Mark Richt is no longer the UGA football coach, and it is possible he will accept a role within the school’s athletic department after 15 years with the Bulldogs.
If Richt wants to coach in 2016, though, there should be plenty of suitors waiting to speak with him. Richt won two SEC championships and 144 games with UGA. He was praised for his ability to be successful, and for “doing it the right way,” which mostly means avoiding NCAA sanctions.
Former players and several media members also spoke very highly of Richt in the hours after the news broke Sunday.
So, let’s assume for a moment that Richt does not want to be an advisor and does not want to step away from college football. Here’s a look at some potential landing places if he wants to continue coaching:
This is an obvious one. Richt was a quarterback at Miami from 1979-82, when the program began its climb to the top of college football. One issue could be money, because the school is not expected to be able to pay as well as most elite programs. Would Richt be willing to take a pretty significant pay cut to coach at “The U,” or will the Hurricanes look for someone younger and more, uh, cost effective?
Mike London was fired Sunday after six relatively unsuccessful years. This would be an interesting landing spot for Richt. Expectations would be much, much lower than at UGA, but this is one place that would definitely value Richt’s approach to the job. It’s also a place where Richt could be pretty successful. London (and Al Groh before him) were able to land highly-rated recruiting classes but were unable to convert them into big win totals.
LSU reportedly tried to lure Jimbo Fisher away from Florida State. Will UGA try to do the same? If Fisher leaves, whether it is for UGA, the NFL or parts unknown, Richt would probably land on the short list of replacements. He worked at the school from 1985-2000, not including a one-year stint at East Carolina, under Florida State legend Bobby Bowden. He’d recruit the same areas and have a roster ready to win now.
The Gamecocks have a history of landing big-name coaches. Their past two hires have been Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier. Would Richt want a chance to compete with UGA every year at a school that still gives him solid access to the fertile recruiting areas in Georgia and Florida?
While other big-name college coaches have left for the NFL, Richt’s name has rarely been mentioned among those looking to make the leap. Now that finishing his career at UGA (as football coach, anyway) is no longer an option, would Richt consider an NFL job? He has been a champion of pro-style offense during his days at UGA.
This would be the longest of long shots, but Richt is from Boca Raton, Fla., which also happens to be where the Florida Atlantic campus is located. His coach at Miami, Howard Schnellenberger, helped build the FAU program from scratch and his name is now on the stadium. Richt could go home and take on a new challenge of building up a program that one of his mentors started. Florida Atlantic has gone 3-9 in each of Charlie Partridge’s two seasons, but with the right coach there’s no reason FAU couldn’t rival the success that South Florida and Central Florida have found in recent seasons.
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