Georgia has decided to decline any potential berth to a postseason tournament, former head coach Mark Fox revealed during a news conference Sunday afternoon.
When Fox met with his players about his firing Saturday, they discussed the possibility of him coaching the team through the NIT if the Bulldogs were to receive a berth. Senior forward Yante Maten then called a players' only meeting, with the decision made to decline a bid if one is extended. The CBI tournament would have also been a postseason possibility for the Bulldogs.
"I’ll be honest with you, the team, the players, have elected they will not do that," Fox said. "I told them if they wanted me to coach, I would coach. If they don’t want me to coach, I wouldn’t coach. Yante asked me to leave the room and they had a meeting. They elected not to participate in that, which is obviously their decision."
This means Georgia's season will end at 18-15 overall following its quarterfinal loss to Kentucky in the SEC Tournament.
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Fox was fired Saturday after nine seasons as Georgia's head coach. Throughout his tenure, the Bulldogs made the NCAA Tournament two times. Ending the 2017-18 season 12th in the SEC, Georgia missed the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive season, which was a big part of why athletics director Greg McGarity decided to fire Fox.
Fox was asked why, in a season that began with great expectations, that his team was unable to win as many games as it needed to earn NCAA Tournament consideration.
"I think that the strength of the league was tremendous this year," Fox said. "I thought we were going to finish the year with a number of quality wins. But the depth of the league was tremendous. We were not the offensive team this year that we needed to be."
Georgia ranked dead last in the SEC in scoring at 68.2 points per game. The Bulldogs were the only team in the conference to average less than 70 points per outing. Meanwhile, the Bulldogs were tough on the defensive end by holding opponents to an average of 66.1 points per game, which was good for second-best in the SEC.
Fox spent nine seasons at Georgia but began to encounter what seemed to be an almost yearly review of his job security.
Now that he is no longer Georgia's head coach, Fox revealed when he first felt like his job security was no longer on solid footing.
"Honestly, March 2014," Fox said. "I felt like from that point forward I wasn’t secure as I ever wanted to be. That comes with the territory, and we tried the best to enhance the tradition of this place and do it the right way. At the end of the day, we didn’t win enough games in their mind."
Fox was emotional at times during his final news conference on Georgia's campus. Fox fought back tears when thanking his family and the former players he coached. Fox also seemed to hint that he had concerns as for whether McGarity truly bought into him as a head coach.
Twice, Fox mentioned that McGarity needed to form a "partnership" with the men's basketball coach to help develop and maintain the program.
"That’s probably one where we agree to disagree (on a partnership)," Fox said. "He asked me if there was something I could tell him to help moving forward, and I just told him that you need to have a partnership with somebody. I don’t have any ill-will towards anybody, I really don’t, but I think that’s important for this program to take the next step."