He's a Bulldgog, through and through. I randomly met Greg in 2001. I made the trip to New Orleans with a group of friends to see the first round of the NCAA basketball tourney, and Florida happened to be playing in New Orleans that year. I got to see the back to back upsets of 2 seed North Carolina by Penn State and the absolute beatdown 11 seed Temple put on 3 seed Florida. However, on the night in between the first round and second round, I am sitting in a bar, because that is what you do in New Orleans, when a very slick looking guy with fantastic hair makes note of my hat and says 'Hey, Bulldog, where are you from?'
It was Jeremy Foley.
Foley and I get to talking when his most trusted assistant walked up, stuck his hand out and said, "Love the hat, I'm Greg McGarity." We share stories and drinks and Greg was very upfront about his love of the Bulldogs. With Jeremy Foley at the table with us. We talked about his time playing tennis. Him being from Athens. His great affection for Coach Magill. His appreciation and respect of Coach Dooley and the break he'd gotten working in Georgia Athletics. While he was politic about the Gators, he made no bones about his blood running red and black. I don't believe for a second that has changed.
He is pretty good at his current job. I could quote all of the same stats everyone else has to show his utter competence. However, one thing stands out to me about the job he has done at Florida. Jeremy Foley, who is well known for his...particularly hands on management style...trusts Greg to operate independently. If you have ever worked for a control freak, the greatest compliment that person can give you about your work is to trust you to do your job well and without much interference.
Foley trusts McGarity to be in charge of the football and basketball programs, as well as several other important aspects of the Florida Gator athletic firmament. I'd say that trust isn't misplaced.
He has the right pedigree for the job. I know this one is a bit of a cop out. Mark Lewis, whom I went to law school with, and Frank Crumley, whom I have known since undergrad, would both have been great hires and offer similar backgrounds. I think Jerry Steeg wouldn't have been bad, either. Considering Greg's pedigree: He was a letterman here (as was Mark Lewis), and he has extensive experience in SEC athletics (as Greg Crumley has). I'd say we are able to capture the best two publicly intangible aspects of the candidates I thought had the best chances.
I will say I am a bit disappointed it wasn't Crumley. As I noted, I have known him since undergrad and think a lot of him. In all honestly, I could write nearly the same post about him. The only thing I can think of McGarity has that Crumley doesn't is time in the job. McGarity's move to Florida was when Crumley started in Athletics. I am not saying Crumley couldn't do the job, obviously he can. I trust Greg McGarity will see the value Greg Crumley brings to the table and will keep him as his Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director.
That is a win-win for Georgia Athletics.