Athletic director vows to back Richt's moves

ATHENS, Ga. --- If Georgia coach Mark Richt decides to make changes to his coaching staff, athletic director Damon Evans said he's willing to be "competitive" to attract top candidates.

"I'll continue to assess things and try to do my best to make sure we're competitive whether it's from a salary standpoint, contractual standpoint or what have you," Evans said. "I believe for the most part we've done that.

"Has the paradigm maybe shifted a little bit? I'm sure it has."

Evans said Monday he is unaware of any timeline that Richt might be considering before deciding on staff changes after a 7-5 regular season, the worst in Richt's nine years in Athens.

Georgia ranks sixth in the 12-team Southeastern Conference in assistant coach salaries at $2.029 million, according to a survey by USA Today . The survey didn't include Vanderbilt, a private institution that did not release its salaries.

Tennessee ($3.325 million), LSU ($2.725 million), and Alabama ($2.702) are the top three, followed by Auburn ($2.560) and Arkansas ($2.034). Top-ranked Florida is just below Georgia at $1.965 million.

Multiyear contracts have become more common for coordinators, but all Georgia assistants work under one-year contracts. Former defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder, who had a three-year contract, was the last Bulldogs assistant to have a multiyear deal.

The future of Georgia's defensive coordinator, Willie Martinez, has been the most common source of speculation.

After Saturday's 30-24 win over Georgia Tech, Richt said, "I know we've got some areas to improve, but right now I'm just going to enjoy this victory."

Evans said he leaves staff decisions to Richt.

"His staff, that's Mark's call," Evans said.

Evans and Richt meet after each season to talk about the program, but they also talk throughout the season.

Reach Marc Weiszer at marc.weiszer@morris.com.

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