The University of Georgia will be looking for a new director of athletics, a shocking statement considering they had one of the youngest and brightest stars in that field. When Damon Evans was promoted from senior associate AD to the top spot in UGA athletics, the move didn’t come without controversy. Without going into a long, detailed explanation, suffice to say that when president Michael Adams forced the highly popular (ex-football coach) Vince Dooley out as AD, many in Athens were upset.
Damon Evans was a rising star, a former football player for the Bulldogs who had received his undergraduate and masters degrees from UGA and worked in the SEC office. A good-looking alum who stayed physically fit, he seemed like the perfect replacement for Dooley (if there was such an animal to some of their zealous boosters).
Only Evans did what, during another era, might have been overlooked or covered up. He got caught drinking and driving. The list of past DUI’s by coaches, players and, even athletics directors, that were ignored a decade or more ago would be shocking - if it were ever released. But we’re not living in the 20th century any longer. If anyone doesn’t understand that, google “Tiger Woods” and, while that search used to be 99% golf stories, that number is significantly lower now.
Evans indiscretion wasn’t only about the DUI though. In the passenger seat was a 28-year-old woman who not his wife, and she was apparently intoxicated and a little too rambunctious for the officers’ taste. Also found in the car were the young lady’s panties - on Evans’ lap. No wonder he mentioned on several occasions to the officers that was the AD at Georgia. To his credit, unlike many in a high profile job, he low-keyed the comment, more like “Please don’t arrest me; I’m the AD at UGA” and not the popular “Do you know who I am!” that many celebs employ. It was also reported that, upon being arrested, Evans broke down and cried.
His reaction shows that Damon Evans, even in an inebriated state, was aware that someone whose salary is $550,000/year and is in charge of an organization that announced a reported $85 million in revenues and employs 250 people can’t have its leader driving under the influence. Nor can that leader survive a scandal of the magnitude of this one.
From all indications Damon Evans is a bright young man who made a few dreadful and dangerous decisions. Yet, although I’ve never met him, I believe he will once again become a contributing member of society. His star shone too brightly. However, he just became the latest example of Stephen Covey’s now, all-too-pertinent line:
“You can’t talk yourself out of problems you behave yourself into.”