GREENSBORO -- The Georgia baseball team is still on the bubble for the NCAA tournament, but its head coach is not on the bubble for 2013.
Head coach David Perno will return for a 12th season, athletics director Greg McGarity said Thursday. The recent struggles of the Bulldogs, including four straight losses to possibly end this season, have led to much debate among fans.
But McGarity, without even being directly asked about Pernos status, squelched any more speculation.
Dave will be back next year, McGarity said, during a break from the UGA athletic board meetings at Lake Oconee. Its not even an issue.
McGarity pointed out that Perno has had to deal with a number of off-field issues, specifically two players (Chance Veazey and Jonathan Taylor) being paralyzed. But on the field, McGarity also pointed to Georgias SEC record, saying that with the exception of powerful South Carolina, Florida and Vanderbilt, the Bulldogs are in the mix with the next tier.
So three schools have kind of separated themselves the last two years. And there are about five or six of us that are around .500, McGarity said.
This year, Georgia is 31-26 and on Wednesday exited the SEC tournament after losses to Vanderbilt and Auburn.
Perno, 43, is finishing his 11th year as Georgias head coach. He has guided the Bulldogs to three College World Series, including the final in 2008.
McGarity would not say that 2013 would be a critical year for Perno.
Every year is critical, he said. Every year is crucial. Theres not one year thats more critical than others.
Foley Field to be renovated
The board voted for an upgrade to Foley Field that will cost $1.35 million. The improvements include basically everything: The press box, the main entrance, ticket booth, dugouts, locker rooms and lounge, training room and batting cages, and other aspects of the field.
In addition, the current outfield trees will be replaced due to age.
McGarity said this is part of a long-term plan to spend $10 million on a renovation of Foley Field. Georgia will attempt to raise $5 million by itself, then come back to the board to ask for whatever else is needed.
There will also be $1.006 million spent to upgrade the scoreboards at the baseball, softball and soccer fields.
And there will be $375,000 spent to improve Gate 10 at Sanford Stadium. That gate is at the end of the pregame Dawg Walk, which is near the Tate Center lots.
Student tickets tweaked
Out of concern over a lack of student turnout at football games, a series of changes will be made this fall. Chief among them is freshmen -- who are seen as more eager to attend games -- will be given priority.
That provision was added to an original list of six proposed changes to the student ticket policy. It came after a spirited debate among the board members, and president Michael Adams, who was blunt in his assessment of student turnout.
In all candor, the students have not held up their end of the bargain, Adams said.