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Friday, February 25, 2005
Defensive ends coach elects to stay

Associated Press

ATHENS, Ga. -- Less than a week after accepting a job at Oklahoma, Georgia defensive ends coach Jon Fabris decided to remain in Athens, Georgia coach Mark Richt announced Friday.

Fabris, who has served on the Georgia staff for each of Richt's four years, had accepted a similar position at Oklahoma on Monday.

Fabris said "personal matters" led to his decision to return to the Georgia staff.

"This is in no way a negative reflection on Oklahoma, Coach [Bob] Stoops or the OU football program," Fabris said in a release issued by 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."

Richt said he spoke with Fabris on Thursday night and learned that Fabris was wavering on his planned move to Oklahoma.

"After a long conversation, he decided he wanted to come back to Georgia, and I allowed him to do so," Richt said. "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, who also assists with Georgia's special teams, has coached such standout defensive ends as David Pollack, Josh Mallard and NFL first-round pick Charles Grant.

"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 taking this kind of stand."

Richt has lost two other assistant coaches.

Defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder accepted an offer to become linebackers coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Running backs coach Ken Rucker will take over the same job at Texas.

Richt hired former Bulldog defensive back Kirby Smart to replace Rucker and Central Michigan defensive coordinator John Jancek to coach linebackers.

Willie Martinez was promoted from secondary coach to defensive coordinator.