McGarity Wants to See "Improvement"

ATHENS – If there is a number of wins, or specific level of achievement, that Mark Richt needs in 2011 to remain Georgia's head coach, his boss isn't saying it publicly.

But UGA athletics director Greg McGarity did say Thursday that he wants to see improvement from the Bulldogs, who finished with their first losing record (6-7) in 14 years.

"I'm not here to put a figure in the number of wins or anything," McGarity said during a teleconference with reporters. "We just want to see improvement, we want to see a program that's headed in the right direction."

Since the Liberty Bowl, when Georgia fell 10-6 to Central Florida, the calls for Richt's ouster from the fan base have increased. McGarity acknowledged that the feedback he's received has been about "50-50." He said he understood the frustration, but said fans would have to decide on their own whether to "hang with us, or whether they want to choose to do otherwise."

Richt, who is 96-34 in his 10 seasons at Georgia, has three more years on his contract, paying about $3 million annually. During a postseason wrap-up press conference on Wednesday, Richt said the 2010 season was "well below the standard" for Georgia.

"I understand that as much as anybody," Richt added.

It was a small dose of the passion that McGarity said he has seen from Richt in their own meetings.

"I think that's something Mark needs to do more of, is show his passion," McGarity said. "I've encouraged him to do so."

One thing McGarity said he did not do was ask Richt to make any staff changes.

"That's strictly a head coach's call, in every sport," McGarity said. "We do not get involved in evaluating the assistant coaches."

McGarity, who was hired in August, did detail several changes that have gone on behind the scenes. One of them is bringing aboard a nutritionist, not only for football but all sports.

Former player Bryant Gantt has also been brought in to help in character development. Georgia had 11 players arrested in 2010, and another, linebacker Marcus Dowtin, had a second-degree assault charge resolved out of court.

McGarity said he felt Richt was becoming the "point person" for too many things at the football program, including academics. So he has implemented some changes to alleviate that.

"Mark had his hands in so many things that it was almost impossible to focus on the Xs and Os of the game," McGarity said.

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