Evans out at UGA

University expected to make it official today
Damon Evans speaks during a news conference in Athens, Ga, Thursday, July 1, 2010. A state trooper pulled Evans over late Wednesday night for driving erratically. Police said Evans smelled of alcohol and was given a field sobriety test. He was taken to Atlanta's city jail on charges of DUI and failure to maintain a lane.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Damon Evans is out as the University of Georgia's athletic director, according to sources close to the UGA athletic department.


Official word could come this morning, when the executive committee of the UGA Athletic Asso­ciation scheduled a called teleconference meeting on Evans' status.


Evans met Sunday with Ed Tolley, a lawyer who represents UGA . Tolley declined comment on the substance of the meeting.


The meeting comes after days of speculation over whether Evans, 40, should remain in his high-profile job after his arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol Wednesday night in Atlanta.


The athletic association is the nonprofit corporation that runs UGA's lucrative intercollegiate athletic program, and UGA President Michael Adams is the chairman of the corporation's board and its executive committee. Although Evans is a UGA employee, his contract is between him and the athletic association, whose board approves contracts for the association's top employees.


At stake in today's meeting is some part of Evans' new multimillion-dollar contract with the athletic department, which took effect Thursday, just minutes after his arrest.


The new five-year contract, approved by the athletic association board in February, gave Evans a $110,000 raise to $550,000 per year, plus automatic annual raises and longevity bonuses.


The contract calls for Evans to "act at all times in a manner consistent with good sportsmanship and with the appropriate moral, ethical and academic standards of the university."


The contract also says Evans can be fired if he fails to correct lapses in carrying out his duties after written notice from the UGA president notifying him of such shortcomings.


Language in the contract also spells out that Evans can be fired if he is convicted of a felony
crime or a crime of moral turpitude.


Evans apologized for his actions at a Thursday news conference, and said he wanted to keep his job.


"To all the people out there in Bulldog Land, it's going to take a while for me to win your trust back, and it should. And I don't know if I ever will," said Evans, who has a wife and two children. "But what I can say is, I will do everything in my power to make you believe in me once again."


Some in the Bulldog nation were willing to give Evans a second chance, but that was before details of the arrest emerged.


Possible candidates to replace Evans on an interim or permanent basis include Carla Williams, senior associate athletic director; Frank Crumley, executive associate athletic director; and Claude Felton, associate athletic director for sports communications.


Greg McGarity, a Georgia grad­uate and Florida's executive senior associate athletic director, was a candidate when Evans was hired and again could be in the running to be named AD permanently.


A Gainesville native, Evans played football at UGA and returned to Athens in 1998 as associate athletic director under then-athletic director Vince Dooley.


When Adams refused to renew Dooley's contract, Evans took over the AD job in 2004 at the age of 34. Evans is still one of the nation's youngest athletic directors. Before Dooley left, he recommended to Adams that Evans be named AD to succeed him.


As athletic director, Evans oversees a program of 21 NCAA sports, more than 200 staff members and a budget of nearly $85 million.
In terms of profitability, UGA has consistently ranked among the top four or five athletic departments in the nation under Evans' leadership.


But UGA ranked only 20th in overall athletic success last year, according to a nationwide ranking called the Director's Cup, the lowest ranking since 1997, when UGA was 28th.


Evans is only the fourth AD since 1963, following Joel Eaves, Reid Parker and Dooley.

HIS ARREST

University of Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans, a 40-year-old married father of two, was arrested Wednesday in Atlanta and charged with driving under the influence and failure to maintain his lane. He refused a field sobriety test. Evans' passenger, 28-year-old Lakeside High graduate Courtney Fuhrmann, was charged with disorderly conduct.


DEVELOPMENTS


- On Thursday, Evans publicly apologized to his family, Bulldogs fans and university administrators. "I do feel like my actions have put a black cloud over our storied program," Evans said. University President Michael Adams released a statement but gave little clue about the rep ercussions of Evans' actions.
- The police report released Friday revealed Evans pleaded with a Georgia State Patrol officer not to arrest him: "I am not trying to bribe you," he said, "but is there anything you can do without arresting me?"
what's next: A statement by the school announcing Evans is out as athletic director is expected this morning after a meeting of the athletic association's board of directors executive committee.

- From wire reports

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