A letter from a former Georgia letterman concerned about the state of UGA athletics
Carroll Minick was a baseball player at Georgia from 1963-64, and is now a retired stockbroker living in Savannah, Ga. He wrote the following letter in an e-mail, with the subject line “UGA Sports and Greg McGarity.” Minick agreed to let it be published. The posting of this letter it not as an endorsement of everything mentioned, or the overall sentiment. The purpose of publishing the letter is to give an on-the-record voice to the concerns that others have expressed behind the scenes.
The letter appears essentially as it was originally written, with minor edits, mainly for format:
Four years ago, I along with a fellow UGA baseball letterman, met with Greg McGarity in his office to discuss his expectations for our baseball coach and program. He said he judged his coaches on: 1. Overall record, 2. SEC record, 3. SEC championships, and 4. College World Series and postseason championships. Since that time, our baseball program has had a losing record, with many statistics near the bottom.
About a month before this baseball season was over, I called Greg McGarity’s office about his having a face-to-face meeting with two former baseball captains and me. He refused and said he’d only do a conference call. The three of us talked to Greg for 48 minutes and told him the lettermen were unhappy with the poor performance of baseball and wanted excellence. David Perno, the former coach, had been to the College World Series three times in his tenure, and this year we hardly made the SEC Tournament, after finishing 12th out of 14 teams. He listened and none of us have heard anything since.
My involvement with UGA baseball goes back for the past 23 years. I lettered in the 1960s and have known every coach since. My duties have ranged from president of the lettermen’s club, to chairman of a large fundraiser at the governor’s mansion, and many other activities. In 2001 Athletic Director Vince Dooley asked me to be on the baseball selection committee, which I did when David Perno was selected as coach. Over many years, I’ve met and known numerous lettermen, both old and young from all sports and am in contact with many of them.
These relationships with lettermen have led to many telephone calls from them about baseball and our entire sports program. Complaints heard were:
- Basketball is underperforming with a coach who could recruit better.
- Tennis has lost the NCAA tournament and our tennis facilities are behind the times.
- Our football facilities are middle of the road, with the new indoor facility an exception. This includes issues with the weight room, player facilities and a stadium not fan-friendly for this era.
- The UGA Athletic Board has limited representation from former Georgia athletes.
- Women’s basketball is average.
- Women’s softball finished last in the SEC.
- Women’s volleyball is bad.
- Women’s golf is not good.
And to top it off, Vanderbilt beat us in football, baseball and golf. It looks like we need a change in our athletic department, and we need professional help. I suggest Billy Payne, or someone else of his stature, head a search committee to name a new athletic director. Look at Clemson and what their athletic department has done with great leadership and a plan for high success.
We’ve had monumental failures, such as tearing down the Nalley Center after six years. ($15 million…whoosh, down the drain. ) The location at Foley Field was the perfect place for the indoor facility and further football expansion. Space will be needed in the future and football is our cash cow. Kirby Smart needs big help, because competition is fierce and will not get any easier.
Why didn’t we build a new baseball stadium like South Carolina? Now Alabama, Mississippi State, and Kentucky are building new stadiums. We spent $13 million plus for a baseball renovation and with that, still lack some essentials.
The state of Georgia is in the top four states in football, basketball and baseball for recruiting. We have no in-state competition other than Georgia Tech. Look at our surrounding states and their in-state competition. A few years ago in the MLB draft we had six Georgia selections in the first round. Basketball has great athletes going everywhere but Athens. The NFL draft had 27 players drafted from the state of Georgia and none played at UGA. None!
The SEC Network is a cash cow now, but in the future with television streaming and technology changes, things might be very different. Our brand must compete and must win to make money to survive. This is reality.
I blame all of us for accepting this mediocrity and just sitting there as things seem to get worse. What if football is 9-3, baseball finishes seventh, and basketball finally makes another top 64. What is accomplished? To me, average… because we need championships and our main rival, Florida, (5-21 in the last 26 games, in the “Gator Bowl”) is winning at the highest level in all sports, and in reality is our biggest rival.
UGASports.com has given Greg McGarity a 94 percent negative rating. This obviously is a very high negative percentage.
We must reach out to President Jere Morehead and let him know the high level of dissatisfaction. The issue is: Do we want to continue to be average or do we want to be at the top and be excellent? I choose excellent and close with a quote by Midge Decter, who is a writer and thinker: “You have to join the side you’re on.” – Carroll Minick
Note: This letter and a request for a response was sent to McGarity, who did not respond.