Georgia basketball: Fox will not deserve extension with successful 2017-18 season

2017-18 should be the last chance for Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox, but that doesn’t mean he’ll have more chances with a successful season.

Readers, Georgia basketball fans, I feel the need to clarify one thing about the article published a few days ago about Georgia’s 2017-18 schedule.

In that piece, I said that given the talent of this years team and how less demanding the schedule is from last year, that this is Mark Fox’s last chance as head coach. If he can’t win with this team, then he shouldn’t be in Athens anymore.

I think most fans will agree with that, if a program isn’t getting better, it’s time to move on. But if Georgia can return to the NCAA Tournament and even win game or two, then Fox deserves to stick around.

However, that does not mean that athletic director Greg McGarity needs to give Fox a contract extension if they succeed is this season. That is something that I fear McGarity would do.

Georgia basketball fans and the school want to see the program be a consistent winner. We want to climb the ranks of the top-tier college basketball programs. Then eventually get to the highest level and stay there.

Fans have a legitimate reason to doubt that Fox is the guy to bring the program to where it needs to be. Especially after a disappointing 2016-17 season where the team took a step backwards.

One great year is not going to prove that Fox is the man for the job. He is yet to lead Georgia basketball to consecutive tournament appearances. Nor have the Bulldogs escaped the round of 64 under Fox.

Fox has elevated Georgia’s level. Prior to him coming to Athens, Georgia had only won 20-games in three consecutive years once. Fox managed to lead Georgia to 20 wins each season from 2013-to-2016. Georgia basketball is beginning to recruit at a higher level. The team has taken positive steps during the Mark Fox era.

The question is, has Fox taken Georgia basketball as far as it can go? He will not be able to prove that this season. That’s something that he’ll need to prove in 2019 and in 2020. But he has to get through 2017-18 first.

Regardless, Mark Fox will leave Georgia basketball in a better position and as a better job if he is fired. For that, fans should be thankful. But being thankful and demanding are not interchangeable. McGarity and the fans should still being demanding of Fox even if they are thankful for all he has done in Athens thus far.