Lately, I’ve been complaining about the lack of national championships, which I have attributed at least partly to a lack of commitment to facilities, as evidenced by the plodding approach to refurbishing Foley Field being taken by Georgia’s highly profitable athletics department.
It appears I am not alone in assigning such importance to facilities upgrades. Consider this explanation for Alabama’s record-tying attainment of four national championships in a single scholastic year:
"It goes back to the top, the vision he had to, No. 1, improve the facilities, and by improving the facilities, he was able to attract the top coaches in the country in each respective sport," Robertson said of Moore.
"And once the coaches got here, due to the facilities being in such great shape, they were able to recruit the top student-athletes. You get all of those three working together, it makes for a winning combination."
Bryant-Denny Stadium has been expanded twice by Moore, and cosmetic improvements are dramatic. Coleman Coliseum has been revamped. Rhoads Stadium is a college softball jewel. The Jerry Pate Golf Complex sells Alabama to top prospects.
I didn’t add any emphasis to those paragraphs; I didn’t need to add any. Top-notch facilities attract top-notch coaches, and, together, they attract top-notch recruits. The combination of infrastructure, coaching, and talent leads to championships. The execution isn’t easy, but the formula is forthright.
Fortunately, Georgia has a master plan for facilities, and the portions of it that have been implemented have produced pronounced improvements, but Bulldog baseball has become an afterthought as dilapidated Foley Field continues to languish in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall’s blind spot. Consequently, Georgia’s oldest varsity sport lags farther and farther behind in a league that only is going to get tougher with the expansion of a conference that already includes numerous nationally relevant baseball programs.
I remain hopeful that there is a method to Greg McGarity’s apparent madness, and that, rather than replace three head coaches in a single calendar year, our athletic director is biding his time so he can schedule his search for a new head baseball coach to coincide with the completion of the stadium improvements in time for the 2014 season. That, though, is merely what I hope; in the meantime, what I know is that other SEC schools are spending money, upgrading facilities, and celebrating championships, and we’re not.