Georgia’s athletic director offered no resignation Thursday night in the aftermath of his DUI arrest.
Instead Evans was adamant he wanted to keep his job, using the words apologize, mistake and shame five times each in his opening statement and ensuing answers to questions from the media.
“I believe—and will always believe—what should be done is what is in the best interest of this institution,” Evans said. “I do feel like my actions have put a black cloud over our storied program, one of which I never thought in my years here at the University of Georgia I would bring shame to this magnificent institution.”
After 10 grueling minutes sitting in front of reporters and cameras, glaring questions still linger.
Why was Courtney Fuhrmann, a 28-year-old real estate agent from Atlanta arrested along with Evans for disorderly conduct, in his vehicle?
Evans said she was just a friend, and offered nothing else.
How much had Evans had to drink, and why did he refuse to take a Breathalyzer test?
Once again, Evans, athletic director since 2004, said he had been advised not to talk specifics due to the ongoing investigation.
Would the police surveillance tape offer more answers once released?
We’re not yet sure.
Taking Evans' professional career out of the frame for just a moment, how is his family handling such dishonorable news?
“I brought shame to them,” Evans said. “I have two lovely children. I have a beautiful wife who is going through a lot right now, which haunts me. When you have such deep feelings and love for someone and you hurt them, as we all know, it’s something that’s hard to take, and I’ve done just that. I’ve hurt everybody.”
While Evans attempts to collect his personal life, professionally his fate is in University President Michael Adams and the rest of the Georgia administration’s hands.
“Dr. Adams is supportive,” Evans said. “I think he’s going to let things play out. He has to do what is in the best interest of this institution. He told me that. I told him I agreed with him from that standpoint. He knows I made a mistake, a serious mistake. He understands that. I believe that Dr. Adams wants to work through that with me, but at the same time I think it depends on how things play out.”
Adams may be supportive as Evans indicates, but since the president is on vacation he left inquiring minds with only a written statement that did little in providing answers.
Will Adams fire Evans, and if so what is his timetable to reach such a decision?
Once again, an answer is not readily available.
An ironic sting to what was supposed to be a commemorative day, Evans brand new 5-year contract, worth $550,000 annually was set to begin Thursday.
Placed in charge of one of the most profitable athletic associations in the country, do Evans' actions limit his ability to be a leader?
Early Thursday afternoon Evans met with Georgia coaches and senior staff to apologize for not leading by example, and for bringing shame to the program.
Most of those coaches—basketball coaches Mark Fox and Andy Landers, baseball coach David Perno and swimming coach Jack Bauerle—were part of the massive procession that entered the room prior to Evans taking center stage.
For whatever reason football coach Mark Richt was not one of them.
“Well Damon met with the group this afternoon,” Fox said. “I think he wanted to, as he mentioned, apologize and take responsibility, and he stood up like a man and did so.”
While Evans is playing the “learn from your mistakes,” card, some disappointed University students disagree.
“I think not resigning is showing selfishness,” said David Payne, a senior majoring in agricultural business. “It sounds like he has a lot of personal things to handle, and he’s showing disregard to his personal life and family by not resigning his position. Things in your personal life affect your professional life, especially when you have the responsibilities and power his position commands. I think he should be fired.”
Despite what we know happened and still wondering what exactly did happen, Evans said resigning never crossed his mind.
Instead he said he plans to regain the trust of the administration, fans and his family all while holding his current position.
“I’ve got a lot of soul searching,” Evans said. “I’ve got a lot thinking to do. I’ve got to take a step back and pause and say, ‘Damon, you’ve got to get back on track. You’ve got to set an example. You’ve got to be the leader that you talked about being. You’ve got to be the role model for the student-athletes that come through this institution that you say you are.’”
Is all this possible for a man to accomplish while tied to such responsibility amid such scrutiny?
That’s just one more lingering question.