Several times the last couple of seasons, Georgia fans could be heard complaining about the direction of their baseball program.
And with good reason.
In fact, I had several of those conversations with Bulldogs fans who had simply had enough.
“It’s time for a change,” one fan told me.
“What a bad hire he was,” another one said.
“Let’s just start over again,” another one said.
Well, luckily for the program’s health, athletic director Greg McGarity wasn’t listening. Or maybe he was listening and just didn’t act on it. And that patience has paid off this season with one heck of a turnaround by Scott Stricklin and the Bulldogs, which Corey Knapp broke down Monday.
Sure, there could have been a change after Georgia finished 25-32, including 11-19 in SEC play, in 2017 in Stricklin’s fifth season. And many fans wanted a change to come.
But McGarity showed a lot of patience, which he has displayed a lot with coaches through the years, and it has worked out this season. Georgia is 30-14, including 12-9 in the SEC, and it looks like the Bulldogs will make it to the SEC Tournament for the first time since 2011.
And the young players who were forced into being on the field too early the last couple of seasons are having a big impact on this team. Many times during Stricklin’s tenure, the Bulldogs would run a really young lineup on the field and take their lumps against teams with more experience.
While fans obviously wanted to see immediate results, many didn’t understand how that experience would end up helping the team in the long run. They’re certainly helping this year.
That should continue the rest of this season Georgia has nine more SEC regular-season games — three at Missouri, three at Florida and then three at home against Arkansas — to continue to make its case as an NCAA Tournament team.
Very few folks saw that coming this season — certainly not most of the fans I had talked to. But McGarity did the right thing and gave Stricklin more time with this program to get things going in the right direction.
And the Bulldogs and their fans can thank patience for making that happen.