May 3, 2012

Adams makes it official

UGA president Michael Adams made if official Thursday, announcing at the UGA Chapel that he would be stepping down after 15 years in June of 2013.

"There comes a time when it is appropriate to step aside to let others continue the work, and that time has come for me," said Adams. "My love will always be deep for the University of Georgia, where I have spent the most productive years of my career. I will be invigorated in the coming year in working to assure that UGA remains well positioned for the future, both short term and long term."

For example:

Under Adams, Georgia rose up the charts in academic achievement, student quality and enrollment, which has helped the university be recognized as one of nation's top 20 public research universities for eight out of the past 10 years by U.S. News and World Report.

"I am proud of where the university is. It is in excellent shape," Adams said. "But now is not the time to waver in our dedication to moving her forward. We still need faculty and staff salary support and additional facilities for students, in particular the Science Learning Center planned for South Campus. And a key challenge is the coming capital campaign. I will spend the next year preparing for a capital campaign that my successor can build upon to propel this historic and dynamic institution into the future."

Unfortunately for Adams, his role as it pertains to Georgia's athletic programs is what many remember - and some despise him for - to this very day.

Although there were several projects that Adams helped push through - the recent additions to the Butts-Mehre Building, the Basketball Facility, softball complex and track among them - his penchant for taking an active role in UGA Athletic Association policy certainly rubbed many the wrong way.

In 2000, Adams over-ruled then athletic director Vince Dooley and decided to fire former football coach Jim Donnan before later clashes with Dooley later cost the longtime football coach and athletic director his job.

There was the controversial hiring of former basketball coach Jim Harrick, who was pushed by Adams after the firing of Ron Jirsa.

Although the Bulldogs excelled under Harrick, the Georgia hoop program was eventually put on probation for academic fraud.

Shortly thereafter, Dooley was ousted as the Bulldogs athletic director after 40 years as a member of the UGA athletic association after the former coach asked for a two-year extension.

But Adams declined Dooley's reques, a decision that almost led to his ouster by a number of high-level boosters.

However, Adams survived, and eventually hired Damon Evans as the first African American athletic director in the SEC, before he was forced to resign after a DUI arrest in Atlanta.

Changes to Georgia's football parking and use of campus space for tailgating also drew the ire of fans.

Over the last couple of years Adams has taken a leading role in pushing for a playoff system for college football, which could very well be his final legacy from an athletic point of view.

Adams will join the UGA faculty upon his retirement next year.

"I cannot overly express how much I appreciate the support I have received from so many individuals in the administration, the faculty, the staff, the students, the alumni, and from the people of Georgia who love this place," Adams said. "These people make the presidency of UGA one of the best jobs in America. I continue to believe that the people of this state deserve a flagship every bit as good as do the people of California or Michigan or North Carolina. Together, we have made great progress in that regard, and I thank all of you for the opportunity to serve in this capacity."