It was the news so nice, we had to report it twice: Michael Adams will be stepping down as the president of the University of Georgia, effective 14 months hence.
Admittedly, I have been in a frame of mind to fire a few folks lately, but there has not exactly been a shortage of critics of Michael Adams. His handling of Vince Dooley’s transition into retirement did not exactly endear him to Georgia Bulldogs fans, and his other forays into the arena of athletics produced the ill-fated hiring of Jim Harrick and the secret side deal that prolonged Jim Donnan’s tenure in Athens. Even when he had a point, as with his attempt to establish family-friendly tailgate zones, his instinct for overkill and his tin ear for communicating with what ought to have been his constituency caused him to make a hash of it. Also, his attempt to rename the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party was just stupid.
Those, though, were only the most public of Adams’s missteps, not the most egregious. The Deloitte & Touche audit highlighted several irregularities that produced much division and attracted widespread attention, and his leadership was damaging to employee morale, ultimately prompting a faculty vote of no confidence in his presidency.
To be fair, Michael Adams did do some good for the University of Georgia. As his defenders have noted, he was an effective fundraiser, and, though it amounted largely to falling on his own fumble, Adams ultimately was the one who pulled the trigger on firing Coach Donnan, for which he is to be commended. Finally, Adams’s handling of Damon Evans’s DUI arrest and Greg McGarity’s hiring was the president’s finest hour.
In the end, though there was some good, it was outweighed by the bad, and this man with a doctoral degree in political communication proved staggeringly inept at speaking to the citizens for whom the nation’s oldest state-chartered university was established. I greet the news of his departure by wishing him well someplace else. May the door not hit him where the good Lord split him, and may there be celebration throughout Bulldog Nation as we arrange a springtime soiree that might itself lay claim to the Adams-disapproved title “World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.” Don’t worry, though, Il Duce; at least, when we throw a party, we don’t expect someone else to pay for it.