ATHENS — Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks likes to cite the quote that “Change is inevitable, growth is optional,” from New York Times best-selling author John C. Maxwell when discussing his leadership approach.
Indeed, the 40-year-old first-year AD has taken over the $180 million UGA athletics program at a time of radical changes across the collegiate landscape. Even before his official appointment as Greg McGarity’s replacement, Brooks was dealing with the budgetary and logistical challenges triggered by the Covid-19 global pandemic in his previous role as deputy athletics director.
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Brooks shared with DawgNation in a Monday interview that his first few months in the corner office were indeed a bit of a “whirlwind,” as he looked to meet with staff members, coaches, teams and donors to gain invaluable feedback.
Brooks is known best for his proficiency with numbers, whether it was his ability to maximize socially-distanced attendance at Sanford Stadium this season by applying the Pythagorean theorem, or chopping off some $25 million in anticipated department debt brought on by Covid-19 costs, such as testing and limited gate revenue.
But Brooks is also quickly becoming respected for his thorough and responsible philosophies and intentions as the keeper of the Georgia athletics programs.
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“Before you can truly evaluate any coach, you have to evaluate yourself internally as an administration, and make sure we’re doing everything in our power to help them be successful,” Brooks said. “A lot of times we want to point the fingers at others, but I want to tell everyone that it all starts here in the administration.
“I’ve talked about wanting to win a championship in every sport that we sponsor, 21 sports, so it all starts with, are we doing everything we can to give them a chance to be successful with their conference peers and national peers.”
Brooks certainly knows what it takes to be successful at the highest level in football, once a manager and student-assistant coach at LSU during the Bayou Bengals Nick Saban era who once sat in meetings with such coaches as new UGA analyst Will Muschamp.
Now, like then, Brooks finds himself motivated by the likes of Kirby Smart and the other great coaches leading the various UGA programs.
“I had a chance to work with Coach Muschamp when I was a senior at LSU, and I sat in a few meetings with him, when I was 21, 22 years old, and I remember thinking how highly intelligent these coaches are,” Brooks said.
“You sit in the room with people like Coach Smart, or Coach Muschamp or Coach Fisher, Coach Saban, they are highly cerebral,” Brooks said. “It’s a lot of fun to watch these guys break down film and do what they do.
“You want to be around these people who are highly motivated, intense and love what they do, and have a passion and bring that passion to work every single day. It’s contagious, and it feeds off everyone on the building.”
Watching and listening to Brooks and the passion and intensity he’s bringing to UGA athletics, it’s safe to say there are plenty of people that are feeding off the new head of the Bulldogs’ athletic department.