On Fridays at PPP we like to clean out the fridge so here are the numbers about sports in Georgia from the poll we did there a couple weeks ago that we just haven't gotten around to releasing yet:
-Georgia Tech fans aren't really on board with the school's decision to fire Paul Hewitt...and they show pretty much no enthusiasm about new hire Brian Gregory. Only 29% of self described Yellow Jacket fans that we surveyed said they agreed with the decision to let Hewitt go compared to 31% who said they think he should have been retained and 40% who had no opinion. Of course the 40% with no opinion may be evidence it was a good decision to fire Hewitt because it reflects the ambivalence much of the fan base was feeling toward basketball by the end of Hewitt's tenure, as reflected by pretty paltry home crowds this year.
One thing's for sure- there's no buzz about bringing Brian Gregory on board. Only 14% of fans think he was a good hire to 7% who think he was a bad hire and a whooping 79% who are reserving judgment. He has a lot of proving himself to do to get in good with the fan base.
-When Braves fans look back on the work Bobby Cox did during his time with the franchise 86% express approval to only 5% who disapprove. Those are the best poll numbers we've ever found for a sports figure. To put into perspective how good they are, last summer we did approval polls on 18 baseball managers and the one who did best with his fan base was Mike Scioscia of the Angels at 65% approval. Bobby exceeds that number by more than 20%.
Fellow future Hall of Famers Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre were at 60% and 53% respectively with Cardinals and Dodgers fans last summer. Cox also stacks up well to some heroes in other sports- Mike Krzyzewski's approval rating with Duke fans is 77% and Roy Williams' with North Carolina fans is 64%.
-Braves fans are mixed between optimism and reserving judgment when it comes to the hire of Fredi Gonzalez as Cox's replacement. 45% of fans think Gonzalez was a good hire, 7% think he was a bad hire, and 48% haven't formed an opinion yet. This poll was taken the first weekend of the season so it's possible Gonzalez would have worse numbers now after the team's poor start but only your most hardcore of message board/talk radio type fans seem like they would have turned against him already based on two mediocre weeks to start the season.
-Georgia and Georgia Tech fans are both pretty content with their football coaches. Mark Richt has a 59/15 approval rating with fans of the Bulldogs and Paul Johnson is at 53/9 with Yellow Jackets fans. The Richt numbers are particularly interesting- even though the program has been down a little bit the last couple of years his fan base still seems to be pretty content with him.
-And finally Mark Fox, Georgia's basketball coach, is also in good standing with his school's fans at a 48/10 approval spread.
Full results here