ATHENS — UGA President Jere Morehead said he’s ready to sit down with Greg McGarity to discuss a contract extension “whenever he’s ready to sit down.” To that, Georgia’s athletic director replied, “it’s not an issue for me.”
The current contract for McGarity, the Bulldogs’ AD since the summer of 2010, expires on June 30, 2019, the last day of the current fiscal year. McGarity signed that deal, which after a recent raise pays him $675,000 a year, in 2015.
“There’s no rush,” said McGarity, who is 62 after nine years as the Bulldogs’ AD. “I mean, the president and I are in great shape with each other. It’s not a worry. So, we’re just focused on this fall and getting ready and wanting to make sure all the emphasis is on our football team and other sports.”
McGarity’s statement came with Morehead standing next to him in a circle of reporters asking questions after an otherwise uneventful fall meeting of the UGA Athletic Association board of directors. The group met in the Grand Ballroom of the Tate Student Center because it was close to where the dedication ceremony and tour of the West End expansion at Sanford Stadium was conducted earlier in the day.
Morehead then interjected on McGarity’s situation.
“I’ll sit down with Greg whenever he’s ready to sit down,” Morehead said.
A reporter pointed out that they were standing next table and chairs and that they’d “love to watch” a negotiation.
“If we wanted to, we would,” Morehead said with a laugh.
“No, we’re OK,” McGarity demurred. “We’re not worried about that right now. We’ve got a big weekend ahead of us.”
The Bulldogs’ open the 2018 football season Saturday against Austin Peay. A ribbon-cutting was held on the $63 million in improvements made at Sanford Stadium since last season. That included a two-story locker room and recruiting lounge, new scoreboard and fan plazas.
Asked if his willingness to sit down then and there was an indication of his satisfaction with McGarity, Morehead said, “I’m saying it’s not an issue for me.”
That exchange highlighted a meeting in which there was very little new business introduced. Led by Morehead and attended by the full board, plus athletics department senior staffers and emeritus board members, the board unanimously approved a motion to spend $3.1 million to build a new equestrian facility at the team’s headquarters in Bishop. They also approved hiring an architect to plan a renovation of the grandstands at Dan Magill Tennis Complex, which is expected to cost about $8 million.
Otherwise, the meeting was a series of updates from athletics’ various department. Included was a 15-minute presentation about NCAA rules and what constitutes an “extra benefit” by first-year compliance director Will Lawler.
The interesting stuff came after the meeting. McGarity acknowledged the new deal to play Clemson in the 2024 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta and talked about plans for other future games.
He said the deal to Clemson at a neutral site does not preclude them also playing home-and-home in the future, but that nothing else is currently planned with the Tigers.
“The first goal is to go with home-and-home games,” McGarity said. That’s always the first thing that you try to do. … We’ll possibly have (an announcement for) another home-and-home (deal) shortly.”
Asked if that might be with Texas, McGarity said, “That’d be great if that happened. Perhaps. Time will tell. But in this business, everybody knows nothing is official until the signatures on the paper.”
Notre Dame returns last year’s game against Georgia in South Bend next September in Sanford Stadium. The Bulldogs have a home-and-away with UCLA in 2025-26.
As for his own future, McGarity was asked early this week if he was considering retiring or if he planned to seek an extension. It nearly 40 years of service in college athletics, he’s in position to walk away any time he wants.
“Oh, I’ll know when that time is,” McGarity said. “It’s not today. It’s not right now. I think we all have that point in time when we decide certain things, but it’s certainly not today. It’s not right now.”
McGarity also acknowledged he would consider continuing on a year-to-year basis. Morehead works as UGA’s president on a one-year, renewable contract.
Ideally I’d have everybody in athletics on year-to-year contracts, but that’s not the was the athletics world works,” Morehead quipped. “It’s just a matter of sitting down and determining what Greg wants to do.”