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Donnan apologizes for post-game comments to Loran Smith

September 16, 1997

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) _ Georgia coach Jim Donnan apologized Tuesday for his harsh comments to broadcaster Loran Smith following a 31-15 victory over South Carolina.

Donnan became perturbed when Smith’s first question on a post-game radio show was about 14 players who suffered cramps rather than the Bulldogs’ impressive performance.

``I’m not worried about damn cramps,″ Donnan barked to Smith. ``We just had a great win for the program. I can’t believe you asked me that damn question.″

Afterwards, several callers to Georgia’s post-game radio show criticized Donnan, who returned to the air to apologize to anyone who was offended.

On Tuesday, Donnan apologized in person to Smith, sideline reporter for the school’s radio network and executive secretary of the Georgia Bulldog Club.

``The situation was such that I thought that we had just won a big game and I though it was an inappropriate question,″ Donnan said at his weekly news conference. ``I was obviously excited about the way our players played and I didn’t want to detract from what I thought was a great performance by our team.″

``Two separate times I apologized to Loran and also the public for anything I said that would take away my stature as a coach. I hope everybody accepts my apology and we can lay that to rest.″

Smith said he accepted Donnan’s apology and expects no problem working with the coach in the future. Isn addition to the postgame radio show, Smith is the host of Donnan’s weekly television program.

``Perhaps Jim was guilty of overreacting,″ Smith said. ``But it’s over with. He apologized and we’ll be doing the radio show on Saturday and the television show on Sunday.″

Smith also conceded that while cramping was an issue in the game, he probably shouldn’t have asked Donnan about it with the first question.

``He did not mean to come off the way he did, I know that,″ Smith said. ``But Jim is such a volatile individual and such a competitor, such an intense competitor. These things are reflective of his competitive instincts.″

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