My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.

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.”

No comments: