Sunday, April 17, 2011

Despite Recent Struggles UGA Fans Still Have High Approval Rating For Mark Richt (UPDATED)

Public Policy Polling, which does political polls for Presidential candidates, polled fans around the Peach state on how they thought their coaches were doing.

Coming off a 6-7 season, but bolstered by a consensus top 10 recruiting class, Mark Richt scores fairly high with UGA fans giving him a 59% approval rating; 15% of fans disapprove while 26% are undecided.

While the last two seasons have certainly been disappointing (as have the losses to Florida and SEC teams winning BCS Championships) it would hard to find a better 10 year stretch of Georgia football than those under Richt.

Basketball coach Mark Fox scores fairly well with a 48% approval rating to 10% disapproval. I think most Bulldog fans were happy to get to the NCAA Tournament this year, but these numbers may change after next year where Fox will be without stars Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie. College athletics is a what have you done for me lately world.

Like UGA fans, Georgia Tech are for the most part pleased with the job Paul Johnson is doing giving him a 53% approval rating, but many are also undecided (32%); 9% of Tech fans polled have a disapproval rating for Johnson.

I think the Tech head coach will always be judged heavily on how he does against UGA. A loss to the Bulldogs again this year will no doubt send Johnson's approval rating down.

The most recent major collegiate hire in the state, Brian Gregory, has an overwhelming 'wait and see' attitude amongst fans with 79% reserving judgment. 14% approve of the hire while 7% disapprove. I would certainly count myself in that 79%.

Maybe the most surprising numbers in the poll were when Tech fans were asked about the firing of Paul Hewitt. Just 29% of fans said they agreed with the firing while 31% said he should have been retained. The 29% number is in stark contrast to the attendance figures and revenue impact I reported all season long.

In the state, 45% consider themselves fans of Georgia to just 14% as fans of Tech. Showing the influx of non-natives, 41% are fans of another team.

In general, looking at the high percentage of undecided fans for nearly all the coaches reiterates the point about college athletics being a "what have you done for me lately" world.

UGA fans: Do you approve of the job Mark Richt is doing?

Tech fans: What about Paul Johnson? Do you think Hewitt should have been retained if Brian Gregory is the replacement?

UPDATE: Public Policy full polling numbers broken down by political views and gender

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