Hartley, Doolittle & Garner Take Over Defense

ATHENS - Georgia fans have officially seen the last of some of Mark Richt's most veteran coaches on the sidelines.

Defensive coordinator Willie Martinez, defensive ends coach Jon Fabris and linebackers coach John Jancek each declined an opportunity to coach in Georgia's bowl game after Richt announced the three coaches would not have their contracts renewed beyond the postseason.

Richt announced the coaching changes Wednesday, dismissing three-fourths of the team's defensive staff after the Bulldogs struggled through a 7-5 season in which the defense allowed more than 26 points per game -- the most during any season since Richt came to Athens in 2001.

Fabris and Martinez had been on Richt's first staff in 2001, and Jancek was hired when former defensive coordinator Brian Van Gorder left following the 2004 season.

"Despite the situation, Willie, John, and Jon are all outstanding men and outstanding coaches," said Richt. "They have all accomplished some great things during their tenures at Georgia. Willie and Jon (Fabris) were part of all three of our SEC Eastern division titles and two SEC championships. John (Jancek) was part of our 2005 SEC title. I cannot wish them anything but the very best."

Rodney Garner, Georgia's recruiting coordinator and defensive tackles coach, will be the only holdover on the defensive side of the ball to be on the sideline for the team's bowl game -- which is likely to be the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. according to various sources.

Graduate assistants Todd Hartley and Mitch Doolittle will assist Garner in preparing the defense for the bowl game, but Richt said he has not yet identified a timetable for bringing in full-time replacements to his staff.

"The plan is to bring in the right people and the right coaches," Richt said after announcing the dismissal of his former assistants. "Not only do you want coaches that are very competent but you want to bring in guys that will buy into the overriding philosophies I have as a head coach. So those things can't necessarily happen overnight and quite frankly I don't think it's right to be out there shopping around before I had an opportunity to talk to the men that I had to (dismiss). I'm not putting a timetable on anything. The goal is to make sure we get the right people in place."

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