So this is what the UGA search committee came up with—a Fox. This absolutely defines what the word “search” in “search committee” means. This time it had to dig deep to come up with Mark Fox of Nevada. This is the hiring decision made by the University of Georgia that had a chance to hire Bob Knight, one of the great college coaches of all time.
This decision even caught Mark Bradley, the AJC’s basketball guru, not by surprise, but by shock. His choice had already been taken by Alabama, Anthony Grant of one of those second-tier Virginia schools. Seems everywhere the search committee searched, it was detoured or turned down. At least four names came up, all at major schools, and all shortly faded from the screen. When Damon Evans finally made his move, he reached deep into the back roads of college basketball.
Well, not so fast there, sir. Twice Fox’s Nevada team has played Georgia. Both times Nevada won. He has a dominating record in his conference in the West. Okay. It’s just that, well, he was a name out of nowhere. You turn down Bob Knight–in fact, you didn’t even acknowledge that he wanted the job—and you settle for Mark Fox? This, I suppose, defines the status of basketball at Georgia— second cousin.
For whatever success Fox has had at Nevada, this Georgia venture will come as his supreme test. First, he must recruit. He has little to start with, considering what Dennis Felton left behind when he was unceremoniously fired in mid-season. Then he (Fox) must get acclimated to the SEC, where basketball has not thrived of late. They say Fox is noted for sideline fury, so this situation may be perfect for him to let off steam. It, frankly, had driven Felton to the brink.
It isn’t any mystery to me why Evans didn’t hire Knight. Though it would have made him a hero in the eyes of 90% of the student body and the alumni—based on responses to questionnaires—frankly, the AD was scared to death. Scared to death of Michael Adams, the president, having to deal with such a basketball icon as Knight.
Fear does not become an athletics director.