Mark Richt Belongs At Miami
Time finally ran out on Mark Richt.
After 15 years, the University of Georgia decided to cut ties with their head football coach.
Richt, despite being let go, had a very successful tenure in Athens. He left the Bulldogs with a 9-3 record this year. It was a record all too familiar for Georgia, and the losses weighed heavier than the wins.
Still, his 145 wins with the Bulldogs is the 5th-most among active FBS coaches. He averaged over nine wins per season.
However, Richt was never able to lead a team to college football's biggest stage, the National Championship Game. Season after season, Richt's teams seemed to fall just short.
On paper, it seems like a great hire for the Hurricanes. There's little reason to believe that Richt's coaching success at Georgia won't translate well to Miami. His Georgia teams never reached their full potential, but they were competitive nearly every year.
Richt also brought stellar recruiting classes into Athens year after year, and will likely continue to do so given his new location in talent-rich South Florida.
On top of that, Richt has connections with the university, as he played quarterback there from 1979-1982.
Despite all of this, it is easy to question if Richt's personality is the right fit for the Hurricanes. The flashy style that helped put Miami on the map does not fit the profile of the modest Richt.
For years, Miami has been trying to revive its football program. The goal is to return to "The U," the polarizing national powerhouse that once dominated the college football world. And while the program was known for winning, it was also known for the strong personalities of the players and the trouble that often followed them.
With that being said, could Mark Richt really be the face of the revival of "The U?" It is hard to imagine the two working together in the first place. Even though Richt played at Miami, his time there ended just before the Hurricanes started their journey to a national powerhouse.
For what it's worth, Richt is clearly still hungry. He could have taken a year off, or retired after he was let go. Instead, he is already preparing to take over the reigns in South Beach. Richt is likely not happy with how things ended in Athens, and a fresh start in Miami is the perfect chance for him to prove his doubters wrong.
It will take time for Richt to recruit the kind of players that will fit his system. Until then, he will have to work with what he's got. Luckily for Richt, Miami has one of the nation's most promising quarterbacks in Brad Kaaya.
One of Richt's key weaknesses this year with his Georgia team was at quarterback. With Kaaya, he has an experienced leader that he can build an offense around.
Richt looks to have more of an influence on the development of his players, "If and when I do coach again, I’ll look forward to coaching again, being more hands on. I miss coaching quarterbacks; I miss calling plays"
For Richt's first season in Miami, his schedule looks to be challenging, but not impossible. The toughest conference match ups will be at home against Florida State and North Carolina, with a road test against Notre Dame.
So, is "The U" that we all know and remember finally due for a return? Probably not. But, that doesn't mean Mark Richt can't establish a new tradition of winning.