Although Mark Richt said he wasn't sure how to react upon learning of Damon Evans' arrest last week, Georgia's head football coach said he didn't think the situation will ultimately define the former UGA AD.
Richt made his first official comments on Evans' resignation during a press conference Wednesday at the Butts-Mehre Building on the UGA campus.
"I don't think this will define Damon Evans. It's certainly a bump in the road without question, but I think he's a very capable man," Richt said. "He's very intelligent and has an awful lot going for him just to be in the position he was in at such a young age shows what his capabilities are and what his potential is. I think he'll rebound, I really do."
Still, Richt conceded he was shocked when he first heard the news while on vacation Thursday morning.
"I didn't really know how to react, because again when you're not there, you don't know everything that happened," Richt said. "You hear DUI and that's certainly a serious thing, but I didn't and still won't make a judgment on it, although (when he first heard) I knew it was serious."
Richt said he and Evans have exchanged voice mails in recent days.
He also expressed his confidence in Interim Athletic Director Frank Crumley and the search committee which has been charged to find the new Bulldog AD.
"I do feel for Damon and his family. I've been working with Damon for almost 10 years now. I've had a good working relationship and a good personal relationship with Damon. I'm definitely sad for everyone in that regard, but moving forward I think President (Michael) Adams has done a really fine job of handling the situation the way he did. I think having Frank Crumley as the interim AD definitely makes the most sense," Richt said. "Frank is a very, very sharp guy; we've got a lot of sharp people in our association and everybody is very, very capable of continuing to do their job because I don't see anything that's going to really change in the way we go about our day-to-day business."
Richt added the past week's events will not have an effect on his Bulldog football team, which is scheduled to begin preseason practice July 31.
"We're just going to go on with life and take care of business. I know our football staff, our football team and I think everybody is saddened by the news of losing Damon, because he's done a lot of wonderful things," Richt said. "He's been an outstanding athletic director, but we know we've all got a job to do, an exciting season ahead of us and we're excited about moving forward. This situation, as sad as it was, we don't think it will hinder us in where we want to go and doing the things we want to do."
Richt said he will support whomever Adams and the search committee decide.
Adams said the search for the new AD could take anywhere from six months to a year.
"I do have a lot of confidence in President Adams' ability to hire a new person that will get the job done and get the job done well. I do know that Georgia is one of the finest universities in this country," Richt said. "Our athletic program has got to be one of the Top 5 in America in my opinion and I think it's a job that a lot of people will be interested in. Whoever the President decides on I will support that person and be ready to for the team to move forward."
Richt also denied that the sordid details revealed in the incident report would have an impact on Georgia recruiting.
"I don't think so. Georgia is an awesome place, it's a beautiful campus, Athens is a wonderful city, we've got tremendous academics here at our university and we've got a great athletic program," he said. "I think people see that and want to be a part of it. I don't think it's going to be a problem."
He also laughed off the suggestion that the new AD could have an eventual impact on his own job status.
"I don't worry about those things, I really don't," Richt said. "My focus is to do my job, be obedient to my Lord and Savior. That's kind of what I do, if that's good enough, great."
NOTE: Richt also offered a comment on the situation on backup cornerback Jordan Love, who was arrested for a misdemeanor obstruction of justice after he allegedly refused to give officers his middle name while being questioned following a fireworks incident. "Basically, just from what I understand, there was a communication issue," Richt said. "I think everyone was trying to do their job and be forthright with what they were trying to give. You can see where there would be some confusion. It was just a miscommunication more than anything else."
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