Archive for December, 2015

New Blood

Amidst these exciting times in the state of Georgia, our humble spilling place is proud to welcome a couple of new contributors to The Grit Tree. Join us in welcoming CornDawg and PappyDawg to the blogosphere. Both are recent graduates of our esteemed University, and we’re excited about the fresh takes these guys will bring on UGA athletics, Georgia bbq and southern culture in general. Happy reading folks, and a Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Richt to Continue His Mission

We should not be surprised…we should not be sad…we should only be happy for a coach who is fulfilling his calling.

During Richt’s Monday farewell press conference, fans witnessed a man who was weary from the coaching grind and was looking forward to taking some time away to spend more time with his wife Kathryn.  “I’ve been coaching for 33 years straight, and that’s a long grind.  It can wear a man out a little bit, especially sitting in the head coach’s chair.  We are very excited about our future.”

Then the calls came from current and former players, even ones he had dismissed.  They thanked Richt for making them a better husband, making them a good father, making them into a man of integrity.  And at that moment, Richt knew his mission was not yet complete.

Since 1986, when Richt gave his life to Jesus Christ, Richt has served someone greater than himself.  And when he saw the responses from Charlie Ward, DJ Shockley, Brandon Boykin, Mohamed Massaquoi, Aaron Murray, and even players he dismissed such as Sheldon Dawson. Richt knew relaxing by the pool or spending a month on a long deserved hiatus was not the Lord’s intention.

Heading back to his alma mater, The University of Miami (“The U)” is a nice conclusion to a fantastic coaching career mostly spent as an offensive assistant at Florida State and head coach at Georgia.  But don’t let the trees get in the way of the forest.  This is not about closing out a  great coaching tenure where you played your college football.  This is about Richt completing his spiritual journey, and it is far from complete.

Godspeed Coach!


Lies, Lies, Lies

Greg McGarity has lied to you.  He lied to me.  And he lied to the man who he fired that was sitting next to him in the press conference Monday.

It is being universally reported now that Kirby Smart will be the next head coach at the University of Georgia.  This is not at all surprising.

Greg McGarity said in his comments at the press conference he would retain the services of a search firm.  He said that on Monday morning.  Some 36 hours later, it was reported that Kirby would take the job.  For an athletic department that took 20 years to decide on building an indoor practice facility, and takes time to make other routine decisions, I have doubts about this.

In 36 hours, a search firm was hired, all the candidates were vetted, made an offer, and said offer was accepted?  In 36 hours?   For the arguably the most important job at the University of Georgia?  For arguably one of, if not the most, high profile jobs in the entire state?

McGarity also said that the decision to make a move on Coach Richt was made driving home from the Tech game.  That is a lie.  You don’t make major, multi-million dollar decisions on an hour and half drive home.  You just don’t.

This decision was made after the Florida game, if not earlier.

I understand not being bombastic.  I understand not saying a whole lot.  I don’t agree with that approach; McGarity could have been a little more open and forthcoming.  Instead, he came off like a weasel.  But I understand why he wouldn’t say a whole lot.

But to sit there, and flat out lie to us all?  Even worse, to insult our intelligence?  It is one thing to lie and be deceitful.  It is another thing to lie, but have everyone know you are doing it.

I’ve said it before a million times but I’ll say it again:  the success of the football coach will hinge on if changes are implemented in Butts-Mehre.

I wish Coach Kirby Smart the best of luck for a long, successful career at the University of Georgia.

I can’t say the same for his boss.





Why Go After The Sure Thing?

Back in college, I had a roommate for two years. One of my best friends, a groomsman in my wedding, and we still talk regularly.

Like most college guys, we were never going to be considered poster children for cleanliness. However, anytime my roommate cleaned up, and I’m talking mopping, vacuuming, the whole nine yards,  I knew one of two things: he had a test and was procrastinating studying, or he was going to go out and had intentions of bringing a girl home.

He was a good looking guy, had charisma, and of course always had good luck with girls. When he would go out, he would go out with lofty ambition, and go for the hottest girls. Sometimes, though, old lady luck wasn’t smiling down on him. But he never came home empty handed. He had a couple of “sure things” he would call upon.

I had another friend. He didn’t care. He just went after the first girl that gave him any attention. His standards were lower and it was about quantity. I’m sure any of you can relate and have had similar friends in your group.

I say all that not to reminisce about the good ole days.

If Georgia’s stated goal is to win championships, and (justifiably) just fired a coach like Mark Richt because he didn’t win enough championships, why are we targeting the sure thing?

Like the Senator said this morning, Kirby Smart is the frontrunner. Hell, he appears to be the only runner. But…:

McGarity knows he’s offering a plum job and that if Smart can’t bring himself to shake hands – and that wouldn’t be the first time Kirby’s walked away from Athens – there will be plenty of other candidates willing to step up and take his place.

But there are risks for both, too.  Smart’s waited for his opportunity at Georgia for a while, and now Mark Richt is gone.  If he doesn’t take the job and Georgia’s next choice turns out to be a good hire, that opportunity may be gone forever.  Is that something you really want to risk?

If Georgia is in fact this top place, why start out with the sure thing? Why not go to Brian Kelly, Jimbo Fisher, Mark Dantonio, David Shaw, etc… , offer the keys to the kingdom, and make them tell you no? If this is such an attractive place, why start with the sure thing?

Everyone has their “source on the inside”. Everyone knows someone. I am 100% convinced the next UGA head coach will be Kirby Smart. Everyone from the janitor’s third cousin once removed’s wife to ESPN is saying Kirby is the guy. I will support him and hope we do well.

But I wish Georgia would shoot for the moon first before just settling for the sure thing. Like my roommate in college, sometimes it works out pretty well.