I Want to Believe

What is the general consensus on Greg McGarity? From my view in Memphis, it looked like the mood in Athens was one of hope and positivity after his hire. Didn’t Mr. McGarity just finish a stint as executive associate athletic director in the land down under during a time when, as if any of us really needed to be reminded, there was unprecedented success enjoyed by that school down south’s athletic programs? And so we hired him; brought him back home, this native Athenian who was passed up the last time there was an opening for the position of athletic director in favor of hiring Damon Evans, who later proved that, in some matters, he didn’t have a licka sense.

We cautiously rejoiced when Mr. McGarity came back home and began making decisions. There was the firing of head volleyball coach Joel McCartney midway through the season when it was decided that the program needed “…a change of direction…”. In a time when our football team was struggling, was this sudden firing elsewhere on campus symbolic of something, many of us wondered?

Then there were mixed feelings when the matter of football scheduling was tabled. Some of us lamented giving up future match ups with “higher tier” opponents, instead opting to wheel and deal our way into more home games against lesser opponents, not to mention landing a big time, nationally televised game to kick off next season against the Boise State Broncos in the Dome. That game aside, despite whatever misgivings some may feel about seemingly losing this “play anyone” mentality, the shrewd decisions that led to these scheduling changes should not have been a surprise to anyone of us. A quick look at Mr. McGarity’s previous employer’s football schedule shows a means to an end. And that end is winning championships.

And now, the news out of Athens is that strength and conditioning coach David Van Halanger is being reassigned in favor of promoting Joe Tereshinski, a former player (under Erk and Vince) and longtime staffer whose father, brother and son played at UGA. In addition, a source has claimed that Coach Tereshinski will be bringing in John Kasay Sr. as a member of his staff. John Kasay Sr., if you’ll recall, was the strength and conditioning coach under Vince Dooley and is the father of former Dawgs and current Carolina Pathers kicker, John Kasay (who also attended my high school; Go Gladiators!).

I was shocked (shocked, I tell you) to read some of the immediate reactions of negativity flowing out of Bulldog Nation. Claims of “lazy hiring” alluding to the obvious fact that Coach Richt just does not get it (at all. Ever.) flooded the message boards. Look. I get it. It’s been a very rough season and all of us are frustrated. But are we really frustrated to the point that we’ve all of a sudden just forgotten about Greg McGarity? Forgotten about the decisions he’s had to make, is making and will continue to make to bring all of our athletic programs back to prominence? Do we really think that Athens-raised and UGA alum, Greg McGarity, after being a part of a very successful athletics program at the University of Florida, will stand idly by, deferring to the decisions made if he doesn’t truly believe in them? If we really believe this about Greg McGarity, it’s not only our football program that is in trouble.

These recent changes to UGA’s strength and conditioning department are slated to come into effect on January 1st. What I’m reading leads me to believe that Joe Tereshinski will have overall charge of the program with key assistants, like John Kasay Sr., being brought in to help. It is also rumored that a few more hires will be made (including one former player; Hobnail Boot, anyone?), and that a hire will be made specifically to head the football’s strength and conditioning program.

Ah, the off season: a time when rumors abound and innuendos slink openly about. It’s difficult to determine who and what to believe during the dark times when the Dawgs aren’t playing. But I do believe in our coaches and I believe in Greg McGarity. I’ll let you know in a year if I still believe.

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