Georgia Bulldogs AD Greg McGarity to retire at end of year

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, who has managed the athletics department for a decade, will retire at the end of the year, the school announced on Monday.

Josh Brooks, the senior deputy AD, will serve as interim AD effective Jan. 1 while a national search for McGarity's successor takes place.

"I want to thank president [Jere] Morehead for all of his support and guidance over the years," McGarity said in a statement. "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."

McGarity, 66, has mulled retirement for the past two years. He has worked on one-year contracts each of the past two years, after his previous contract expired in 2018.

A former Georgia tennis player, McGarity was hired to replace Damon Evans in August 2010. He had worked the previous 16 years as a senior associate AD at Florida.

At Georgia, McGarity oversaw an annual budget that has grown to more than $120 million and spearheaded more than $200 million in facilities construction, expansions and renovations. During the 2019 fiscal year, the Georgia Bulldog Club raised a record $64.9 million in gifts and pledges to support athletics.

"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," Morehead said in a statement. "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 will be most remembered for making the controversial decision to fire longtime football coach Mark Richt after the 2015 season. McGarity hired then-Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, a former Georgia safety, to replace Richt. Smart guided the Bulldogs to a 13-2 record, Rose Bowl victory and appearance in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game in his second season in 2017. Georgia won the SEC East in three straight seasons from 2017 to 2019 and an SEC title in 2017.

Brooks is expected to be considered for the job, according to sources. Virginia athletic director Carla Williams, former Georgia letterman and sports marketing executive Chris Welton, UAB's Mark Ingram and UCF's Danny White also might be candidates.