One of those occasions came Friday when Damon Evans, who played wide receiver on four of Goff's football teams, was hired as the school's athletic director-designate. Evans will replace Vince Dooley on July 1, 2004.
"He's one of the people you knew was going to do well," said
was fired following the 1995 season but showed up Friday to witness
Evans' introductory news conference. "You just knew. He was a classy
Evans lettered from 1989-'92 and played in 33 games. He finished his
career with 23 catches for 260 yards and no touchdowns. Still, he made a
big impact on Goff, who spoke glowingly of Evans and his family.
"I really believe that he's a great choice," Goff said.
"It's a happy
day for Georgia."
It was a happy day, too, in Hall County, one hour north of Athens,
where Evans played his final two years of high school football. Both
seasons, the Red Elephants won the region title.
"We had always run the football, but all of a sudden, when we had
Damon, we threw it a lot," said Gainesville athletic director Wayne
Vickery, who coached Evans in high school. "I'm happy for Gainesville
High School. I'm happy for Damon and his family. Good things happen to
Evans' high school jersey has been retired.
"We can retire it again," Vickery said.
Evans, 34, said he first envisioned himself leading the Georgia
athletic department not long after he left Gainesville High.
"I've been dreaming it probably from the first day I got to the
University of Georgia," he said. "Did I think 15-16 years ago it would
happen this soon? No, I didn't."
Rodney Garner, an assistant Georgia football coach and a personal
friend of Evans, said he was happy for his friend and for the signal the
hiring sent. Evans will be the first black athletic director in the SEC.
Three weeks ago, Mississippi State hired Sylvester Croom, the first
black football coach in the SEC.
"Two thousand and three has been a great year," Garner said.
excited. I think it's a great move. It's a great testament to this
conference and the direction we're headed in this millennium."
Several of the school's football players reacted positively to the
news. Wide receiver Fred Gibson said the race issue didn't matter to
him, but he was glad to learn of Evans' promotion because he can relate
to Evans as a former player and younger person than Dooley.
"I know him better than I know Coach Dooley so I like that,"
For others, Evans' hiring is an important statement.
"It shows the university is trying to diversify the campus,"
Damien Gary said. "I think it matters a lot. Times are changing."
"I've always felt Damon was the best man for the job, but I didn't
have anything to compare it to until we interviewed the candidates. They
all were very competent, but there is a difference between very good and
what is best for us, and I Damon is what is best for us." -- Georgia
head football coach Mark Richt, who was on the search committee to hire
"The fact that Damon was the best candidate for the job and that he
happens to be a minority -- the first minority athletic director in the
Southeastern Conference -- makes his appointment by Dr. Adams a
significant event not only for Georgia but for the SEC." -- SEC
commissioner Mike Slive
"It's big for African-Americans. I hope it gives all people a sense
pride. It's got to be prideful from an alumni standpoint, from an
African-American standpoint and from a society standpoint. I think it's
really a move forward. This country has changed." -- UGA assistant
football coach Rodney Garner
"I don't know how to describe how I feel. It's overwhelming. It's a
good Christmas present, don't you think?" -- Evans' mother Diane
"One thing about youth is you believe you are ready whether anybody
else does or not. You just go and you learn as you go." -- Vince Dooley
"First and foremost, we all must remember that Vince Dooley is the
athletic director at Georgia until June 30, 2004. We've talked and I
feel good about where we are. He told me throughout this process that if
anybody was going to take over, he wanted it to be me. I feel good about
where we are." -- Damon Evans
Reaction positive to Evans Hire
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