Aug. 16, 2004: More Unsolicited Advice for UGA President Michael Adams

Dear Mike: For several years, I have suggested that you would be well served to accept some sage advice from yours truly and that doing so might extricate you from the controversies that seem to swirl around you like fruit flies in a peach orchard. Because I received no response, I can only assume that (a) you didn’t know I had made this offer because you have better things to do than read my column, (b) your loyal lieges don’t get paid near enough money to have to put up with you and me both or (c) somebody in your office ran the numbers and determined that my advice was worth about what the University of Georgia was willing to pay for it: nothing.

While I sat patiently by the telephone awaiting your call, you faced down the Bulldog Nation over your refusal to extend the contract of Athletic Director Vince Dooley, forcing Dooley to retire. You installed a new athletic director, Damon Evans, who I suspect will be a lot more beholden to you than was Dooley.

Next, the University of Georgia Foundation came after you. Granted, the Foundation members were all over the map regarding you and your administration. Some thought you were doing a fine job. Some thought you should be fired. That split kept the Foundation from speaking with one voice, which worked to your favor. Your bosses at the Board of Regents strongly backed you and told the Foundation to butt out. I’m not sure if the Regents’ action was due to the fact that they think you are doing a wonderful job or because they don’t want outsiders telling them how to run their business. Either way, the Foundation is still trying to get the tag number of the Mack truck that ran them over.

Many alumni said they would not contribute to the university until you left. Now comes word that the University of Georgia received a record $77.8 million in private gifts and pledges in the fiscal year ending June 30, an 8 percent increase over the previous year. This marks the fourth consecutive year of record increases in private donations. The gifts came from 53,919 contributors, the largest number of donors ever to give to UGA in a single year.

In short, you have gotten rid of your nemesis Vince Dooley, put your own guy in as athletic director, watched as the Board of Regents laid a two-by-four upside the head of the UGA Foundation and have seen record donations to the institution rise for the fourth straight year.

See what happens when you don’t take my counsel?

However, I remain undeterred. You will be thrilled to know that I continue to dispense unsolicited advice. Remember, you aren’t out of the woods yet. You are riding an impressive winning streak, but a lot of your constituents are still mad at you. I suspect you are going to get booed at every football game this fall and that’s no fun. You need to throw out an olive branch and start patching things up. Work the telephones. Go see folks. Buy some lunches. You can undo a lot of the hurt feelings among the university’s loyal supporters if you will reach out to them, but you are going to have to take the initiative.

Stay out of the coaching business. That is why God created athletic directors. The secret financial deal you made with former football coach Jim Donnan was dumb as a rock and bringing Jim Harrick to Athens as basketball coach was just plain disastrous.

Don’t forget that you are spending other people’s money, whether it is privately raised or comes from taxpayers. Spend it prudently. Don’t go off on some boondoggle disguised as official business and then play golf on our dime. That isn’t why we donate to the university.

I could go on, but that is enough for today. Besides, you may be as tired of getting my advice as I am of giving it. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call. As usual, I’ll be sitting by the phone.