McGarity approached about coaching change before Florida game

UGA AD Greg McGarity with his man

ATHENS — Up until now, the narrative has been that Georgia pretty much decided it might be in the market for a new football coach back on Oct. 31 after the Bulldogs loss embarrassingly to Florida, 27-3. Turns out it was a couple of weeks before that.

Change was clearly on the mind of Athletic Director Greg McGarity back in mid-October when he began looking into search firms. McGarity revealed Monday that it was then that he made up his mind he was going to utilize Bill Carr of CarrSports Consulting — if needed.

McGarity was a panelist at the College Athletics Leadership Symposium at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Atlanta on Oct. 19 when approached by Carr and “three or four” other search firms after the meeting.

“Bill was one presenting that day,” McGarity said after introducing Kirby Smart as Georgia’s new head coach Monday at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education. “They all anticipate (coaching changes). That’s the job of these firms. When you finally make a decision to contact one — and I’m sure they’ve done some homework themselves — those guys want work, too. … They’re doing their due diligence, too.”

It’s not like McGarity didn’t know Carr. The two go way back.

Carr is a former athletic director at Florida — he was in charge during the Charley Pell years — and his firm is based in Gainesville. McGarity worked there with the Gators as Jeremy Foley’s right-hand man for 18 years. They utilized Carr’s services several times during that span.

At the time of the leadership conference, Georgia was coming off back-to-back humiliating losses to Alabama and Tennessee and had just barely escaped a woeful Missouri team 9-6 in Athens. McGarity was approached by several firms after the meeting, but he knew he could trust Carr. So they discussed the Bulldogs’ situation.

“Bill’s very experienced,” McGarity said. “He’s been doing this 20 years or so and he and I knew each other well. Certainly I knew can keep him in confidence.”

McGarity said he actually didn’t enlist Carr’s services until Nov. 29th. That was the day he dismissed Mark Richt as Georgia’s head coach.

McGarity said he was simply doing what all athletic directors have to do: Plan for anything and everything.

“I’m a big Plan B guy,” McGarity said. “You can see the cup on my desk. If things go well, Plan A is pretty easy. Plan B are the difficulties that you have to face in this profession. Maybe I’ve been accused of being too much of a Plan B, but I always try to think ahead. Like if we lost a game that we’re supposed to win, what’s our body language in the building? Because if we win, it’s pretty easy. If you experience problems you have to be ready to respond. In my mind you have to be thinking that way.”