ATHENS – Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity on Wednesday accepted a one-year contract extension from UGA President Jere Morehead and the Athletic Association’s board of directors. But it sounds as though the 64-year-old native Athenian may work well beyond that.
Morehead, for one, seems to hope that will be the case.
“I’m hoping we won’t be looking for a replacement for some period of time in the future,” Morehead said. “That’s something we’ll take up each and every year.”
McGarity’s current contract was due to expire on June 30th of this year. No raises beyond those called for within the terms of the contract will be forthcoming.
McGarity got a two-year contract extension and raise in 2015. The deal, which earned him $675,000 in salary this past year, calls for $50,000 annual longevity bonus, plus an annual raise of $25,000. Morehead said those terms will continue, though the contract has not yet been signed.
As of this past fall, McGarity’s compensation placed him 13th among the SEC’s 14 ADs. As for why the extension was limited to only one year, McGarity said that was his idea.
“I basically asked the president if we could do it that way,” said McGarity, who has held to position since August of 2010. “I just feel very comfortable doing that instead of getting in any long-term agreement.”
Said Morehead, who discussed the new deal with the board for 10 minutes under executive session. ““The board agreed to that approach. The president of the university is on a year-to-year contract so it’s not unprecedented. It signifies that we’re both very comfortable moving forward with this coming year and then after next fall, we’ll sit down in the winter and we’ll have another conversation and decide then whether that’s something Greg wants to continue.”
McGarity has worked in athletic administration for 42 years, including an 18-year stint as the No. 2 athletic administrator at the University of Florida. So, he could decide to retire with a full pension and benefits at any time.
McGarity couldn’t say when that might be.
“I’ve always felt like you’ll know when it’s time,” he said. “All I know is right now it’s not time. When I wake up and feel like it’s time to move on, that’ll be the time.”
At the moment, McGarity said he wants to see through to completion several ongoing projects. One is the $8.5 million reconstruction of the Henry Feild (cq) Stadium grandstands at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, which was approved by the board on Wednesday. The other is an additional construction project expected to come online that will give the Bulldogs and coach Kirby Smart a new football facility at the Butts-Mehre Complex.
The board already earmarked more than $1 million for an architectural design study that’s due to be submitted to UGA by May. That will provide answers such as the size, design and cost of project. Sources indicate it could approach $80 million
McGarity is also interested in getting the basketball program turned around. He fired Mark Fox and hired Tom Crean to coach the men’s team last March. The Bulldogs have now lost 11 SEC games after Wednesday night’s one-point loss to Mississippi State.
McGarity was intimately involved in getting the Florida basketball program turned around when the Gators won back-to-back national championships under former Gators coach Billy Donovan.
“All of our sports are important to me,” McGarity said. “I want them all to do well.”
The Bulldogs have claimed eight national championships in various sports during McGarity’s tenure, the latest being the indoor tennis title claimed by the women’s team last week. But football and basketball continue to be the revenue generators for UGA, and it’s in those sports the school most needs to succeed.
Morehead insists he and the board are happy with the direction of athletics under McGarity’s leadership.
“We’re both very comfortable the arrangement moving forward,” Morehead said. “We’ll have an annual conversation and see where we are.”