Mark Richt is Retiring, and That's College Football's Loss

December 30, 2018
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NEW ORLEANS - This, to me, is a sad day. Mark Richt is done coaching college football, it seems, for good. 

I admire Mark for a lot of reasons. How many folks adopt children? I haven’t. That he had the means to do so and did speaks to who he is. Fake isn’t something you would ever say about him. 

I leaned a lot watching and covering Mark over the 15 years he was in Athens. He made mistakes. He did. But the overarching time he had in Athens was a massive success. It was just compared, side by side, to the two top programs of the time - Florida and Alabama, who combined to win six national titles during his coaching career. Auburn and Cam Newton winning another national title made it seem like UGA was snake bitten. 

That he was a winner in Athens while trying to have a moral compass in a college football world that changed dramatically shows that he was one of the best college football coaches of his time. 

Mark looked at things through the prism of: “Is this going to help the young men I am in charge of?” rather than “Is this going to help me win?” 

Those two things don’t always line up together, but he would side with the development of men over winning all of the time. That Mark wasn’t willing to cut corners to win big in college football might say something else about the sport no one else wants to acknowledge… and that’s a subject for another time I suppose.

Mark never won it all, and that will define him for those who don’t know him. I will put in perspective this way, however, Mack Brown, Gene Chizik and Larry Coker have won national titles. Eventually they were all run out of town.

Can we really say those three are better coaches than Richt? I can’t. Maybe you can. Mark was pushed out at UGA because he wasn’t winning enough in the moments that mattered most - Jacksonville, the SEC Championship Game, etc. 

That was the correct decision. It was clunky at the time - Mark should have been celebrated more - but it was the right move. Things were too much of a mess for it to be allowed to continue. I know that time at Georgia very well. Mark had allowed things to get out of control, and they got so far out of control that very little made sense. 

But his time at Georgia changed the institution. 

Multiple SEC titles. 

Multiple Sugar Bowl wins. 

Total domination of Georgia Tech, which had won three games in a row before he was hired. 

Georgia went from not mattering on the national stage to being a national power. 

I thought he had a chance to get Miami back to relevancy. Coral Gables, it seems to me, must be a pretty broken place if Mark can’t win down there. Particularly in an ACC that is straight up garbage. 

But this is a sad day, for me at least. Mark Richt is a great coach. That he’s no longer a part of college football is our loss.

Dawg Post
ATLANTA - Mark Richt during No. 13 Georgia's 34-14 win over No. 3 LSU in the 2005 SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on December 3, 2005. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

 

 
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