The drama-fueled journalist in me really wants Mark Richt to consider South Carolina as his next coaching destination
A decade ago, Nick Saban eventually went from LSU (2000-04) to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins (2005-06) to Alabama (2005-present).
Just like how Steve Spurrier once endured the circuitous (and lucrative) journey of Florida (1990-2001) to the Washington Redskins (2002-03) to South Carolina (2005-15).
And outside of Bill Curry (Alabama to Kentucky in the late 1980s), Tommy Tuberville (Ole Miss to Auburn in the late 1990s) and Houston Nutt (Arkansas to Ole Miss in 2008), it’s quite rare for SEC head coaches to directly jump from one conference program to another — without taking some time off or accepting an out-of-conference job in the interim.
But this offseason presents a unique opportunity for deposed UGA coach Mark Richt, in the form of showing interest in the South Carolina vacancy.
As a qualifier, I have no insider knowledge to whether Richt cares to coach another school in 2016, whether it’s South Carolina, Southern California or his beloved alma mater, Miami. But at 55 years old, Richt still has the youthful exuberance to lead a program to supreme heights over the next 10 to 12 years. And as a bargaining chip, it’s possible that prep All-American Jacob Eason (a quarterback from Washington state) could abandon his oral commitment to UGA … and follow Richt to any of the above schools.
If that were to happen, it would be the equivalent of sports-journalism gold: the anti-Richt contingent at UGA (fans, boosters, school officials) reconciling the backyard notion of facing Richt and Eason for the next three or four years — assuming the latter evolves into a Matthew Stafford college clone.
From a non-journalism perspective, I couldn’t care less where Eason goes to college. My only advice: Pursue the path where you’re extremely comfortable with the coaches and the offensive system in place. The “education” aspect is obviously important, as well — but perhaps not as significant as a blue-chip quarterback losing his coach to the NFL after a successful freshman campaign … and then regressing as a sophomore and junior under a new coaching regime. (See Hackenberg, Christian.)
(For the record, Eason’s signed financial-aid agreement with UGA does not fully bind him to the Bulldogs, meaning he’s still eligible to pick another school before National Signing Day. Not that he’s looking elsewhere.)