I follow Georgia basketball pretty close, and this past season was even a season ticket holder. Admittedly, I probably won’t be this upcoming season. No, its not a statement on the state of the team or anything like that. With a three year old and my wife and I having jobs that are demanding on nights and weekends during January and February, it was hard to get to as many games as I would have liked. Easier (and cheaper) to just get single games.
I do think that Mark Fox is a pretty good coach, though I think we have grossly underachieved the past couple of seasons. We can brag all we want to about winning 20 games three consecutive seasons, but this team should have been a 25 win team and a no-brainer for the tournament. Easily. There are moments in games when I just want to scream.
Georgia should be a better at basketball. I do think there are some disadvantages and I think you can’t underestimate the hole the Harrick scandal put the program in, but that is neither here nor there. Simply put, Georgia should be better. Georgia should recruit better, and Fox should consistently coach better in the games.
For schools in the SEC (with one obvious exception), especially a place like Georgia, basketball is widely regarded just something to get you through signing day and then a distraction before the spring practice. Right or wrong, that is just how it is.
Mark Fox knows where his bread is buttered, and it is buttered by football. I went to the alumni gathering last week in Macon. It was the the third or fourth time I’ve been. The first time I went was in 2010 and was after either Fox’s in his first or second season. Everyone had a long line to get autographs and pictures with Coach Richt. Mark Fox just stood over there by himself drinking a beer. Kennsingtondawg and I talked to him about coaching in Kansas and rural life out there.
Every other time I’ve gone and heard him speak, he is very brief and says something like “Well, I know you guys are here to hear from Coach Richt so I’m just going to say thank you and sit down.” Not quite that brief, but it’s pretty close.
Fox and Richt’s close relationship was well documented. So when his buddy Mark Richt was fired last fall, he was understandably emotional addressing it the first chance he could. When asked about Kirby Smart addressing the crowd at halftime of the Arkansas game, Coach Fox was short and terse. I honestly think that was blown up by some of the beat writers looking for something to talk about and not a big deal. At all. But the perception was Mark Fox was not giving a warm welcome to the new Head Football Coach.
When at the alumni event last week, Coach Fox and Coach Smart were effusive in their praise of one another. That was the focus of an article by Jason Butt on Sunday.
Fox was a Richt guy. Now he is a Smart guy. And it’s the smart thing to do.