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Georgia football’s high-priced recruiting part of ‘return on investment’
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Georgia football’s high-priced recruiting part of ‘return on investment’

Georgia football’s high-priced recruiting part of ‘return on investment’

Georgia football’s high-priced recruiting part of ‘return on investment’

ATHENS What does it take to sign the nation's top recruiting class? A lot of money, to start with.

That's one lesson learned from the Georgia Bulldogs, who in February closed on their second No. 1-ranked football recruiting class in the last three years. UGA spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on chartered air travel just to get in front of some of the top prospects in America, many of whom resided far away from Georgia.

In a 13-day period that bracketed Georgia's appearance in the SEC Championship Game on Dec. 7, the Bulldogs spent $422,047.07 on 42 trips by chartered air planes for coach Kirby Smart and members of his staff. Those flights landed in 23 different cities outside of Georgia's borders, some as far away as Van Nuys, Calif., and Ontario, Canada.

Those are just a few of the revelations discovered when UGA released this week travel documents requested by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in January. According to those records, Georgia football coaches boarded chartered flights at least 74 times between September and mid-December of last year. On average, the UGA Athletic Association paid $9,409 for those trips, not including coaches' personal expenses. The total: $696,269.99

About this, the Bulldogs offer no apology.

"You want a return on your investment, right?" said Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity, referencing to the recruiting class's No. 1 rank. "This is just part of what we do to help Kirby get the job done at UGA. (Recruiting travel is) one of many segments that are important to facilitating our program. It illustrates our commitment to Kirby to achieve our mutual goals."

Indeed, Georgia signed players from all over the U.S. Of the 25 players the Bulldogs inked, 16 of them came from outside the state. Some of them came from wayoutside.

Georgia signed two players from California, one from Nevada and another from Arizona. The Bulldogs also landed players from Maryland and New Jersey. They signed three recruits out of Louisiana and four from Florida. And these weren't just any players. In many cases they were the best prospect at their position in their respective states.

The Bulldogs' flight records indicate they would've taken even more out-of-staters if they could have gotten them. Georgia coaches made several trips to Ontario, Detroit and Kansas City in an effort to sign blue-chip recruits from each of those areas. Alas, even the indefatigable Smart can't sign every prospect he targets.

The financial support hasn't gone unnoticed. Smart made a point to thank UGA's athletic administration, as well as the school's faculty, his own assistants and Georgia football support staff, for their efforts after closing on the 2020 class.

"This really goes back to sacrifices that everybody made to give their time," Smart said. "It really takes a team effort when you have kids coming from Texas and California and all over the country. People have to sacrifice their time to give you an opportunity to sign players like this."

Time and money.

Sometimes Georgia's coaches flew on jets, such as the ones UGA hired from Georgia Jet, Inc., for $28,300 over two days in September. Other times they were on twin-prop airplanes, which come a little cheaper.

The most expensive flight logged was $27,153.50 for a trip from Athens' Ben Epps Airport to McCarren International in Las Vegas on Dec. 8. Darnell Washington, the nation's No. 2-rated tight end, lives in Las Vegas. That same day, UGA coaches also flew from Vegas to Van Nuys, Calif. Van Nuys is 15 minutes from Calabasas, where 4-star wide receiver Jermaine Burton resides.

Both Washington and Burton signed with the Bulldogs 10 days later.

That was the Sunday after Georgia lost to LSU 31-10 in the SEC Championship game. The Bulldogs rang up quite a bill in the days immediately after that contest.

That Monday, Georgia coaches were on planes traveling from DeKalb-Peachtree Airport to Love Field in Dallas, then on to Ontario. The Bulldogs were recruiting several prospects in the Dallas area of Texas, including 4-star cornerback Jalen Kimber, who signed with UGA. In Ontario, they were after top-ranked tight end Theo Johnson, who ended up signing with Penn State. UGA was charged $42,334.62 for those two sojourns.

The next day, a flight took UGA coaches from Phoenix, not far from where the nation's No. 1-ranked cornerback Kelee Ringo resides in Scottsdale, Ariz., to Kansas City, Mo., where the Bulldogs were recruiting No. 3-ranked cornerback Dontae Manning. The former signed with Georgia. The latter inked at Oregon.

UGA coaches probably flew to Houston, Texas, more than anywhere else. Records show they were at airports in that city at least four times. Zachary Evans, the No. 2-rated running back in the country, lives in Houston. He signed with Georgia in December, but then the Bulldogs released Evans from his letter-of-intent in January. That's a long story for another day.

In short, the AJC's request for charter air expenses for football recruiting in Fiscal Year 2019-20 was filed on Jan. 30. All of the flight information UGA provided was for trips that occurred on or before Dec. 13.

The early signing date for college football was Dec. 18 and the final signing date for the 2020 football recruiting classes was Feb. 5.

UGA coaches certainly made many other sorties between Jan. 17 and Feb. 1 when the NCAA's recruiting calendar allows in-person, off-campus contact with recruits. But those records weren't made available because McGarity said expense reports for any of those trips were processed after the AJC's Jan. 30 request.

The state of Georgia's open-record law was changed in 2016 to give athletic departments 90 days to respond to requests for anything other than employment actions and salary adjustments. Smart and McGarity were consulted about the prospective change before it was voted on in April of 2016.

The AJC also requested expenses for helicopter travel. Smart is known for renting choppers to help him get around Atlanta's notorious traffic during recruiting evaluation periods. UGA reported six instances in which it rented from Helicopter Express at Peachtree-DeKalb Airport. Those excursions, limited to Athens and Atlanta, totaled $55,900. Again, the last flight reported occurred on Jan. 30.

McGarity insists it's money well spent.

"It's respectful of the coaches' time," he said. "Recruiting is critical. If you're trying to fly commercially, you're probably not going to be able to go see people in consecutive places on the same day or consecutive days. As our results show, we recruited a lot more (prospects) out of state this year. Our guys were all over the place."

Indeed they were. Georgia's cross-continental romps explain its ascent from middle of the SEC to top of the nation in football recruiting expenditures. According to a survey by USA Today, the Bulldogs' $3.7 million outlay for football recruiting in Fiscal Year 2019 was the most in the nation. That topped rival Alabama by $250,000 and represented a $1 million jump for UGA over the previous year.

It remains to be seen if that number will be even higher for Fiscal Year 2020, which ends June 30. It certainly was trending that way when all in-person, off-campus contact concluded on Feb. 1. Then Georgia, like all NCAA programs, had to shut down on-campus recruiting and off-campus evaluations in March, April and May due to health and safety restrictions created by the coronavirus pandemic.

McGarity said UGA's place atop recruiting expenditure charts is more a function of accounting than lavish travel practices. He said the fact that UGA no longer operates its own plane inflates the figures.

Many of the SEC's schools have their own planes. The University of Georgia used to own a King Air twin-engine, turbo-prop plane that was available for athletic department use, but sold it in 2018 for $1.4 million.

Between that decision and Smart's penchant for recruiting the best players all over the country, UGA Athletics' line item for travel has swelled ever since. It had $2.96 million budgeted for recruiting and coaches' travel for Fiscal Year 2020, up from $2.26 million the previous year.

"That's been my point," said McGarity, who was deputy AD at Florida before becoming Georgia's AD in 2010. "Different athletic departments account for it different ways. At Florida, the respective sports were charged only for the statute miles traveled or hourly expenses. That doesn't reflect the cost of the airplane, pilots' salaries, maintenance on the aircraft, insurance or anything like that. All of that was in the aviation budget. So it's not really apples to apples."

McGarity said the prospect of buying another plane was going to be a "topic of discussion" at the next athletic board meeting, which is tentatively scheduled for June 4 at Lake Oconee. But he expects it will be shelved due to current global circumstances.

"We're constantly evaluating if we want to get back in the aviation business," McGarity said. "We've had to delay that decision until a later date when we get more clarity on the virus. To go out and make a purchase like that right now probably wouldn't be a wise decision."

If nothing else, Smart has proven he knows what do with an airplane.

THE COST OF RECRUITING

In a sampling of records requested by the AJC, in the 13 days from Dec. 1-13, before and after the SEC Championship game on Dec. 7, Georgia officials made 42 airplane flights for recruiting visits. The cost of just those trips totaled $422,047.07.

Date/Trip/Cost

Dec. 1/Detroit to Athens/$13,701.30

Dec. 1/Lakeland, FL to Athens/$8,706.22

Dec. 1/Kansas City, MO to Athens/$8,702.02

Dec. 4/Athens to Orlando/$7,628.12

Dec. 4/Orlando to Athens/$7,628.12

Dec. 5/Athens to Columbia, SC/$4,633.92

Dec. 5/Columbia, SC to Athens/$4,633.92

Dec. 8/Athens to Sarasota, FL/$9,148.05

Dec. 8/Athens to Las Vegas/$27,153.50

Dec. 8/Las Vegas to Van Nuys, CA/$6,323.46

Dec. 8/New Orleans-Houston/$9,262.76

Dec. 8/Athens to Orlando/$7,391.60

Dec. 9/Van Nuys, CA to Ontario/$8,065.52

Dec. 9/Ontario to Fresno, CA/$8,065.52

Dec. 9/Fresno, CA to Las Vegas/$8,871.23

Dec. 9/Las Vegas to Phoenix/$8,061.32

Dec. 9/Sarasota, FL to Athens/$8,534.45

Dec. 9/Arlington, TX to Phoenix/$16,763.70

Dec. 9/DeKalb to Dallas/$21,167.31

Dec. 9/Dallas to Ontario/$21,167.31

Dec. 10/Phoenix to Kansas City, MO/$20,155.41

Dec. 10/Kansas City, MO to Athens/$15,316.93

Dec. 10/Memphis to Houston/$9,795.30

Dec. 10/Houston to Athens/$11,074.60

Dec. 11/Floyd County, GA to Lakeland, FL/$11,284.17

Dec. 11/Lakeland, FL to Floyd County, GA/$12,089.88

Dec. 11/Floyd County, GA to Athens/$8,061.32

Dec. 11/Jacksonville to Lakeland, FL/$4,491.78

Dec. 11/Lakeland, FL to Fort Lauderdale, FL/$4,495.98

Dec. 11/Middle Georgia to Floyd County, GA/$11,074.60

Dec. 11/Floyd County, GA to Teterboro, NJ/$11,078.80

Dec. 12/Athens to New Orleans/$12,895.60

Dec. 12/New Orleans to Columbia, SC/$12,895.60

Dec. 12/Columbia, SC to Athens/$8,065.52

Dec. 12/Teterboro, NJ to Washington, DC/$11,074.60

Dec. 12/Washington, DC to New Orleans/$11,074.60

Dec. 12/Colquitt County, GA to LaGrange, GA/$4,083.82

Dec. 12/New Orleans to Jacksonville/$7,763.88

Dec. 13/Jacksonville to Athens/$6,171.37

Dec. 13/Jacksonville to Houston County, GA/$4,681.32

Dec. 13/Houston County, GA to Dodge County, GA/$4,406.32

Dec. 13/Dodge County, GA to Athens/$4,406.32

This story first appeared on AJC.com

The post Georgia football's high-priced recruiting part of return on investment' appeared first on DawgNation.

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  • It seems like fourscore and four news cycles ago when Georgia football coach Kirby Smart joined the beat reporter corps on Zoom last Thursday. It came before a weekend when America's attention shifted away from the novel coronavirus to Minneapolis. There were the actions of peaceful protestors and then those not-so-civil activists. It turned our heads away from the policies which would be in place this week for the return of Georgia's players to Athens to begin preparations for the 2020 season . This week marks a rite of passage for every new season.The UGA signees from the 2020 signing class that did not enroll early are officially moving away from home to join the program and campus life in Athens, too. In the midst of all of that, the Bulldogs were also able to add another former 5-star QB prospect to first-year offensive coordinator Todd Monken's room. That JT Daniels stuff took on a life of its own, too. 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The NCAA also shared word last week that all on-campus recruiting would still be halted until July 31. too. Division I Council Coordination Committee extends recruiting dead period: https://t.co/kxNibUf3B2 pic.twitter.com/0cRcTbrxQp Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) May 27, 2020 'They keep extending the period that you can't come on campusthe ability to come on campus, they just extended that, so it's looking like that's not going to happen through the end of July,' Smart said. 'So, it's going to be a very different May-June-July period and that's unique. Who manages that the best will be importanta lot of this is who had the best relationships leading into this because, at the end of the day, you can only develop so much of a relationship through a phone, through a text, through a virtual activity. We've tried to be creative in the way we use that. I'm certainly not going to divulge everything we've done because I don't think that's open for everybody to do, and I think we're all competing in the SEC, trying to make ourselves different.' Did you know the weekly DawgNation.com 'Before the Hedges' program is now available as an Apple podcast? Click to check it out and download. Georgia football: Kirby Smart continues to empathize with recruits The Bulldogs are certainly not lacking in the recruiting department. They never will be under this staff. Despite those obstacles, the Bulldogs still have the No. 13 overall recruiting class on the well-respected 247Sports Team Composite rankings.That ranking was boosted by the commitments of All-American Georgia prospects Chaz Chambliss and Dylan Fairchild over the last week. That gave the Bulldogs nine commits for the 2021 cycle. It comes while still showing remarkable restraint in not taking commitments from prospects the staff still felt like it needed further in-person or more senior year film for a complete evaluation. When it comes to those national team rankings, there'snot a single team above the Bulldogs that does not have at least two more verbal commitments at this time. The number of commitments those schools have on UGA at this time is even markedly higher than that in some cases. The average number of pledges for the top 12 comes out to 15.8 commits per school. Georgia is well-positioned based on the fact that the average 247Sports Composite rating of each of its commitments currently stands at 94.05. That's a focus on quality rather than an impressive volume of commitments at this time. Tennesse sits at No. 2 overall due in large part to its 24 commitments, but those prospects merit an average individual player rating of 89.73.Ohio State has the No. 1 class right now due to its average rating of 95.34 for each of its 18 commitments. Clemson also has a mean rating of 94.55 for each of its 13 pledges. Smart wonders about the effects on the 2021 recruits in general with all of this downtime. The alpha recruiters on every major Power 5 staff have had nothing consequential to do over the last three months except focus on the core recruits on the board. 'I can tell you this: it's probably created a bigger burden on our recruits, and if I was a recruit or a recruit's parent, I would be more concerned with that volume of virtual usage and phone usage, and it's probably led to more kids committing because you can make the case that they're committing because they can't go anywhere,' Smart said. 'I would make the case that they're sick and tired of being barraged by phone calls and virtual activities.' National recruiting analyst Bud Elliott of 247Sports continues to do an admirable job tracking the number of 2021 commitments to this point and comparing it to previous the same timestamp in previous cycles. Morning of May 30: 913 Last year's class on this date: 390 The gap grew again. https://t.co/plzt0mRvXT Bud Elliott (@BudElliott3) May 30, 2020 Will this class just be different? Or will the real recruiting cycle for the 2021 class take place in the span of just seven months? Could we see official visits in August in the thick of fall practices? When prospects do get the NCAA green light to return to campus again, it will mean they will have less than five months before the first day of the early signing period to figure out where they want to go. That same condensed time frame will also influence the schools handing out these scholarships, too. Smart wondered what that might lead to. 'Will we see more kids come November or December de-commit, or go back and start visiting?' Smart said. 'I don't know because I don't know when we'll be able to bring kids to campus. All that will probably come out at the end of July when we know more about what kids are going to be able to do in recruiting.' DAWGNATION RECRUITING (the recent reads on DawgNation.com) Nation's No. 1 CB prospect Tony Grimes places UGA among his top four schools BREAKING: All-American OL Dylan Fairchild has made his college decision Brock Vandagriff: How does that family feel about the JT Daniels transfer? The JT Daniels to Georgia buzz seems very real BREAKING: Elite 2022 DB Marquis Groves-Killebrew commits to UGA Who is Chaz Chambliss? Carrollton staff shares the goods on the new Bulldog commit BREAKING: Chaz Chambliss commits to Georgia football Taking a deep dive at how well Georgia has been recruiting Metro Atlanta of late Elite 2022 defensive athlete Daniel Martin already has a 'family' feel at UGA Brock Bowers: Nation's No. 3 TE knows what he needs to do before his college decision De'Jahn Warren: The 'nugget' for the nation's No. 1 JUCO prospect with UGA Decrypting that recent tweet from 5-star LB Smael Mondon Jr. Prince Kollie: The ILB target who had 1,085 yards as a receiver in 2019 Lovasea Carroll: DawgNation goes one-on-one with the 2021 RB commit The post Georgia football: Kirby Smart's comments on the 2021 recruiting cycle laced with empathy, uncertainty appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Hutson Mason admits he was as surprised as anyone last week when news dropped that former Southern Cal quarterback J.T. Daniels intended to transfer to Georgia. 'I wasn't so much surprised he chose Georgia (over Tennessee and Michigan), I was more so surprised that Georgia wasn't looking for another quarterback,' Mason, a former Bulldogs' quarterback, told DawgNation. 'Kirby is in an interesting spot with Jake Fromm gone . ' Interesting, for sure. Quarterback Derby The Bulldogs return 80 percent of the production off a championship caliber defense while reloading on the other side of the football with offensive gurus Todd Monken and Matt Luke. Daniels, should he be granted a waiver for immediate eligibility, would jump into a five-man quarterback derby. WATCH: USC beat writer shares inside info on JT Daniels Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman appears to be the favorite to start, but there's also D'Wan Mathis (redshirt freshman), Carson Beck (freshman) and Stetson Bennett (redshirt junior). Mason said he doesn't think UGA's tentative offensive blueprint would need to drastically change course with Daniels under center. USC has also run a Pro Style version of the spread with RPO concepts. 'One of the things I was surprised by when I was watching tape on him, he's far more nimble and shifty and elusive in the picket than I thought,' Mason said. 'I think he's far more athletic than Jake . 'That was the first thing that stuck out to me. I would see a clip where the pocket collapsed and would normally be a sack or a negative play last year for Jake, and for me, he gets out of. He turns what should be a sack into a 4-yard pickup, or he extends the play and makes something out of nothing.' Questionable Knee Mason said as much as he liked on tape, there's a question if Daniels will possess the same mobility if he's playing in a knee brace after suffering a torn ACL in last season's opening game. 'I don't know if he will be the same in the pocket and escape a lot of things because that knee brace is extremely restrictive on quarterbacks,' Mason said. 'I tried to wear one because a lot of offensive coordinators in college have the theory that they want their quarterback to wear one to protect their knee from the blind side.' Quarterback injuries have become more common as the speed of the game has increased and more teams have spread the field. Mason, himself, has experience attempting to play in a precautionary knee brace. 'I tried fiddling around with it a coupe springs, and I was like 'I hate this,' it's like a peg leg, you literally feel like you have one leg,' Mason said. 'So that that was my concern if he's coming off that knee injury and he has to wear a knee brace, will he ever be the nimble guy in the pocket that I saw on tape?' First Look Mason, who quarterbacked Georgia to a 10-3 record in 2014 and now provides analysts on Atlanta's WCNN-AM 680 'The Fan,' went directly to the archives upon hearing Daniels was heading to Athens. Hearing about a player is one thing, but seeing him and evaluating him in game action, is another. Mason provided a video breakdown of Daniels on Twitter last week. @GeorgiaFootball adds another 5 QB in JT Daniels. The more tape I watch of him the more impressed I become. pic.twitter.com/yEgWPkLdqH Hutson Mason (@HMason14) May 29, 2020 'I believe the two most important traits are accuracy and tight windows, that's why I chose that clip,' Mason said. 'And, it was functional arm strength. A lot of people think arm strength is how far can you throw the ball in a straight line, and that'a a huge misconception. 'It's more of when the pocket collapses, and you have a messy pocket, with somebody at your feet and you can't step into the throw, do you still have enough functional arm strength to get the ball down the field?' NCAA Waiver It has yet to be determined if Daniels will be seen on the field this season, as the will need the NCAA to grant him a waiver for immediate eligibility similar to the one Miami's Tate Martell received when leaving Ohio State. 'I'm sure Kirby's pitch was, We are a quarterback position away from being a national champion,' that's what I believe Kirby's pitch to him was,' Mason said. 'That's pretty enticing. 'I think the program is selling itself, and that was probably more of the angle. But I was surprised, because it seems like, man,'how much more room do you have for quarterbacks?' Time will tell. Georgia players have started arriving back on campus with voluntary workouts set to begin next Monday. DawgNation JT Daniels stories Georgia getting accurate, cerebral' quarterback in JT Daniels Addition of JT Daniels continues UGA inroads into California Breaking down the angles of JT Daniels' addition Details emerge on USC transfer JT Daniels Kirby Smart addresses new normal routine for players The post WATCH: First look at new Georgia quarterback JT Daniels from Hutson Mason appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia baseball pitcher Cole Wilcox is playing the waiting game and a poker game of sorts while waiting on the Major League Baseball Draft. Wilcox, like fellow UGA pitcher Emerson Hancock, is a projected first-round pick who is eligible for the draft (June 10-11). Like Hancock, he has not committed to leaving Georgia if selected. RELATED: Star pitcher Emerson Hancock undecided on 2020 MLB Draft 'I don't know yet,' Wilcox said on a Tuesday Zoom call with UGA media. 'That's something I probably won't know until after the draft is over, because that's kind of how it works. 'Teams keep their business to themselves. It's kind of a guessing game at this point. Whatever happens, happens.' Listening to the 6-foot-5, 232-pound sophomore talk on Tuesday, it became evident he's planning on launching his professional baseball career after the draft. Even then, more unknowns await him. While Major League Baseball is still trying to iron out a plan to restart the season, there have been indications the Minor League Baseball seasons will be canceled. Wilcox was 3-0 in four starts with a 1.57 ERA in 23 innings with 32 strikeouts and only two walks when the season was halted amid the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12. The Chickamauga, Ga., product said he tries not to think about professional baseball's plight. Though, he does factor it into a workout regimen that's designed to help him get even stronger while keep his arm fresh and loose. 'If we were in season I'd have just finished the (NCAA) regionals, so I'd be in game shape, I'd be throwing 7 or 8 innings, 120 pitches,' Wilcox said. Instead, Wilcox said, 'I'm throwing, just not off the mound or anything. No bullpen, no long toss, nothing super taxing, just keeping my arm in good enough shape for when it is time to ramp it back up.' Wilcox has a 100 mph fastball as evidenced in the Tweet below, along with the power and stamina that had Major League Baseball teams calling his number throughout the past two seasons. Hey @DSeifertD1PBR I finally got a good #HeatSheet Alert for you: here's @BaseballUGA freshman righty Cole Wilcox blowing away Jacob Olson on a 100 mph heater. Sat mostly 98-99 with a couple 88 mph sliders in a 1-2-3 5th, also fanned Luke Berryhill on 99. pic.twitter.com/aHmdlKlIxz Aaron Fitt (@aaronfitt) March 16, 2019 'I've spoken with a good majority of the teams, they come meet with us in the fall, and you build relationships with them,' Wilcox said. 'They stay in pretty good contact throughout the season. It's kind of hit and miss, you don't really know how to take all the calls and stuff. 'I've stayed in pretty good contact with a lot of teams in all areas of the draft. It's hard to tell interest at this point and what they are thinking right now.' Wilcox has been widely projected in the first half of the 37-man first round, but a Tuesday ESPN pay site article projects Wilcox as the No. 23 overall pick. According to the ESPN story, Wilcox is 'A first-round talent in the 2018 prep class who hasn't progressed much in college; he's still throwing up to 100 mph to go with an above-average slider and changeup.' Wilcox said he feels he has matured and grown stronger since high school while experiencing some of the best times of his life with his Georgia teammates. The Bulldogs were ranked No. 2 when the season came to a premature end. 'We knew we had a special team and a special group, we had good bonds throughout the whole team, that was what was so special about it,' Wilcox said. 'Last year, that was some of the best memories of my life, being able to travel to Mississippi State, and go to Hoover for the SEC Tournament, you're really going to miss it when you'll never play with that group again 'I feel like I was just kind of scratching the surface.' But still, having some fun along the way, needing nine takes before releasing this diving board, trick shot video on his Twitter account: For pitchers everywhere pic.twitter.com/NHkoE859zF Cole Wilcox (@ColeWilcox11) June 1, 2020 The post Georgia pitcher Cole Wilcox: 2020 MLB Draft still a guessing game' appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Former Auburn coach Pat Dye, who took over a downtrodden football program in 1981 and turned it into a Southeastern Conference power, died Monday. He was 80. Lee County Coroner Bill Harris said Dye died at a hospice care facility in Auburn from complications of kidney and liver failure. Dye, who played college football at Georgia, had been hospitalized in Atlanta last month with a kidney issue. He had tested positive for the coronavirus.  The news was first reported by 247Sports. » MORE: Notable sports deaths in 2020 Dye was born in Blythe, Ga. He was team captain of the 1956 Class AAA champion Richmond Academy in Augusta. He went on to play from 1957-1960 at Georgia where he was a two-time All-American, under head coach Wally Butts. When Dye came to Auburn, he inherited a program that was deeply divided after only three winning seasons in the previous six years. In 12 years, he posted a 99-39-4 record, Auburn won or shared four conference titles and the Tigers were ranked in The Associated Press’ Top 10 five times. Dye’s overall coaching record was 153-62-5 in 17 years at Auburn, Wyoming and East Carolina. His coaching career ended in November 1992 when he was forced to resign after a pay-for-play scandal rocked the program, which was placed on two years’ probation. Dye served as athletic director as well as coach for most of his career with Auburn. He remained associated with the university after his resignation and was a frequent commentator on football talk-radio shows. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005.  Dye is survived by four children — including Pat Dye Jr., an NFL agent — and nine grandchildren.
  • Longtime Auburn coach Pat Dye has died. He was 80. Dye, who played college football at Georgia, had been hospitalized in Atlanta last month with a kidney issue. He had tested positive for the coronavirus.  The news was first reported by 247Sports. Dye was born in Blythe, Ga. He was team captain of the 1956 Class AAA champion Richmond Academy in Augusta. He went on to play from 1957-1960 at Georgia where he was a two-time All-American, under head coach Wally Butts. Dye, a three-time SEC coach of the year, coached the Tigers to a 99-39-4 record in 12 seasons from 1981 to 1992. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2005. Before coaching at Auburn, Dye coached at Alabama, East Carolina and Wyoming. Dye is survived by four children — including Pat Dye Jr., an NFL agent — and nine grandchildren.