Georgia Bulldogs: Mark Fox Dismissal Not Clear Cut

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 09: Mark Fox the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs talks with Tyree Crump
ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 09: Mark Fox the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs talks with Tyree Crump /

Mark Fox is now the former Head Coach of the Georgia Bulldogs. While some fans cheered, this decision isn’t an absolutely clear cut decision.

With the Quarterfinal exit of the Georgia Bulldogs Men’s Basketball team from the SEC Tournament, the news that quickly followed of Mark Fox’s dismissal wasn’t a great shock. In fact, it was expected. Some fans openly cheered this decision. And while the on-court results pointed to under performance, the decision to jettison Fox isn’t as clear cut as some think.

So, let’s get this out of the way. Did Mark Fox deserve to get fired? Probably. Almost every person that I’ve asked, who is a fan of another team in the SEC, responded with “probably” when asked that question.

The fact is that 4 of his 9 seasons in Athens yielded a losing in-conference record during the regular season. Twice, his teams went 9-9. Simple math shows that, more times than not, Mark Fox led Georgia Bulldogs teams didn’t have a winning SEC regular season record. That’s just not good enough.

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But, in doing radio in the State of Tennessee, a place that absolutely loves firing coaches, a recurring conversation with fans there is, “But who are you going to hire? It’s not who you fire, it’s who you hire.”

And that question is now relevant for UGA. It’s a familiar conversation with Dawg fans. During the last 5-6 years of the Mark Richt era, Georgia fans debated that same thing.

The difference there, though, is that there was a Kirby Smart. I’m firmly in the camp that thinks that Richt doesn’t get fired, if Kirby Smart wasn’t available to fill that gap. You can move on from under performing, but winning, stability, if you have a dude who will engender faith and fan commitment.

There is no guy like that for Fox. Who is he? Who is that coach who can or will come in and immediately fire the fans up and get traction in the media and in recruiting? There isn’t one.

There are fine coaches out there. But there isn’t one that is the “Kirby Smart” of the basketball program.

In addition, you have Athletic Director Greg McGarity who is nearing the end of his contract, and possibly fighting for his job, now making a decision that could outlast his tenure. That’s never an ideal thing.

Did Mark Fox perform well enough, in terms of on-court results, to keep or extend his employment? Probably, not. There were a lot of underwhelming years under his stewardship.

But there doesn’t seem to be anyone out there who can come in and do better. Maybe, there is. But that name isn’t obvious.

It comes down to an AD, who might be gone next year himself, because of prior decisions on hiring coaches, either making a good decision or a bad decision.

Firing Mark Fox isn’t exactly the clear cut decision that some try to make it. Kirby Smart was a no-brainer, can’t miss hire. Because everyone wanted him. He is one of us. He is a Georgia boy. if he failed, fans were willing to go “ride or die”.

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There isn’t that guy out there to fix the basketball program. If this decision turns out to be a successful one, there will be more surprise than expectation.