ATHENS — University of Georgia president Michael Adams named Frank Crumley to serve as the school’s interim athletics director in the wake of Damon Evans’ resignation.
Crumley, who has served as an associate athletics director since 2004, will head the department while a search committee comprised of Georgia officials begins the search process for a full-time athletics director, Adams announced at a news conference Tuesday.
Evans resigned Sunday four days after his DUI arrest Wednesday. Adams stated that he had hoped for long-term stability within the athletics program under Evans.
“It’s clearly been one of the most difficult times I’ve been through,” Adams said. “I’ve said it before, and it’s still true: I care deeply about Damon and his family. The tragedy of all of this is the terrific job he’s done over the last six years and all the contributions made and the abilities that he brought to this task. I regret deeply the closure and the kind of closure this relationship had, but once I learned all the facts, I felt like there was no choice in my role to do what’s best for the university.”
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Adams said he did not ask for a resignation, but Evans chose to turn one in after a meeting with Adams.
“What troubles me the most is the loss of potential here,” Adams said. “And as I said already, I think like in most of these cases it ultimately boils down to judgment.”
Adams said he had no evidence of any prior incidents occurring with Evans.
“People at this level you hear rumors, but I don’t deal in rumors,” Adams said. “You just get to dealing in rumor mongering. I had no evidence of any kind of conduct like this.”
There was some “back-and-forth,” in negations of the $237,500 settlement Evans received, according to Adams.
“I didn’t think it needed to be too generous under the circumstances,” Adams said. “At the same time this is a person who has been with us 12 years of his life, has made a number of very important contributions, and he has two degrees from here, and he’s one of us. That matters to me.”
Crumley has been an employee at Georgia since 1991, having graduated with two degrees from the university.
“Well, I think we’re going to continue to do what we were doing before, which I think we have a great senior staff, great coaches; the entire athletic department is good,” Crumley said. “We’re going to continue doing what we were doing — focusing on the student-athletes.”
Crumley said he and Evans have been close friends, having worked together for 12 years. Crumley said he and Evans will, “always be my friend” but added Evans’ actions came as a personal blow.
“I think we’re still in shock,” Crumley said. “It surprised us because it was not characteristic of the Damon I knew. So I think we’re dealing with that. We’re still processing. It was less than a week ago and everybody’s lives changed just a little bit.”
Adams and Crumley met with the coaches and senior staff for the first time Tuesday afternoon to discuss the future of the program. Adams stressed there was no reason for any coach to worry about job security or the direction of the athletics department.
“My message to them will be that I have great confidence in them and their ability to continue to move things forward, that we have all been reminded of the way people love this university, love this athletic program, and that is a sacred trust that we are all merely stewards of, and we need to make sure that in every decision that we make and in every thing that we do we have the ultimate best interest of the university,” Adams said.
David Shipley will head the search committee comprised by Adams. Shipley, a former Dean of Georgia’s school of law, is now the faculty athletic representative and has also served as the university council representative to the athletic board.
“We’ll gather as a committee and talk about logistics,” Shipley said. “We’ll find out what sort of administrative support we’re going to have, talk with the HR people about job description, the advertising — things like that. I suppose once we get it all out there I agree with what the president said; we ought to have a superb pool of candidates.”
In total, there are six members on the committee, including swim coach Jack Bauerle, vice president of external affairs Tom Landrum and assistant athletics director Carla Williams.
Adams asked the committee to, “move expeditiously on this important task” but added there was no timetable for the hire. Adams gave a range of six to 12 months, saying he would not be surprised if the search lasted less than or longer than six months.
Adams did not rule out hiring from within but said he first wanted to look at candidates currently outside the program.
Crumley and Williams are believed to be two internal candidates for the job, but both downplayed their hope to obtain the position.
“That’s not my focus right now,” Williams said. “My focus is on the task that’s been given to me, that’s to assist Dr. Adams in finding the next athletic director. So I’m looking forward to that.”
Adams said he has developed an extensive network of connections in his time at Georgia, ranging from contacts in the SEC and the NCAA.
“I’m looking for a person with a high level of experience in the business of athletics,” Adams said. “I’m looking for a person who understands and appreciates athletics at this level. As always I’m looking for a person of integrity and a person of supreme abilities. I think we will get that person. This is one of the five or six best AD jobs in America in my opinion and I can assure there is no shortage of candidates.”