UGA coach Martinez, two others lose jobs

Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 3:39 PM
Last updated 4:42 PM
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Three members of Georgia’s defensive coaching staff – including defensive coordinator Willie Martinez – are out after the Bulldogs completed their worst regular season since Mark Richt became head coach in 2001.

Also out are defensive ends coach Jon Fabris and linebackers coach John Jancek after the Bulldogs (7-5) allowed 26.4 points per game this season – just shy of the school record of 26.6 points per game set in 1990.

All three have been asked to coach in Georgia’s upcoming bowl game.

Reached by cell phone Wednesday afternoon, Georgia coach Mark Richt declined to comment, but later released a statement through the university.

“I cannot express enough my thanks to all three for their contributions to our program,” Richt said. “However, in the final analysis I’m charged with providing the leadership and direction for the Georgia program and sometimes that means making difficult decisions. This was one of them.”

Georgia’s players learned the news during a 10-minute team meeting at 4 p.m. at Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall, less than a half hour after the school announced the firings.

When they emerged, fifth-year defensive tackle Jeff Owens had a one-word reaction intitally.

“Bummer,” Owens said. “You need to talk to some of the young guys. The young guys, it really affects.”

There has been speculation about possible coaching changes for weeks. Still, Owens said, “Yeah, I was surprised. You love the coaches. First of all, you play hard for them, give it all you’ve got.”

Sophomore linebacker Marcus Dowtin, who was heading into the locker room before a weight room workout, said “I don't have no reaction to it. I’m looking forward to the next coach, I guess.”

A Georgia sports communications staffer then requested that reporters leave the first-floor lobby area.

Martinez, 46, has been a common target of angry Georgia fans’ wrath in the past two seasons, when the Bulldogs surrendered 37 or more points nine times after giving up that many points just twice in Richt’s first seven seasons.

Martinez and Richt were former teammates at the University of Miami. Richt hired Martinez on his first Georgia staff in 2001 and he spent his first four seasons as the Bulldogs’ defensive backs coach.

Fabris was also a member of Richt’s first Georgia staff, coaching defensive ends and coordinating some of the Bulldogs’ special teams units. He also drew fire in recent seasons for some of the kickoff coverage strategies he employed.

Jancek joined Georgia’s staff in 2005 and was named co-defensive coordinator before this season after turning down a coordinator position at South Florida.

Georgia won the 2005 Southeastern Conference championship in Martinez’s first season as coordinator and finished No. 2 in the final poll in 2007, but Georgia’s defense has slipped every season since he was quickly promoted after VanGorder left to coach in the NFL.

Georgia finished in the top 20 in scoring defense and total defense from 2005-2007, but was 59th in 2008 and is 71st this season.

The Bulldogs are tied for fewest turnovers gained among Football Bowl Subdivision teams with 10. But Georgia’s offense has made the defense’s job tougher by committing 27 turnovers, 20 in Georgia territory, which led to 105 points.

“As I look back, I’ve never had a season where the turnover ratio was just so poor,” Richt said after Saturday’s win over Georgia Tech. “If you just take that one thing and maybe just break even, we probably win two or three more games without changing just one thing, but you can’t do that. There are definitely things that we need to correct, but I think everything’s correctable.”

Comments (20) Add comment
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smartie
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smartie 12/02/09 - 03:44 pm
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well, i can only hope that

well, i can only hope that this was the right decision. fabris has been there a long time. either way. GO DAWGS! sic'em!

WiiTodd
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WiiTodd 12/02/09 - 03:46 pm
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No, y'all can't have Charlie

No, y'all can't have Charlie Strong.

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 12/02/09 - 03:49 pm
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Charlie Strong is in the

Charlie Strong is in the running for the Louisville job.

gnumbgnuts
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gnumbgnuts 12/02/09 - 03:50 pm
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Maybe the circus or the rodeo

Maybe the circus or the rodeo is hiring.

roundaboutway
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roundaboutway 12/02/09 - 03:50 pm
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Bon voyage Willie!!

Bon voyage Willie!!

WiiTodd
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WiiTodd 12/02/09 - 03:52 pm
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Charlie Strong is certainly

Charlie Strong is certainly overdue for a head coach job, just not in the SEC East please.

BRANDIE
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BRANDIE 12/02/09 - 04:00 pm
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that just sucks... why not

that just sucks... why not BOBO...

Just My Opinion
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Just My Opinion 12/02/09 - 04:09 pm
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These guys were fired for the

These guys were fired for the way they botched up the Tech game...oh, wait a minute! Georgia WON that game against the over-rated 7th ranked Tech team, didn't they?? Okay, well we know that the Techies can't joke about that, so it must be that they got fired because of the way the defense had allowed SO MANY points in the last 2 seasons! All these coaches are good guys, and gave their all, but it just wasn't enough to save their jobs. It's a business. They WILL find other jobs, I'm sure of it, and I'm also sure that Coach Richt will help them.

easy breezy
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easy breezy 12/02/09 - 04:28 pm
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Mark Richt is better off

Mark Richt is better off without them. I was hoping at least Martinez would be gone, he made some bad decisions this year and the Dawgs suffered from them. 2010 will be a much better year and we'll be back on track as one of the strongest teams in the SEC!

HDawg
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HDawg 12/02/09 - 04:40 pm
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Its tough to see anyone lose

Its tough to see anyone lose their job. Clearing out the defensive staff to this level makes the job more attractive to an incoming DC who can now bring in his own staff. I can't imagine Kirby Smart not getting a call. When he played for Georgia, he was one of the most passionate players on the field. Donnan said he was like having a coach on the field and in the huddle. He's done wonders wherever he has coached.

Purelaughs
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Purelaughs 12/02/09 - 04:42 pm
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Mark Richt = the next Charlie

Mark Richt = the next Charlie Weiss

justthefacts
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justthefacts 12/02/09 - 04:50 pm
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Mark Richt= 8-1 against the

Mark Richt= 8-1 against the insects.

elsrsam
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elsrsam 12/02/09 - 05:00 pm
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What`s a coach to do if his

What`s a coach to do if his underclassman choose the NFL.
Maybe we shouldn`t sign those high profile athletes?
If those players that left last year would have stayed Georgia would be the SEC Championship game Saturday.
Georgia players need the give the coach four years.

Notreally
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Notreally 12/02/09 - 05:07 pm
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You can't win every game, but

You can't win every game, but I guess most of those coaches know going in.

hoopswood12
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hoopswood12 12/02/09 - 05:09 pm
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charlie weiss = fupa mark

charlie weiss = fupa
mark richt > charlie weiss

whoami_abcd
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whoami_abcd 12/02/09 - 05:32 pm
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“I don't have no reaction to

“I don't have no reaction to it...” Glad to see UGA's grammar program is working.

dgoo1269
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dgoo1269 12/02/09 - 05:55 pm
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about time.

about time.

skidrowjoe
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skidrowjoe 12/02/09 - 06:12 pm
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now, booboo and richt both

now, booboo and richt both need to go.

Discussionstarter
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Discussionstarter 12/02/09 - 06:50 pm
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Richt may want to look over

Richt may want to look over his personal resume; another season like this one... and he will be looking at job ads.

double_standard
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double_standard 12/02/09 - 09:18 pm
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Wii Todd Charlie Strong won't

Wii Todd Charlie Strong won't get a job in the SEC. He's a great coach but I wouldn't hold my breath.

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