have been reporting the job has not been offered to anyone. Just because Richt has spoken with Bud Foster, Kirby Smart, VK, etc. doesn't mean they were plan A,B and C. I understand the perception but Richt obviously wasn't ready to pull the trigger until yesterday. There are several plausible scenarios that don't have Richt settling for a below tier DC.

The fan base is going to be disappointed with anybody outside of Smart, Foster, Muschamp, or Van Gorder. There are tons of great coaches out there that don't have the big name but have great track records of putting together solid defenses. I think Kirby Smart is a huge risk because he has one year running a defense that needed nothing. Alabama's def. was going to be top notch regardless of who was coaching it.

Richt will bring in an excellent DC regardless of what the name is. Patience and trust is needed.

jb said...

Koenning was never offered the job. His agent however realized that he might could squeeze a little more cash out of Illinois if they thought the Georgia job was offered. Before you freak out people, remember that most of this information is coming from agents who have a dog in the fight.

Chris said...

Does anyone know why the UGA Athletic Association plane keeps going to Florida? Recruiting? It is headed to Jacksonville this afternoon.

Anonymous said...

We do have a lot of recruits from the Jacksonville area.

Mel Tucker would be a heckuva coup as DC, though.

Coached under Saban, is only 37 and has coached in the NFL for 5 years.

Chris said...

Good thinking, but it looks like they are going to Tampa now.