Han Vance on utter domination:
Diamond Dawgs. BOOM! Kristofak was a nasty little Bulldog tonight battling with little rebuttal from any Yellow Jackets, who looked ready to call it a season as he closed them out with strike-after-strike. I like that guy.
Flagship. The University of Georgia, the nation’s oldest state-chartered university, is 100 years older than the North Avenue Trade School. UGA, or simply GEORGIA, as it is most commonly called in the largest state east of the Mississippi River, has in one school year handled their in-state rivals from Atlanta in college football, Men’s basketball and three times in baseball. The latest a 3-1 defensive gem with only a single real burst of any Georgia offense, at the home of the Atlanta Braves. Around 25,000 showed up to watch the Dawgs win.
These Diamond Dawgs know how to cobble together wins, how to win with offense, how to win with defense and pitching. Georgia is a complete team and has been a real treat to cover for Bulldawg illustrated, as it is already the best season for baseball in Athens since 2009. The Dogs last made the College World Series in 2008 and haven’t even been making the postseason (Regionals/Super Regionals) happen since the Perno era, the end of that great stretch going poorly, too.
McGarity had to make a move and as we have now seen in all three of the biggest collegiate sports, he isn’t afraid to pull a trigger.
Mark Richt (74%) was the coach with the best winning percentage in Georgia football history when he was let go, although he does not currently hold that distinction, surpassed by one win by Coach Smart (75%). Richt had three near national champions, including the final team in which he had a full, healthy roster (recall Gurley had injuries and suspension and Chubb was badly injured at UT). While Richt peaked in his second year (13-1, SEC and Sugar Bowl Champs), he won two SEC championships and was four yards from lasting eternal glory. Hard to fire a guy who has that much success, and McGarity made the move.
Mark Fox, fairly recently, became the only Georgia basketball coach with three consecutive 20-win seasons. He was a consistent 19 or so game-winner, and especially considering Georgia’s limited success historically in the sport, he was a good head basketball coach for UGA hoops. McGarity moved him out.
Perno was a regular at the College World Series and likewise had a final national runner-up team. In one of the years Richt had an ultimately doomed “near-Natty”, Georgia football actually finished #2 in the same season the baseball program did, my first covering both programs as a writer. That was the very rewarding Blackout Year, with Moreno.
The baseball program was up in the CWS final series, just a win away. It never came, and eventually, Georgia let Perno go.
Lots of perceptions about McGarity are shifting upward toward downright positivity – in the fanbase, amongst the many alumni I hear talk regularly – with Kirby winning the SEC, the first such title for Georgia in a full dozen years.
The Baker’s dozen saw our beloved Dawgs get past OU in double OT as the golden California sunset faded at the Rose Bowl. Greatest game I have seen, I was right there on the 5th row and took the throat slash gesture from the Heisman winner and eventual number one overall NFL draft pick personally. Thing is, y’all: Georgia went to overtime in two consecutive games, leaving it all to fate. Sure wish things had worked out differently in the end. Honestly, we just didn’t claim it.
McGarity looked purely great, though, the de facto big boss of the football program, essentially, as far as where the final buck stops. He brought in the new talent and quickly took the league back and almost had a crystal trophy. The A.D. job at Georgia is so much about football; the program is in outstanding shape, just adding a #1 recruiting class to a national runner-up. Winning the SEC was huge for Georgia! Could McGarity think, “Thanks to me,” over his breakfast tea?
Not winning the SEC for a full ten years was, I feel, the key factor in the Richt tenure closing. Those final consecutive 10-win teams certainly did not constitute a bad slump, but UGA rightly expects league crowns more regularly.
Ring The Bell.
Houndspeak: Tom Crean feels to me like the right hire in basketball.
And now, Georgia baseball continues to make McGarity look smart this season, in showing such patience with his first key hire, Scott Stricklin. After a half-decade wait, the sky is suddenly the limit. It’s Omaha or bust, and he is playing a bunch of talented sophomores and a key junior who will be back.
(#15) Georgia plays at defending national champion (#1) Florida in the baseball Swamp this weekend. The Mighty Gators have not dropped a series all season, with only two series remaining. Go Dawgs! We are second in the SEC East – baseball is divided like football, basketball is not. Dawgs could make a big push for a regional hosting slot by showing well this weekend.