Fabris comes back to Athens

ATHENS – Georgia's search for a new defensive ends coach ended Friday when Mark Richt announced he had hired his old defensive ends coach – Jon Fabris.

Jon Fabris resigned Sunday to accept a similar position at Oklahoma, however, after being announced as a new coach by the Sooners, he changed his mind and asked for his old job back.

Richt, who was out of the country from Monday to Thursday, agreed to rehire Fabris after a long conversation Thursday night.

"I found out that he was having second thoughts about his decision to go to Oklahoma," Richt said in a statement released by Georgia. "After a long conversation, he decided he wanted to come back to Georgia, and I allowed him to do so. He was really having a difficult time with the decision, and it was hard for him to communicate that to me since I was out of the country until last night. For personal and professional reasons, he believes that Georgia is the best place for him, and I'm very glad he's decided to stay."

Fabris' initial departure was puzzling if for no other reason than his parents live in Watkinsville, and he seemed delighted to be reunited with him when he was originally hired in 2001. Fabris, who made $135,000 annually at Georgia, was expected to receive a raise at Oklahoma.

"This is in no way a negative reflection on Oklahoma, Coach (Bob) Stoops or the OU football program," Fabris said in a statement released by the University of Oklahoma. "I want to be clear about that. Everything has been handled very professionally. I just have some personal matters that need to be addressed. There is no more to it than that."

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops was not upset by the decision, according to the same statement.

"I fully understand and respect Jon's reasoning in making this decision," Stoops said. "There were some issues that Jon thought could be worked out, but now it appears that it would be best for him to return to Georgia. He's making the decision for the right reasons. We all respect him for making this kind of stand."

Fabris, 47, was the third Richt assistant to leave the team in the last six weeks.

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