Evans and Adams Should Go

Damon Evans should be fired as Athletic Director at the University of Georgia.

Consider that unlikely pending further details of his arrest.

Michael Adams should have long ago been fired as President of the University of Georgia.

He was not, and is in no danger of losing his job now.

Two of the three most visible and powerful people at the state’s flagship university are unfit to lead (the third – head football coach Mark Richt – should not be mentioned in the same company as Evans and Adams).

Evans was arrested by the Georgia State Patrol on Wednesday night in Atlanta after being spotted driving erratically, and charged with driving under the influence. Evans refused breathalyzer tests, and his unfortunate mug shot will likely be a lasting image.

To make matters more unseemly, Evans – a married father of two – was with a 28 year-old woman (not his wife) when pulled over near midnight. At his brief and unenlightening press conference Thursday evening, Evans called the woman just “a friend.” Perhaps.

The man who will decide the professional fate of Damon Evans is similarly unfit for leadership.

UGA President Michael Adams is a political brawler. He cut his teeth working for then U.S. Senate majority leader Howard Baker, and later as an aide to Governor Lamar Alexander (now U.S. Senator), both of Tennessee. That those two respected southern gentlemen would have someone as slimy as Adams representing them is not a positive mark on their records.

Since taking the helm in Athens in 1997, Adams has presided over a period of tremendous growth at UGA, something that very likely would have happened whether he or someone else was living in the President’s Mansion on Prince Avenue.

He is best known for controversial – and ethically questionable – decisions.

Adams fired football coach Jim Donnan in 2000 after consecutive 8-win seasons, against the wishes of longtime Athletic Director and Bulldog coaching legend Vince Dooley. Adams was later found to have doled out a secret payment to Donnan as well.

After butting heads with Dooley (who is most responsible for the ultimate hiring of Mark Richt as head coach), Adams engaged in a death-match struggle and forced the most influential icon in Bulldog athletic history out of his job. Adams replaced Dooley with Evans. While calling him a “yes-man” might be too strong (the Athletic Department has continued to roll along successfully under Evans) … if anyone can document a decision by Evans that went against the views of Adams, I would enjoy reading it.

Adams has other leadership lapses on his curriculum vitae as well.

He was responsible for hiring the reprehensible Jim Harrick as men’s basketball coach. He reimbursed the institution for questionable personal expenditures, paid a stipend from university funds to his wife (who once famously called the police when a group of basketball students came to the President’s home to complain about the dismissal of Harrick), and was embroiled in a controversy concerning the oversight of excessive spending on an “ecolodge” in Costa Rica.

His handling of the Dooley debacle caused enmity from a throng of loyal Bulldog boosters, and many withdrew donations. While the overall fund-raising efforts of the university have grown under Adams, there seems little doubt the level could have been higher had so many Dooley loyalists not been alienated.

Adams and Evans both earn taxpayer money.

In fiscal year 2009, Adams earned $607, 417.98 in salary with another $7779.14 in travel according to state records. The same report showed Evans earning $420,000.00. His recent $90,000 pay increase goes into effect today.

Adams and Evans work for you, me, and the rest of the citizens of Georgia. Their salaries come from our paychecks. They are eligible (if they choose to participate) to reap thousands upon thousands of retirement dollars through the bloated state retirement system.

Neither man is fit for his office.

Damon Evans should be fired. Michael Adams should go with him.

Consider both unlikely. For now.

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