Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity summed up the 2016-2017 athletic year in one word during a speech for the Rotary Club of Athens at Holiday Inn Wednesday.
“I don’t look back too often, but sometimes you have to look back to see what you can improve and really, I thought this was the year of almost,” McGarity said.
He pointed to football — the close wins over Missouri and Kentucky and the close losses. He mentioned the close contests in men’s basketball. Second place finishes nationally in women’s track and field and equestrian, and top four finishes in indoor track and men’s tennis.
Close. But not quite there.
“We were so close, but I really, truly now feel this is the year we’re going to get over that hump, because we have so many good things in place and we’ve got a lot of momentum building in our program, inside our world,” McGarity said.
McGarity spoke for about 15 minutes Wednesday, including an anecdote about the parent of a volleyball recruit who visited campus.
“We’re attracting young people, but the one thing that dad wanted to know is how are you going to take care of my daughter being a long way away? What are you going to do,” McGarity said.
They went through what Georgia has to offer, including the services offered to student-athletes and the proximity to Atlanta.
“Facilities aren’t the bottom line,” McGarity said. “Facilities are important, but folks, I’m going to tell you this right now, it’s all about the people.”
But facilities did come up during the question-and-answer section.
Georgia is already scouting locations for a new indoor tennis facility, McGarity said.
“Right now we are in the process of really looking at three different locations to be able to site a building where we can have six indoor courts,” he said. “And we’re going through that process to be able to land on a final resting spot for that, which we should be able to identify in the next 90 days or so.”