Athens, Ga. -
“It’s been a hard week.”
Those were the first words out of Georgia Basketball Coach Mark Fox’s mouth, after his team won their third game of the young season Tuesday night.
When a reporter asked Fox at his post-game news conference why it been a hard week, Fox hesitated and looked down for several seconds before answering.
Immediately, it was clear that Fox’s mind was on his friend, ousted UGA Football Coach Mark Richt.
Fox said, “We talk a lot here about the Georgia way…and it’s not lip service. We try to help these young people to find the high road in life. And every day that I’ve known Coach Richt, he would take the high road. And he ingrained that in us.”
Throughout the news conference, Fox paused and looked down before talking.
Fox said, “Whether you realize it or not, like you, Coach Richt made me a better man….and it was an honor to be his colleague and a privilege to be his friend.”
UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity and Richt announced Sunday Richt will step down after 15 seasons as head football coach.
Fox spent several minutes talking about Richt’s departure.
Fox told reporters, “Everybody has opinions, and I’ve read some uneducated opinions and some half-educated opinions, and I have a strong opinion. But what I don’t have is, and nobody else does, is the expert opinion because we don’t have the expertise in football and we don’t have the facts on the inside so I’m not going to be judgmental either way. But what I know is this. College athletics is littered with fraudulent and counterfeit people, and you guys know it, and Mark Richt was neither one of those. Our leadership has demanded the Georgia way, and Coach Richt has cemented it, in all of us.”
Fox said his basketball team reacted to the news of Richt’s departure during a Monday practice.
“I had to stop practice at the end last night (Monday) and it’s like we had a death in the family, everybody’s in mourning. That’s why it’s been a tough week” said Fox.
The basketball coach committed to help Georgia’s new football coach.
Fox said, “Because we believe in the Georgia way, if he asks, whoever the new head coach is, I will help however I can because we can’t lose the Georgia way.”
It’s been a tough week but we wish Coach Richt nothing but the best in his future endeavors.
Yante Maten scored 21 points, including two free throws with 36.1 seconds left, to lift Georgia to an 86-82 victory over Oakland Tuesday night.
FOX 5 and various media outlets have reported that barring a last minute issue, Georgia will name Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart as its new football coach this weekend.