The recent guest list on a on a satellite radio show called “College Football Playbook” has included the likes of BCS executive director Bill Hancock, new Penn State coach Bill O’Brien, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.
Oh, yeah, and a college president that you might have heard something about.
Less than 48 hours before Michael Adams announced he’s retiring in June, 2013 from his post at the University of Georgia, he was asked on the air if SEC commissioner Mike Slive had talked to him about the college football playoff scenarios.
“As you know, Mike and I talk often,” Adams said.
Adams had pushed an eight-team playoff in early 2008. Slive Thursday in a statement praised Adams, a former chair of the NCAA’s executive committee, for “making significant contributions not only to the Southeastern Conference but to intercollegiate athletics generally through his work as a national leader in the field,”
Closer to home, Adams’s influence has been large during his 15 years as president.
He was a big advocate for basketball coach Jim Harrick’s hiring after working with him at Pepperdine. Harrick was forced to resign in the spring of 2003 amid school and NCAA investigations into his program that put the program on four years of probation.
Adams fired Jim Donnan in December, 2000 over the objections of athletic director Vince Dooley, but that move was followed by the hire of Mark Richt, who led Georgiato a pair of SEC titles. Donnan got an additional $255,000 in severance pay under a “confidential” agreement between Adams and Donnan during contract negotations in 1998. Dooley and UGA lawyers weren’t told of the agreements.
Adams refused to renew Dooley’s contract as athletic director, ending Dooley’s 40 years at Georgia in 2004.
Dooley addressed the end of his time at Georgia in the book “History and Reminiscences of the University of Georgia,” but was less expansive when reached Thursday.
“I commend President Adams on his retirement, his service and his contributions to the University of Georgia,” Dooley said reading from a prepared statement. “I do believe it is time for a change and I look forward to the Bulldog Nation uniting under new leadership in the future.”
He added: “I don’t think I need to say anything else.”
In the book, Dooley called Adams “hands-on, controlling and (some say) egotistical.”
Asked if the time since he was forced out as AD, changed anything in terms of his view of how his Georgia career ended, Dooley said: “I don’t think I should comment beyond that. What I’ve said is what I’ve said. It’s in the book (“My 40 years at Georgia”) or the history book, whatever it is. At this time, I think that is all that is appropriate to say.”
Greg McGarity, now Georgia’s athletic director, attended Adams’ late Thursday morning announcement at the UGA chapel with other senior athletic administrators.
He said Adams has been “a tremendous resource,” in his 18 months in the job after being hired from Florida.
“We talked often,” McGarity said. “We communicated frequently, but I was respectful of his time so I didn’t want to bug him with every little thing we had going on, but I wanted to be sure that the president’s in the loop and didn’t want him to be surprised with anything. We have a very healthy relationship. Just sorry we’re not going to be able to continue that down the road.”
Adams will still be in his current role for another academic year.
Business wil go on.
The contract extension for Richt is expected to be up for approval at the next Athletic Association board meeting May 24, McGarity said Thursday. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s extension does not need board approval.
For all the divisions created by Adams’ decision not to grant Dooley’s request for a contract extension, coaches at Georgia already know what it’s like to work with Adams as president. The same can’t be said for the person who replaces him.
It’s worth noting again that when basketball coach Mark Fox got a contract extension last year that runs through March 31, 2016, changes were made to the buyout provision in case changes were made to the school and athletic administration that would affect his working environment.
As was reported last June:
Fox would still have to pay Georgia a hefty $2 million buyout within 45 days if he were to leave at any time before the end of the deal, but those “Liquidated Damages” drop to $500,000 if “both (1) a significant change in the administration of the University has occurred as compared to the University’s administration in existence as of May 1, 2011, and (2) the Athletic Director has changed from the person who held the position as of May 1, 2011.”
Clearly, Adams stepping down could be considered “a significant change in the administration,” but McGarity presumably will remain in place after Adams joins the faculty so the reduced buyout wouldn’t be triggered.
McGarity, by the way, said there won’t be similar language pertaining to a change in the university administration in Richt’s new deal.
While Adams has been a national voice in college athletics, McGarity said “very few” calls between the two since he’s been athletic director have been initiated byAdams.
“Just to call and ask me about something, very few,” McGarity said. “They were always me calling him or emailing him asking for advice to help me understand this a little bit better from 10,000 feet. I’m kind of close to the ground and I have a view on athletics, but he’s got a global view. Fifteen years as a president, I’d be foolish not to use him as a resource.”
–Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer