A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The end of a sad tale in Athens
The announcement by Michael Adams came after a conference call with the executive committee of the athletic association’s board of directors Monday.
Adams said Evans resigned Sunday, less than a week after Evans was arrested on a DUI charge.
Evans released a statement Monday in which he offered “my sincerest apology” to Adams, Georgia officials, coaches, fans and student-athletes. Evans was 34 when he was chosen athletic director in 2004.
“It had been my hope since taking the job in 2004 that I would have a long career at UGA,” Evans said. “But because of a serious mistake in judgment, that won’t be the case and I understand that I have a long road to rebuilding my reputation and career.”
Adams read a statement and said he will have no other comment until Tuesday.
Evans was arrested late Wednesday in Atlanta. He was charged with DUI and failure to maintain a lane. Also arrested with him was Courtney Fuhrmann, who was charged with disorderly conduct.
Evans said Thursday Fuhrmann is “just a friend.” According to the incident report, the arresting officer said Fuhrmann told him she had been seeing Evans for “only a week or so.”
Evans and his wife, Kerri, have two children. He apologized to his wife Thursday as she attended his news conference. Evans became the SEC’s first black athletic director in 2004.
There was no immediate word on a replacement.
Adams said Evans, whose raise to a $550,000 annual salary took effect at about the same time as his arrest, will be paid three months salary as severance.
Evans also will receive $100,000 he has earned as a longevity bonus.
“We acknowledge the many positive accomplishments of his tenure, including an increased focus on the academic success of student-athletes, the overall financial strength of the athletic department and the hiring of many very good people as head coaches and senior leaders in the athletic department,” Adams said, reading from a statement.
Despite those accomplishments, Evans’ arrest caused damage to his reputation that led to the resignation.
“As I said on Thursday morning, when I first learned of the situation, this is not an example of the kind of leadership that I expect our senior administrators to set,” Adams said. “I have high regard for Damon personally; I care deeply about him and his family.”
Adams chose Evans as AD after the president refused to extend Vince Dooley’s contract.
Possible candidates to replace Evans from the Georgia staff include associate ADs Frank Crumley, Arthur Johnson and Claude Felton and senior associate AD Carla Williams.
At his news conference Thursday, Evans said he “failed miserably” as a leader and representative of Georgia.
At that time, Evans said he hoped to save his job. Details from the Georgia State Patrol’s incident report from the arrest added even more embarrassment.
According to the report, Evans attempted to influence the arresting officer, identified in the report as M. Cabe, by telling the officer he was Georgia’s athletic director.
According to the report, Evans said: “I am not trying to bribe you, but is there anything you can do without arresting me?”
Cabe said that Evans asked to be taken to a motel instead of jail or to be let off with a warning. The officer noted that Evans was found with a “red pair of lady’s panties between his legs.”
Evans was the public face of the school’s athletic department in many venues, including at home football games at Sanford Stadium. Before each game, his taped video message was played as he urged fans not to drink and drive.
“If you drink and drive, you lose,” Evans said in the video message.