For the first time since its publication, Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity responded to a harshly-worded letter criticizing his job performance.
But it wasn’t the tone or message of the letter that McGarity is upset about. Instead, McGarity said he was disappointed over edits made to an original version of the letter.
Two days before Dawg Nation published baseball letterman Carroll Minick’s letter criticizing McGarity’s leadership on July 16, McGarity was emailed a copy with a chance to respond.
McGarity did not offer a comment after reading the letter in his inbox. When McGarity read the published letter, he said there were differences from the one previously sent to him.
“I was very disappointed the entire letter was not published,” McGarity said. “I was upset and disappointed that certain parts of that letter differed from the original letter. I had no problems with the letter being printed in its entirety with no edits.”
The Telegraph obtained a copy of the letter sent to McGarity on July 14.
Among the edits:
-In the published letter, Minick wrote: “I suggest Billy Payne, or someone else of his stature head a search committee to name a new athletic director. Look at Clemson and what their athletic department has done with great leadership and a plan for high success.” This sentence, located in between those two sentences, was deleted: “Derek Dooley and Chris Welton (1980 football) are both candidates who come to mind.”
Since playing on Georgia’s 1980 national championship team, Welton has enjoyed a successful business career. Dooley, the son of Georgia legendary head coach and athletics director Vince Dooley, coaches receivers for the Dallas Cowboys and was previously the head coach at Louisiana Tech (17-20 overall record) and Tennessee (15-21).
-The published letter listed eight complaints among lettermen. The letter McGarity initially received showed seven. No. 4 on the published letter, which stated, “The UGA Athletic Board has limited representation from former Georgia athletes,” was added after McGarity was offered a chance to respond.
-Minick referenced a rumor that McGarity “has already chosen his successor” and that he hoped it wasn’t true. This was deleted from the letter.
The Telegraph reached out to Dawg Nation, which chose not to comment for this story.
Minick, reached by telephone Friday, said he chose on his own volition to make those changes to the letter before it published on Dawg Nation’s website. He said the reporter he spoke to did not collude with him about any of the changes.
“He did not lead me in any direction and tell me you need to do this or that,” Minick said. “He said to me, ‘Carroll, let’s read over your letter,’ and he said, ‘Is there anything you may want to change?’ I said ‘Well, I want to add the athletic board is not very well represented by former athletes.’ There was a little addition with that. Also, there are two names for candidates I mentioned for athletic director (Dooley and Welton) and I said, ‘I think I’ll take that out.’”
Minick also said it was his decision to take out the rumor about McGarity having chosen the person to replace him when he retires.
Minick said that while he is frustrated with the Georgia athletics department, he doesn’t want to continue criticizing McGarity. He said he just wants Georgia to begin winning in each of its sports at a high level with consistency.
“I’m not here to bash Greg McGarity,” Minick said. “I’ve already said what I’m going to say. I’m not out to get him in five different publications.”
Minick, who played baseball at Georgia from 1963-64, wrote the letter partly due to the recent struggles of the baseball program, which just finished its fourth consecutive losing season under head coach Scott Stricklin. Stricklin has compiled an overall record of 104-119-1 and is 43-75-1 in SEC play. McGarity previously stated the young roster and finish to the 2017 season were reasons for retaining Stricklin.
McGarity said Minick “has been a tremendous supporter” of the baseball program over the years.
McGarity wasn’t necessarily upset at Minick’s opinion. But he was caught off guard when the letter he read online wasn’t the one he was asked to comment on originally.
“Everybody has a right to say what they want. It’s a free world,” McGarity said. “But I was disappointed that the letter in its original form was not reproduced. And I think what the author said is that there were edits made for context. Well, when you delete sentences in the middle of paragraphs, to me, that’s an intent to shape the story in a way that wasn’t consistent. I was very disappointed in that.”