Evans out at Georgia

UGA's athletic director forced to step down amid fallout following his DUI arrest last week.

The executive committee of the University of Georgia athletic association's board of directors has scheduled a conference call this morning at 11 to announce the resignation of athletic director Damon Evans.

Sources close to Georgia's athletic department told the Times Free Press that university president Michael Adams asked for and received Evans' resignation. Evans, 40, was arrested last Wednesday night in Atlanta on a DUI charge, and the husband and father of two was accompanied in his 2009 BMW by 28-year-old Courtney Fuhrmann, who was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge.

Evans held a news conference Thursday night, in which he apologized several times for his actions. He expressed the desire to keep his position, which he has held since July 2004, but added, "If I bring too much shame and embarrassment to this institution, then there is no telling what may happen."

Adams, a 1966 graduate of City High School, was on vacation while Evans held his news conference but issued a statement expressing his disappointment in the arrest.

"Certainly this is not an example of the kind of leadership that I expect our senior administrators to set," Adams said.

The Georgia State Patrol incident report released Friday contained narrative in which the arresting officer approached Evans and noticed a red pair of Fuhrmann's panties in his lap. Evans reportedly said, "She took them off and I held them because I was just trying to get her home."

Evans also pleaded with the officer, according to the report, saying, "I am not trying to bribe you, but I am the athletic director of the University of Georgia."

Adams promoted Evans from senior associate AD for internal affairs to succeed Vince Dooley, and he became the first black athletic director in the history of the Southeastern Conference, which was founded in 1933. Georgia's athletic department has produced a surplus of at least $17 million since his hiring, with the $23.9 million netted during the 2005-06 fiscal year ranking No. 1 among NCAA institutions.

On the same day he was apologizing, Evans was scheduled to have his annual salary jump from $440,000 to $550,000, adding to the biggest free fall in SEC circles since the short stint of former Alabama football coach Mike Price. In May 2003, after five months with the Crimson Tide, Price had his contract terminated for his actions while intoxicated at a topless bar in Pensacola, Fla.

Possible candidates to replace Evans include Frank Crumley, Georgia's executive associate AD for finance and business, Carla Williams, Georgia's senior woman administrator, Greg McGarity, the executive senior associate director at the University of Florida, and Mark Lewis, the president of Jet Set Sports.

Williams played basketball at Georgia under coach Andy Landers from 1986-89 and has been a senior associate AD since May 2007, when Crumley also earned his promotion.

"We're in an unbelievable financial position," Evans said in an interview last year with the Times Free Press. "Frank Crumley and his staff do a tremendous job, and that has been an area that continues to really, really stand out for us."

McGarity would be viewed as the most popular choice, having been born and raised in Athens, having graduated from UGA in 1976 and having coached women's tennis there from 1977-81. He has overseen operations and facilities at Florida since 1992 under Jeremy Foley, who is considered the most successful AD in the league.

In 2003, McGarity interviewed for Georgia's AD opening that ultimately went to Evans.

Also interviewing the last time around was Lewis, who was a snapper for the Bulldogs in the late '80s and is the son of former Georgia Tech football coach Bill Lewis. The vice president for Olympic sponsorships with General Electric in '03, Lewis has since overseen a leading provider of Olympic Games hospitality packages and event tickets to corporate clients and the general public.

Jet Set Sports is contracted with the United States Olympic Committee through the 2012 Games in London and reportedly earned $70 million from the 2008 Games in Beijing.

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