Mark Fox deserved contract extension (which he finally signed)

Georgia coach Mark Fox has finally signed his contract extension. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

Georgia coach Mark Fox has finally signed his contract extension. (Curtis Compton, AJC)

ATHENS — Kentucky coach John Calipari went to great lengths to praise Georgia’s Mark Fox on a conference call this week, saying the Bulldogs coach “has done a terrific job,” that Fox’s teams “defend, they play inside-out, they run great stuff” and — drum roll — that he’s “one of the better coaches in our country.”

Fox’s response, with a smile: “He’s a marketing master. He’s a PR master.”

OK, so there might’ve been a trace of schmoozing going on with Calipari, particularly the eve of tonight’s game against the Bulldogs. But Fox is pretty well-respected in coaching circles. The biggest thing keeping Georgia from sustained success has been an inability by Fox — and his predecessors — to keep the state’s best high school talent from flowing elsewhere instead of the state’s flagship university.

Fox believes things are improving in that regard. How the Dogs fare the rest of the season and in the NCAA tournament, which seems a virtual lock, will go a long way toward the program and the head coach gaining more respect.

Yes, this has been a strange season. Georgia recently losing consecutive home games to Auburn and South Carolina, and then winning consecutive games at Alabama and Ole Miss. But the Dogs are 19-9 (10-6 in the SEC) and they rank 35th in RPI (fourth among SEC schools), despite those two horrible losses.

Fox deserved the two-year contract extension (through the 2018 season) that was tendered to him last spring. For whatever reason, Fox delayed signing the deal until recently. But athletic director Greg McGarity disclosed Tuesday that both he and the coach had signed the contract recently.

McGarity wrote that the deal is still “waiting on final signatures on campus” to make it official.

Kentucky is 29-0, including wins over Kansas, North Carolina and Louisville. So if Georgia loses tonight in sold out Stegemen Coliseum, nobody should view that as some program setback. Fox took over a wreck of a program. While that doesn’t mean he should get an endless lifeline, he has made significant strides in Athens and there’s no reason to believe that won’t continue.

I’ll have more in a full column later on MyAJC.com.

Some recent ramblings from the digital jukebox
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— AJC: Falcons’ payroll slash continues — Blalock, Douglas released
— AJC: Steven Jackson expected to be missing piece, but he wasn’t
— MyAJC: Can Kevin Seitzer avoid being Braves’ next scapegoat
— AJC: Freeman on ’14 roster: Heyward leading off not well-constructed lineup
— MyAJC: By any name, Braves need a different Upton
— AJC: How long should Braves give Upton to show improvement?
— MyAJC: Braves have issues but McDowell not one of them
— AJC: I still can’t talk to Roger McDowell without thinking of ‘The Second Spitter’
— AJC: Poll: Are expectations for Braves too low, high or about right?
— MyAJC: Will Gonzalez be given some latitude during Braves’ rebuilding?
— MyAJC: Falcons’ roster gutting could have big names
— AJC: Data show Falcons got least (10-22) from most ($279.3 million)
— MyAJC: Georgia shows why we still can’t assume success
— AJC: Are Hawks getting Ray Allen? Odds site makes them favorite
— MyAJC: Private agendas still at play in Hawks’ offices
— AJC: Tiger Woods seems in danger of missing Masters (again)
— AJC: Trade likely means Hawks are planning for something
— MyAJC: Kyle Shanahan, the coach’s son, has absorbed a lot of jabs
— AJC: Greg Hardy skates (and is he worth the risk for Falcons)?
— MyAJC: Hawks’ deadline move wouldn’t hurt chemistry
— AJC: Tech doing just fine, recruiting rankings notwithstanding
— MyAJC: Dan Quinn’s ascent to top job was years in making
— AJC: Forget trade talk — Dan Quinn wants Julio Jones on his team
 

Reader Comments 0

36 comments
oledawg
oledawg

Mark Fox is very well thought of in the coaching community for a reason.  I was on the court Tuesday night before the game and I can tell you that the Kentucky staff has the utmost respect for the teams he coaches.  I will take their educated word over uneducated bloggers opinions.  In this case UGA is fortunate to have Mark Fox.

SaulK
SaulK

good coach, not great.  Making the ncaa tournament  every now and then is his biggest achievement

average as grits
average as grits

could not agree more with Schultz.  The program was a wreck.   I say Fox has done more with less. 

DrPhill
DrPhill

Fox came in as a puppet of Mike Adams, but he has turned out to be a good coach.

HarryCrews
HarryCrews

@DrPhill So wrong. Harrick was the Adams puppet. Dooley warned Adams that Harrick woud have you in the tournament in two years and on probation in three. He was off by a year. Adams overrode Dooley's objections and you know the rest of the story.

Fox was a full on, Damon Evans guy.

HarryCrews
HarryCrews

@Baghead Everyone speaks of recruiting. When has UGA ever signed the best players in the state? He's recruited two Mr. Georgia Basketball players during his tenure - one finished his career at UGA last night. Felton was the best recruiter we've had since Tubby - if you don't count the coach giving money and degrees away.

Georgia has clinched back to back seasons with winning records in SEC play for the first time since 2001-03.

The Bulldogs are one win away from their second straight 20 win season and are in position to land a second NCAA tournament trip in Fox’s time at Georgia.

ruffdawg
ruffdawg

@HarryCrews @Baghead Tubby couldn't recruit  great coach, Felton  hit & miss recruiter...Harrick  was going to be the best recruiter since Durham.

HarryCrews
HarryCrews

@ruffdawg "Harrick  was going to be the best recruiter since Durham"

I've got two words for you:

Tony Cole

ImaNitwit
ImaNitwit

Two more years of mediocrity.

ruffdawg
ruffdawg

I think he is very good coach.....but he needs at least 2 elite bigs(6-9  and up)that are threats to score ....and a pure shooter or scorer (20 or more).

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

Fox has done a good job at UGA, but "took over a wreck of a program"?  Really?

UGA was certainly down when he walked in the door but he had 2 rising SOs on his roster who were drafted to the NBA after their JR year.  That's 2 more than Ron Hunter inherited - now there is a guy who truly took over a "wreck of a program"

HotDawg
HotDawg

Funny, only two weeks ago a bunch of idiots were calling for his job.

Caius
Caius

"Tubby went 21-10 and 24-9 in his first two years."

And how long did Tubby coach at UGA?

hipdawg
hipdawg

@Caius I forgot about old Tubby. He went to UK, won a NC and then shown the door.

hipdawg
hipdawg

@BIGG BLUU Well after checking wikipedia I found that he resigned under great pressure from 9 years of not making final fours ( a UK record)Fans put a for sale sign in his yard (classy) and had a fire tubby site.Ask yourself if that isn't being shown the door.

hipdawg
hipdawg

I agree Jeff. We are competetive and relavent which just drives the trolls crazy!  

Ugaboss
Ugaboss

He needs to start beating GT.

Baghead
Baghead

Explain the significant strides you bald headed dufus.  Name one.  I dare you.  Fox has losing seasons in three out of five years.  So, it takes over five years to build a good program?  This sounds eerily similar to the pathetic CMR excuses I hear year in and year out: "Just give him another chance", "he'll win the national championship some day", "but, he won an SEC championship", and the infamous "but, he's a nice guy".  These are many others, including AJC's disgraceful writers' blob, perpetuate mediocrity in Athens.  I honestly cannot think of one stride this man has made.  How many more chances does he get?  A loss tonight and a loss at Auburn will once again send the puppies to the NIT where you can bet Fox won't take his team passed the second round.  A good coach would have NEVER lost those back to back home games earlier this month.  Sounds a bit like Richt huh?  Consistently unprepared for games.  I wonder if he was too busy down trying to figure out what goofy costume he was going to wear to Sanford stadium next year instead of coaching up his squard about the importance of that South Cackalacky game.  Booo to McGarity.  You are disgrace for resigning this man.  You have let me down yet again.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Baghead

He's let YOU down yet again?!

Don't you just know that he and the rest of us are all torn up about that?!

Rabun Dawg
Rabun Dawg

GTBob, I guess the fact that he has not beaten your guy like everyone else has is his greatest downfall. However, UGA basketball is somewhat more relevant under CMF than it has been in quite some time. I guess we do not have very high expectations in Athens, so whatever success he has had is worthy of a few more years on his contract. I do not think UGA would be on many top coaches short list if the job did come open, so CMF can keep the "ship" afloat for a few more seasons.

GTBob
GTBob

The guy hasn't won an NCAA game at UGA, and he has only beaten one ranked team in the last three years. He hasn't finished ranked, or even in the others receiving votes in any season at UGA. Heck, he hasn't even beaten Gregory. UGA doesn't have the highest of expectations for their basketball program do they?

GTBob
GTBob

@DawgNole We are about to fire our head coach while you are extending the contract of yours. We obviously have different expectations.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@GTBob @DawgNole

I expect if Fox had Gregory's record over the past 4 years, he wouldn't be signing any contract extension--if he were still here at all.

Mulk
Mulk

@DawgNole @GTBob


@dognole,


All Tech needs for Gregory to do is beat UGAG. Accomplished.

Caius
Caius

I agree on extending Fox's contract.  He took over a program that, frankly, simply did not matter in college basketball.  He has done a really good job building.  The program at UGA looks better today than it has since they fired Hugh Durham.


Baghead
Baghead

@Caius What are you talking about?  Tubby went 21-10 and 24-9 in his first two years.  He really rolled into a dismissal program after Harrick.  Fox has done nothing but show that ONE, he can't recruit and TWO, he always loses the big game.  So far, he a Richt share one trait.  Bye Bye.

HarryCrews
HarryCrews

@Baghead You boob. Fox took over from Dennis Felton. You skipped 7 years. You're a real expert, lol

Mulk
Mulk

@Caius


Why do you think the program matters now? The teams that they have been playing are not very good this season. Some people (AJC) are acting like they beat Kentucky. They lost. They also lost to weak teams like Carolina, Auburn, Tech to name a few. Where is this crowning coming from?