With another eight wins this season, Mark Fox could lead Georgia basketball to their fourth straight 20-win season which is unprecedented in the programs history.
After the loss to Oakland I began to see it on twitter. After the loss to Florida I began to see it more. A few around the Bulldog Nation believes it’s time to part ways with Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox.
That’s right, just a season after Fox’s Bulldogs accomplished what had only been accomplished one other time in program history, there are a growing number of fans who think he should be on the hot seat.
Would I call them bad fans? of course not, they only want to see Georgia basketball succeed. They want us to one day stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Kentucky. And those fans just don’t believe Mark Fox is the guy to get us there. There’s nothing wrong with that. However, the problem lies in their patients, or lack there of.
Because it’s not like when Mark Richt was fired as head coach of the football program. Regardless of which side of that debate you were on, there were undisputed facts in that situation. Prior to Richt’s hiring, Georgia has 10 SEC Championships and two national titles.
He may have elevated the program from what it was in the 1990’s, but it’s not like he took over a program that has never had any long periods of success. He coached at Georgia for 15 years and only brought two SEC titles and zero BCS National titles.
We’re not going to dive back in that debate, it’s time to move on from that. I only bring it up to show that we can’t hold Mark Fox to that same standard because he hasn’t won an SEC or National title at Georgia.
Before Fox arrived in Athens, Georgia basketball only had 10 NCAA Tournament and 11 NIT appearances in their whole history. All 21 of those post season appearances can after 1980. But more immediate before Fox was hired, Georgia was on the decline.
Beginning in the mid 1990’s, Georgia nearly got over the hump to become a program that plays in the NCAA Tournament annually. Tubby Smith succeeded Hugh Durham and led the Bulldogs to two NCAA Tournament’s in 1996 and 1997 before he left to go to Kentucky.
Then Jim Harrick was hired after winning a NCAA Tournament and getting fired from UCLA a couple of years later. Once again, Georgia was about to get over the hump but NCAA violations led to Harrick’s firing and Georgia basketball going on probation.
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Georgia then went through the Dennis Felton era and a program that was almost over the hump fell back to the bottom.
In Mark Fox’s seven season’s in Athens, not only has he brought the program back from the depths it fell to in the mid-to-late 2000’s, but Georgia basketball is virtually back to where it was before the NCAA placed them on probation.
But Georgia basketball did not get back to that level until 2016. Mark Fox was just completed a step. Firing him now wouldn’t even give him a chance to prove he can lead Georgia up the next step.
Mark Fox might not be the head coach to lead Georgia basketball to new heights. Georgia might not become a perennial NCAA Tournament team under Fox. The Bulldogs might never stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Kentucky with Fox at the helm. But does he not deserve the chance to prove he can?