As readers of the Blog may know, I was concerned with the hire of Mark Fox. I hadn't heard of him. You hadn't either.
Supporters of the decision touted Fox's victories over Georgia and his overall record of wins and losses. I wasn't too impressed with either.
I remembered that Georgia's really bad teams had played Fox's Nevada squad really close. In 2004, Georgia lost by single digits at home. The next year out at their place, Nevada had no answer for Younes Idrissi. He scored a career-high 16 points.
From what I recall from listening to the 2005 game, Georgia's announcers were quite unhappy at the way the game was called. Our guys were hammered, but didn't get the whistle. On the other hand, Nevada ended up shooting a whopping 32 free throws. Georgia shot only 11.
Even with the benefit of "home cooking," Nevada was losing with 10 minutes to play. They escaped with a narrow 6 point margin.
As far as Fox's record was concerned, I felt that Nevada's wins and losses should be viewed in the light of their yearly opponents. His Nevada teams faced conference foes Hawaii, Idaho, Boise State and Utah State.
During much of the time that Fox was compiling his consecutive 20-win seasons, SEC basketball was at its height, ranked number one in the nation in RPI. If fans remember, Georgia often played Florida 3 times annually during the Gators' two national championship runs, not to mention UGA's twice yearly contests against Tennessee and Kentucky.
I doubted that Nevada would have had anything near 20 wins if they had to play an SEC schedule.
As Nick Fazekas said about the narrow victory over Felton's team, "We really didn't know what it took to beat a good team, because we haven't been playing the best competition."
I would have preferred that UGA hire a coach with impeccable winning credentials at the highest levels, someone who would be immediately successful in recruiting the Atlanta area. I think Damon Evans was concerned about the pay scale for such a coach, and whether Georgia would be able to keep him, once hired.
Evans opted for Mark Fox.
I will say this, I warmed up to the idea. I like what Fox has done so far. He has gone out and gotten some decent recruits, and he has a shot at bagging some of the more elite-level guys in the next few months.
Most of us just want a guy who will recruit, keep the program clean, and run a credible-enough offense that UGA has a chance to win. I haven't seen the Fox version of the triangle offense, but I am eager to do so. I believe if it is as good as advertised, the victories will come in time.
As Georgia begins the 2009/2010 campaign, supporters are lining up behind Fox. Rightly so.
In the meantime, Kentucky has garnered an incredible recruiting class, and the other SEC East teams are as talented, top to bottom, as I can recall. As a result, Georgia may struggle.
The AJC correctly notes that we've had a lot of coaches since 1995. Accordingly, fans who are on the bandwagon now, may jump off very quickly if things do not go UGA's way early on.
Let's give Fox a chance. That's the real point of this post. Let's get behind the program and stay there. Georgia basketball opens its season tonight.