Extending the Deal

ATHENS – Mark Fox and Georgia are in contract extension talks, and that's a good thing.

The AJC and Athens Banner-Herald reported Wednesday that Fox and Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity are in preliminary talks to move forward on an extension of Fox's current contract, which ends after the 2014-15 season.

"Yes, I have had a preliminary discussion with Mark," McGarity told the AJC's Tim Tucker. "Over the next week – two weeks – we'll sit down and try to formalize some of the things we have discussed."

McGarity told the ABH's Marc Weiszer: "I told him once the Final Four is over, we'd huddle back up and meet to formalize some things."


No one is confusing Fox with John Wooden; no one is confusing him with the disaster that was Dennis Felton, either. Still, Fox has elevated Georgia from the dregs of the SEC East, and made the program relevant in less than two years from accepting the job.

It is a good thing that Fox is going to be locked up (as much as a basketball coach, or any college coach for that matter, can be locked up) for a few more years. McGarity is doing the right thing by sending the message to other programs as well as Georgia fans that Fox is going to be the guy at Georgia for some time.

Fox told Tucker that he was not interested in taking calls from other schools, which is a nice thing to say. An extension at Georgia won't prevent him from getting those calls. But the fact is that while Georgia doesn't have much of a basketball past it very well could have the brightest basketball future of any program not named Kentucky in the SEC.

Stegeman Coliseum has become a home court difficult for other teams to conquer. Fox and company are 26-8 in his two years there. The new basketball practice facility is top notch. But most of all, and this has always been the case, Georgia is a hotbed of basketball talent. For that reason alone Georgia will one day be a destination job – but someone is going to have to elevate it to that level, and that certainly can be Fox if he plays his cards right.

"I just want for this program to reach the level I think it can," Fox told Tucker.

Well said. The fact is that Georgia basketball, in its history, has underachieved in a way that is almost breathtaking. Some coach is going to take the red and black to the promise land… that's only a matter of time and recruiting.

Fox is smart to say that he's not interested in other jobs. He's also smart to know that Georgia is a place that's never taken full advantage of its recruiting potential.

Georgia Tech's recent hire? No one in Athens is scared of Brian Gregory… no one was scared of Paul Hewitt.

Georgia Tech, the only other player in the state, has done well recruiting over the last ten years… they've had very little to show for it. Georgia hasn't done well recruiting… they've had very little to show for it, too.

Imagine a world where Georgia actually got the best recruits in state and matched them up with someone who can coach? Greg McGarity already has, and he's working to make sure that world isn't imaginary any more.

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