basketball Edit

McGarity denies report that Georgia exploring options to replace Fox

YAHOO's Pat Forde writes that Georgia is looking at possible replacements for Mark Fox.
YAHOO's Pat Forde writes that Georgia is looking at possible replacements for Mark Fox. (UGA Sports Communications)

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity released a statement Tuesday morning indicating that Mark Fox will return as head coach of the Bulldog basketball program next year.

His statement comes in light of a report by YAHOO's Pat Forde who wrote Monday night that Georgia was exploring options to replace the eight -year head coach.

"In response to the report by Yahoo Sports, we are NOT in the process of exploring our options to replace Fox," McGarity said in an email sent to beat writers. "We look forward to Mark leading our program next year and all of our efforts are centered on postseason play. It’s unfortunate we need to respond at this time, but it was necessary to quiet these unfounded rumors.”

Speculation on Fox’s future as the head basketball coach at Georgia has mostly been limited to Internet message boards and sports call-in shows, but Monday night Forde opined that the Bulldogs were indeed considering a move.

According to Forde, Georgia had begun doing due diligence on possible replacements for Fox, with an emphasis on mid-major candidates.

McGariaty's statement appeared to deny that emphatically.

Among those Forde mentioned were UNC-Wilmington’s Kevin Keatts, East Tennessee State’s Steve Forbes, Chattanooga’s Matt McCall and Winthrop’s Pat Kelsey.

You can read Forde's complete article here: http://sports.yahoo.com/news/coaching-carousel-washington-to-retain-lorenzo-romar-thad-matta-to-return-at-ohio-state-032351523.html.

Fox – who has three years remaining in his current five-year contract that pays him $2 million per season – was asked about his job status Feb. 21 during an interview with Bulldog beat writers.

“That comes up even when you win,” Fox said at the time. “Praise and criticism comes from the same people. You’ve got to treat them both the same because, ultimately, it’s not … you can’t get on that rollercoaster, so we just kind of keep our head to the ground and keep grinding.”

According to Fox’s contract obtained by UGASports via open records, his buyout would be $1.7 million should he be fired at season’s end.

Fox would not be owed a buyout should he ever decide to leave Georgia for another job on his own.