Garner stays at Georgia
Published: Wednesday, January 19, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 at 11:39 p.m.
ATLANTA - University of Georgia assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Rodney Garner said Tuesday he has canceled plans to interview for a position at Louisiana State.
Georgia coach Mark Richt on Monday withdrew from his coaching position in the Hula Bowl college all-star game this weekend in Hawaii to address the situation with Garner. Richt said Garner received a raise to remain in Athens.
Losing Garner could have created chaos in Georgia's recruiting efforts, with the Feb. 2 signing date only two weeks away.
"I can tell you Coach Garner staying here at this moment is huge for this recruiting class, but it goes way beyond that," Richt said. "Him not being here to mentor his players and to be a part of our overall disciplinary system and being part of the team, we would have certainly felt it for some time."
Richt said Georgia athletic director Damon Evans and University of Georgia president Michael Adams acted quickly in approving a raise for Garner, the Bulldogs' defensive line coach since 1998.
Richt did not say if Garner would receive a new title with the raise.
"We'll just say certainly there has been a raise," Richt said. "We'll talk about those other details in time. For right now that's for certain."
Garner said he canceled plans to fly to Baton Rouge Tuesday night for an interview today.
Garner said his interest in an unspecified position at LSU was not the result of being passed over when Richt picked another Georgia assistant, Willie Martinez, to succeed Brian VanGorder as Georgia's defensive coordinator.
Richt said "we were already in the process" of giving Garner a raise from his 2004 salary of $155,166. Richt and Garner did not reveal the amount of the raise. VanGorder was Richt's highest-paid assistant at $210,000.
Defensive tackle Tony McDaniel was suspended indefinitely from the team after he was named a suspect in an assault on campus, coach Phillip Fulmer announced Tuesday.
Fulmer said McDaniel was suspended for a violation of team rules. According to a University of Tennessee police report, McDaniel is a suspect in an assault on Jan. 12 that left another student injured.
"Unfortunately, Tony made a poor decision," Fulmer said in a statement. "He will be suspended from the team indefinitely. We want our student-athletes to be responsible members of our community. They need to know that they will be held accountable for their actions and these types of issues will not be tolerated."
Athletic director Mike McGee took some blame Tuesday for conditions that preceded the thefts of about $18,000 in computer and video equipment and framed photographs out of Williams-Brice Stadium two months ago.
The school's athletic department reported "grand larceny of video equipment" with campus police Nov. 23, saying three laptop computers, two video projectors and 12 framed pictures worth were taken from South Carolina's locker room area, according to the police report.
University of South Carolina President Andrew Sorensen is still investigating the incident.
The large photos hang in the locker room, its lobby and the surrounding hallways at the stadium.
McGee said construction of the stadium's nearly completed South End Zone project left the area "probably too wide open." He said the work should be finished in about a week and "we're going to clamp down on all of that."
McGee said surveillance cameras had previously been installed. Plus, the football team was caught between coaches after the resignation of Lou Holtz and before the official hiring of Steve Spurrier as replacement.
He said Holtz's remaining staffers were worried about other things, "looking to their future and the new staff hadn't arrived."
"That's my fault," McGee said after announcing he'll retire June 30.
McGee said the ultimate findings will show that only a few members of the football team were involved.
"Let's don't forget we had 120 athletes on the team and you will see when this all comes to pass, it's a very limited number of people," McGee said.
Spurrier said last month that he understood only about three or four players were involved.
The thefts apparently took place the evening of Nov. 22 after McGee had informed the squad that it would not go to a bowl as punishment for its on-field brawl with Clemson only two days earlier. Clemson administrators also pulled the school out of a bowl game.
That evening, at least two players were seen carrying large framed photographs and loading them into cars.
Several Gamecock players, who had gone through the emotional highs and lows of a coaching change and an angry fight with the rival Tigers, said the team was bitter about not getting a bowl game despite a 6-5 record.
Sorensen said earlier this month that his investigation might take a few more weeks. When asked Tuesday evening if he had any updates, Sorensen succinctly answered, "No, sir."
Former Brigham Young coach Gary Crowton joined Oregon coach Mike Bellotti's staff Tuesday as offensive coordinator.
The 47-year-old Crowton resigned under pressure from BYU on Dec. 1 after a four-year stint with the Cougars. He replaces Andy Ludwig, who left Oregon last month to become offensive coordinator at Utah.
"I just felt comfortable there," Crowton said. "I interviewed at a few different places and had a few different options."
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.
Comments are currently unavailable on this article