UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity set to retire
ATHENS, Ga. – University of Georgia J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity will retire on December 31, 2020, following 10 years of service as the UGA Athletic Association’s top administrator.
“First and foremost, on behalf of the entire Bulldog Nation, I want to express my deepest gratitude to Greg for his outstanding service to the University of Georgia,” said President Jere W. Morehead. “While I had hoped Greg would continue to serve as our Athletic Director for a few more years, I understand and appreciate his and Sheryl’s decision to begin a new chapter in their lives. Greg will leave behind a strong legacy of leadership and devotion to his alma mater, having further elevated our athletic program on the national stage. I have particularly appreciated the extraordinary leadership Greg has provided during the pandemic. His calm and steady voice will be missed here and in SEC meetings.”
McGarity was a letterman on the 1973 Bulldog tennis team and began his career in athletics administration at UGA in 1977. He rose through the ranks to become Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Event Management in 1988. In 1992, McGarity joined the University of Florida, where he held several senior leadership roles in athletics before returning to UGA in 2010 as Athletic Director.
“I want to thank President Morehead for all of his support and guidance over the years,” said McGarity. “I step down knowing that our Athletic Association is in great hands under his strong leadership. To our coaches, athletic staff, and student-athletes—you have made the last decade the very best of my career, and I thank you for your dedication to excellence in athletics. You are the heart and soul of our program, and it has truly been an honor to serve alongside you as athletic director. Finally, my thanks to our alumni, donors, and fans for your unyielding support of Georgia athletics. There is no better fan base in college sports than the Bulldog Nation.”
Under McGarity’s tenure, the visibility and operations of UGA’s 21-sport athletic program have grown significantly. The annual budget of the Athletic Association has increased from $89 million in 2010 to $153 million today, and McGarity has overseen more than $200 million in facility improvements.
“Greg McGarity is one the most respected athletic directors in the Southeastern Conference,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, “and I have relied on him regularly for advice and counsel over the years. I wish Greg and Sheryl the very best on this exciting next step. Given President Morehead’s leadership roles and deep engagement in the SEC and NCAA, I am confident he will select a highly-qualified successor to lead UGA’s athletic program forward.”
Morehead serves as Vice President of the SEC and is a member of the NCAA Board of Governors and the NCAA Division I Board of Directors.
Morehead has named Josh Brooks, currently serving as Senior Deputy Director of Athletics, as the Interim Director of Athletics, effective January 1. Morehead also has tapped Darrice Griffin, currently serving as a Deputy Director of Athletics, to serve as the Interim Senior Deputy Director of Athletics, effective January 1. “I have great confidence in the abilities and skills of Josh and Darrice to provide effective leadership for our athletic program while this search process is underway,” Morehead stated. “Both individuals are highly respected within the Georgia Athletic Association and throughout intercollegiate athletics.”
Morehead has appointed an advisory committee to assist him in identifying UGA’s next athletic director. Kessel Stelling, who serves as Chairman and CEO of Synovus and a member of both the University System of Georgia (USG) Board of Regents and the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors, will chair the committee. Other committee members include:
- Paige Carmichael, Meigs Professor of Veterinary Pathology and member of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors;
- Darrice Griffin, UGA Athletic Association Deputy Athletic Director for Administration;
- Mack Guest, Co-founder and President of LAD Truck Lines, President of the UGA Football Lettermen’s Club, and Emeritus Member of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors;
- Sam Holmes, Vice Chairman of CBRE, Inc., member of the USG Board of Regents, and former Chairman of both the UGA Foundation and the UGA Real Estate Foundation;
- Kearis Jackson, UGA football student-athlete and member of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors;
- Steve Jones, United States District Court Judge, member of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors, a UGA Foundation Trustee, and former President of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors;
- Swann Seiler, Manager of External Affairs, Southeast Region, at Georgia Power, Emeritus Trustee of the UGA Foundation, Emeritus Member of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors, and former President of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors;
- David Shipley, Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Law, Faculty Athletics Representative and Secretary of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors, and Chair of the Executive Committee of University Council;
- Bonney Shuman, Co-founder and retired CEO of Stratix Corporation, UGA Foundation Treasurer, former member of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors, and former President of the UGA Alumni Association Board of Directors; and
- Bill Young, Partner at General Wholesale Company, member of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors, and former Chairman of the UGA Foundation.
“We have some highly qualified administrators at UGA who are ready and able to take on this role,” said Morehead, “and the advisory committee knows that to be true. However, the committee also will be free to consider sitting athletic directors at other major universities who have significant experience managing college athletic programs. I have asked the committee to move with deliberate speed to ensure a successor is in place and ready to lead in the near future.”
Morehead noted that the role of the athletic director at a major university has evolved substantially in recent years: “Hiring outstanding coaches—while important—is just one part of the role today,” Morehead said. “In this day and age, an AD at a place like UGA must be able to negotiate media rights and complex contracts; raise private support; finance and lead major capital projects; promote the health, wellness, and academic success of our student-athletes; and work closely with the NCAA and SEC on a variety of difficult issues, such as name, image, and likeness. These responsibilities require someone with a broad skill set and background to effectively partner with me in continuing to advance our athletic program.”
McGarity’s Career Achievements
McGarity reflected on his long career in athletics administration: “What a life in college athletics it has been,” McGarity said. “It has been a magical journey that borders on the unimaginable. But after this 43-year ride, it is time for Sheryl and me to move forward into the future. We are forever grateful to have been surrounded by so many wonderful people during our 25 years at Georgia and our 18 years at Florida. Life is full of chapters, and I feel like this chapter is complete.”
During his time as Athletic Director at UGA, McGarity has led numerous facility expansion and renovation projects—ranging from the William Porter Payne and Porter Otis Payne Indoor Athletic Facility and the Sanford Stadium West End Zone project to major renovations at Foley Field, Stegeman Coliseum, Henry Feild Tennis Stadium, Turner Soccer Complex, Boyd Golf Center, and the Equestrian Complex. A major $80 million expansion of Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall is now underway with expected completion in Spring 2021.
In addition, under McGarity’s leadership athletics fundraising has reached unprecedented heights. During the 2019 fiscal year, the Georgia Bulldog Club raised a record $64.9 million in gifts and pledges to support UGA athletics.
McGarity launched a new philanthropic initiative in 2015, called the Magill Society, which currently includes more than 1,255 members who have contributed over $153 million to support athletic facility projects. McGarity has grown the scholarship endowment to more than $40 million and raised funds to endow five coaching and administrative positions.
Over the past ten years, UGA sports teams have won multiple national and conference championships. Recent national championships include women’s indoor tennis (2019), women’s indoor track and field (2018), men’s outdoor track and field (2018), women’s swimming and diving (2013, 2014, and 2016), and equestrian (2014). The 2017 football team won the SEC championship and the Rose Bowl and competed in the College Football Playoff national title game. Since 2010, the football team has won five SEC eastern division titles (2011, 2012, 2017, 2018, and 2019).
McGarity also has focused on elevating academic support for student-athletes. Since he arrived, UGA student-athletes have received 22 NCAA Post Graduate Scholarships, 36 CoSIDA Academic All-American Awards (including 16 first team awards), three Boyd McWhorter SEC Scholar-Athletes of the Year, and two SEC Brad Davis Community Service Awards.
McGarity is married to the former Sheryl Holland, a 1976 graduate from UGA. They have one son, Alex, who is a graduate of UGA and the University of Florida.
Information on Brooks and Griffin
Brooks joined the Georgia staff in December 2016 as Executive Associate Director of Athletics after serving as Deputy Athletics Director at the University of Louisiana Monroe from 2015-2016. He was promoted to UGA Deputy Athletic Director in May 2018 and Senior Deputy Athletic Director in January 2020. A native of Hammond, La., he previously held positions as Director of Athletics at Millsaps College (2014-2015) and Assistant and Associate Director of Athletics for Internal Operations at UGA during his first tenure in Athens (2012-2014).
A native of Seagraves, Texas, Griffin joined the Georgia athletics staff in December 2017 as Deputy Director of Administration. She previously held administrative roles at the University of Massachusetts, where she was Senior Woman Administrator from 2015-2017, and at Columbia University, where she was Associate Athletics Director for Intercollegiate Sports Programs from 2012-2015.