The Counter Offer

ATHENS – We got news today – through a Freedom of Information Act request – that Georgia gave two raises recently.

One of the raises went to Brian McClendon – more than doubling his salary to $200,000 a year. Georgia is careful to point out that McClendon's salary was raised because of other schools offering McClendon a job.

As Georgia put it: "the salary increases are counter offers."

The way I look at it, Georgia – which always seems to be hemorrhaging money, but never seemed to spend it until Greg McGartiy arrived – has intelligently decided to spend $100,000 on the person who just recruited the best player to be signed by Georgia since Matthew Stafford.

McClendon at Georgia in 2004

McClendon, officials at Georgia have told me, was offered other jobs – almost certainly in January – when recruiting was in full swing. Losing him to another school at that moment would have been a brutal blow to Georgia's chances of signing Isaiah Crowell.

Of the staff at Georgia, McClendon was uniquely qualified to recruit Crowell. McClendon is a young black man coaching at the place he played at. In America race is always a touchy subject, but one can hardly forget that McClendon has a unique perspective about Georgia. He can tell recruits exactly what its going to be like to be a black football player at Georgia… he knows about it… he's lived it.

That's not at all to say that McClendon's value is in his skin color – that would be simplistic and ignorant – and would also gloss over the fact that he had to claw and scratch to get the top recruit in the South to sign with Georgia. He had to do all of that while not appearing to claw and scratch… something that is very, very difficult to do. McClendon signed Crowell not because of the hue of his skin, but because he did the best job recruiting him – period.

On Signing Day I handed Brian McClendon a cover of what was the upcoming Dawg Post the Magazine with Crowell on the cover. He smiled.

"Man, that looks good," he said – eyes exhausted from worry over the recruiting wars of 2011.

The bump in pay probably looks good, too.

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