Damon Evans’ resignation as the University of Georgia’s athletic director became official Monday morning. His separation agreement with the school includes a $100,000 longevity bonus and three months’ severance pay.
Evans, a Gainesville High School graduate, was arrested and charged with driving under the influence late Wednesday. On Thursday, Evans said he “failed miserably” as a leader and representative of UGA but didn’t consider resignation and would leave his future at UGA in the hands of UGA President Michael Adams.
Adams returned from a vacation to review the arrest with senior staff and legal counsel.
The Athletic Association’s board of directors executive committee and Adams met by phone and moved to executive session to discuss Evans’ future in private. About 15 minutes later, the executive committee returned to announce the decision.
“As I said on Thursday morning when I first learned of the situation, this is not an example of the kind of leadership that I expect our senior administrators to set,” said Adams, the board’s chairman. “I have high regard for Damon personally; I care deeply about him and his family.”
Under the separation agreement approved by the committee Monday morning, Evans will receive a $100,000 longevity bonus on Aug. 1 for his prior service to UGA, as well as three months of salary as severance — about $137,500.
“We acknowledge the many positive accomplishments of his tenure, including an increased focus on the academic success of student-athletes, the overall financial strength of the athletic department and the hiring of many very good people as head coaches and senior leaders in the athletic department,” Adams said.
Adams will discuss the “future leadership of the athletic department” during his regularly scheduled media briefing 2 p.m. today in the Mahler Auditorium of the Georgia Center for Continuing Education.
Evans released a statement Monday afternoon once again apologizing for his actions and thanking those who have supported him.
“It had been my hope since taking the job in 2004 that I would have a long career at UGA,” Evans said. “But because of a serious mistake in judgment, that won’t be the case, and I understand that I have a long road to rebuilding my reputation and career.”
Sam Evans, Evans’ father and an Oakwood city councilman, said his son probably decided to resign after “weighing his actions.”
“The parties involved had to do what they felt was best for the university,” Sam Evans said. “I can respect that in light of the damage that has been done.
“You see the reaction from the public and step back and know these weren’t actions that somebody in their right mind would do. He also has a lot of respect for Dr. Adams and this university, and by putting in his resignation, it starts the process of coming back together again in terms of the shame brought on the university.”
Sam Evans said he also felt the need to apologize.
“I, too, have to apologize and hope my apologies to the university and community will be accepted as well,” he said. “Damon has accepted his responsibility and grave errors ... and has to come to grips with himself and make sense out of how he could make such a grave error in judgement. It shouldn’t and hopefully won’t ever happen again.”
In the agreement, signed by both Evans and Adams on Sunday, Evans’ resignation is effective today. He must return all property of UGA and the Athletic Association, including vehicles, to Athens attorney Ed Tolley before noon tomorrow.
After the arrest Wednesday, more details came out with the release of the incident report on Friday.
According to the report, Evans attempted to influence the arresting Georgia State Patrol officer M. Cabe by saying he was UGA’s athletic director.
“I am not trying to bribe you, but is there anything you can do without arresting me?” Evans said.
Cabe wrote in the report that Evans asked to be taken to a motel instead of jail or to be let off with a warning.
Evans, a 40-year-old married father of two children, was found with a “red pair of lady’s panties between his legs,” according to the report.
Evans told the officer that passenger 28-year-old Courtney Fuhrmann, who was charged with disorderly conduct, was nothing more than a friend. Cabe said Fuhrmann later told him the two had been seeing each other for “only a week or so.”
Evans, who played at UGA as a receiver under Vince Dooley, rose in the athletic department during Dooley’s era as athletic director.
Evans became the Southeastern Conference’s first black athletic director, and he bolstered the program’s already strong financial standing.
The Athletic Association gave Evans a new contract in February that took effect Thursday. He was awarded a $90,000 raise, making his annual salary $550,000.