Georgia’s Kirby Smart ‘disappointed’ in arrest of equipment manager
ATHENS — There really wasn’t much for Kirby Smart to say. Neverthelss, the Georgia Bulldogs coach calmly and politely commented on the recent the arrest of a key member of the football team’s support staff.
Kevin Purvis, who is listed as associate equipment manager on the Georgia Athletic Association’s website, was charged with four felonies and a misdemeanor on Friday after being accused of using a hidden camera in a shower area of the football facility. Purvis had been under investigation by UGA police since the device was discovered on Feb. 27 and was fired by UGA two weeks ago.
“Disappointed. Upset,” said Smart, asked for his reaction to the investigation and findings. “But I’m very pleased that it didn’t involve any of our student-athletes, and that’s the key. Right now I’m focused on spring ball.”
The Bulldogs completed their third of 15 spring practices on Saturday and the first one so far in full pads.
Purvis was a key member of the football staff and particularly helpful to Smart. He provided a lot of personal assistance for Smart and was often photographed with Georgia’s coach, whether it be arriving at the Bulldogs’ games or shuttling him to and fro during summer football camps.
Purvis was served a warrant on Friday, with three of the felony charges involving illegal eavesdropping or surveillance. He was also charged with possession of a Schedule II controlled substance, another felony, and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. Those charges are believed to be the result of searches of Purvis’ vehicle and his Athens residence during the subsequent police investigation, which lasted nearly a month.
After turning himself in to Athens-Clarke County Jail at 8:48 p.m. ET on Friday, Purvis bonded out for $8,500 at 12:06 p.m. on Saturday. That was about the same time the Bulldogs started their third practice of the spring.
It still is not known who the victim or victims were of the illegal surveillance. Coaches and support personnel also have access to shower facilities on the first floor of the football facility. UGA has been adamant that it did not involve any student-athletes.
“As soon as it learned of the incident, the Athletic Association notified the University of Georgia Police Department, who began their investigation,” UGA spokesman Claude Felton said in an emailed statement. “The University took immediate action, and the employee was terminated early in the investigation. Based on the findings of the police investigation, no student-athletes were victims in this incident.”
Georgia law defines illegal eavesdropping or surveillance as “any person, through the use of any device, without the consent of all persons observed, to observe, photograph, or record the activities of another which occur in any private place and out of public view.”
Purvis is a native of Ocilla and has been with the Bulldogs since 2006, according to his bio on the athletic department’s website. He came to Georgia after handling football equipment for Valdosta State.
In his capacity as an equipment manager, Purvis worked with the football team every day.