The Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors, at its end-of-the-year retreat on St. Simons Island on Thursday, unveiled details on the proposed multimillion-dollar indoor practice facility, which is due to undergo construction in January 2016.
Dubbed the “Indoor Athletic Facility” because it will be utilized by the baseball and track teams as well as football, Athletic Director Greg McGarity informed the board that the preferred plan now is to adjoin the building to the northeast corner of the Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall and extend it out northward alongside Rutherford Drive to the far end of the current grass practice fields. Further information about the plan and funding for the project — estimated to cost about $30 million — are expected to be presented at the fall meeting of the board, McGarity said.
The board also voted for a contract extension and raise for basketball coach Mark Fox at the meeting, held at the historic King & Prince Resort hotel, and approved a $5 increase in football ticket prices. That will produce $2.3 million more in ticket revenue, which projects at $24.9 million for the next fiscal year. All other UGA sports bring in $1.3 million,” McGarity said.
Fox, 46, received a two-year contract extension that will pay him as the Bulldogs’ coach through the 2019-20 season. He will now make $2 million a year — which represents a $300,000 increase — and will $150,000 per year longevity bonus which he would collect at the end of the 2020 season.
Fox is 106-89 with end Bulldogs and is entering his seventh season as coach. He led Georgia (21-12) to the NCAA tournament this past season as the Bulldogs finished among the top three in the SEC for the second consecutive season. Under Fox’s watch, UGA has recorded back-to-back 20-win seasons for just the second time in school history and the 13th time overall and reached postseason play in consecutive seasons.
It’s the second consecutive year Fox received a contract extension from UGA. He also accepted one after the 2013-14 season but didn’t actually sign the contract for that deal, which paid him $1.7 million, until March. According to a recent survey conducted by the Gainesville Sun, Fox had fallen to 11th among the 14 SEC basketball coaches in compensation.
The board also approved a two-year contract extension for McGarity, which will pay him as Georgia’s director of athletics through June 30, 2019. McGarity has made $500,000 a year since 2012 as the athletic association’s chief executive.
Former UGA and New Orleans Saints football player Jon Stinchcomb and Judge Lisa Wood of Brunswick were also nominated and approved as new members of the board. They will replace Swann Seiler of Savannah and Mack Guest of Athens, who roll off after this year but will remain as emeritus members.
Also, David Shipley, UGA’s faculty athletics representative, informed the board the Bulldogs’ student-athletes achieved a 3.06 grade-point average for spring semester. That was he highest GPA on record for one semester, according to Shipley, and represents the fifth consecutive semester the overall GPA of all student-athletes has been 3.0 or better.
Shipley also noted that two UGA student-athletes will be honored with the highest SEC awards during next week’s league meetings. Swimmer Maddie Locus will receive the H. Boyd McWhorter Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor while football player Chris Conley will be the recipient of the Brad Davis Award for outstanding community service.
Deputy Director of Athletics Carla Williams informed the board about several student wellness initiatives being implemented. She said the Bulldogs will take advantage of cost-of-attendance legislation to maximize food allowances in addition to supplementing scholarships financially. In addition, she said UGA is introducing programs to assist student-athletes in addressing financial literacy, personal responsibility and career management.