University of Georgia Names New Athletic DirectorATHENS, Ga.
The University of Georgia hired Damon Evans as its athletic director last month, the first Black person to hold that job in the Southeastern Conference.
Evans, 34, will take the position of his mentor, Vince Dooley, who is being forced out of the athletic director job and will retire in June.
Currently the senior associate athletic director for internal affairs under Dooley, Evans will become the youngest athletic director in the SEC. His promotion from within the athletic department follows months of controversy since school President Michael Adams refused to renew Dooley’s contract.
Evans was, “clearly the best candidate for the University of Georgia,” Adams said. “I already value him.”
The SEC has been criticized for the pace of its minority hiring. Now, the appointment of Evans comes less than three weeks after the first Black football coach in the SEC was hired — Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State (see Black Issues, Dec. 18, 2003).
Evans, from Gainesville, played football for UGA from 1988 to 1992, an era that included Dooley’s final season as head coach. He worked at the University of Missouri and the SEC office before returning to UGA.
The choice may pacify Dooley’s loyalists who are upset that he was essentially forced into retirement. Dooley groomed Evans for the job but had hoped to work a few more years.
“I think it’s the right decision,” Dooley said. “It’s a wise decision, a very wise decision.”
UGA football great Herschel Walker, who resigned from a fund-raising committee because of the way Dooley was treated, lauded the hiring of Evans, particularly because of his ties to the school.
“Damon is no doubt right for this job,” he said. “It’s a super decision, but the decision against coach Dooley is still wrong. You can’t say this makes up for it.”
— Associated Press
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