The Case For Mark Richt To Stay At Georgia
It really is simple: Mark Richt should not be fired at Georgia.
For every article that brings up the 17 years it took Vince Dooley to win a title, there's an article that talks about the internal friction within the Bulldogs' coaching staff and why that's the last nail in the coffin for Richt's days in Athens, Ga.
Just so everyone knows, Jeremy Pruitt is our defensive coordinator and is in the office working diligently getting ready for Kentucky!— Mark Richt (@MarkRicht) November 5, 2015
While Richt has seen success, it's not the success Georgia wants to see; they want a national championship—the one that Dooley was able to deliver them. However, winning a title is a lot easier said than done.
Even before Richt, Jim Donnan was fired for not being able to bring a title to Athens. Donnan only had five seasons to work his magic for building a championship powerhouse, compared to the 14 full years Richt has had.
But what if Georgia did let Richt go?
Well, would Georgia be okay with risking 14 years of at least going to a bowl game? Whether it was a Sugar Bowl or a Belk Bowl, it's at least a bowl game. There is the chance that you pick the wrong coach, and complaints about not being a national title contender turn into complaints about not even playing an extra game in December.
Richt is an extremely capable coach. If he leaves, he would be the target for programs like Miami (FL), South Carolina, Southern California and possibly even Virginia Tech.
The amount of star power that Richt has brought to Athens is astounding. From Matthew Stafford to Todd Gurley, NFL success has gone through the Georgia program. Winning is part of that success.
According to SBNation, Georgia entered the season as one of the top 15 winningest programs over the past decade. While the Bulldogs haven't run the table, they have been consistent enough to make it to a late December or Jan. 1 bowl game.
More importantly for Georgia: Who can they get that's better than Richt?
Unless you can lure Nick Saban out of Alabama, persuade Urban Meyer to flee in the middle of the night from Columbus, Ohio and live out his coaching days in Athens, or throw enough money at a high-profile NFL coach like Chip Kelly to get him to coach the Bulldogs, I'm not entirely sure who would be better than Richt.
And it's not like Georgia is struggling. They play in arguably the toughest conference in college football. They have to play the revolving door of Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, and rival Georgia Tech. No matter which way you cut that schedule, it's not easy.
What stings so much for Georgia fans is the frustration of watching everybody around them win. Before Richt got to Athens, Tennessee and Florida won national championships; once Richt got to Georgia, Bulldog nation saw LSU, Florida, Alabama and Auburn trade national championships. Georgia came within four yards of getting to a national championship appearance in 2012—which is probably the most painful of all the moments.
They were that close.
Not even four years removed from that moment, the pitchforks to get Richt out at Georgia have become increasingly sharper. They shouldn't be, though.
The year before Dooley won the title in 1980 with Georgia, they didn't even go to a bowl game. In fact, his squad was barely .500, going 6-5.
However, the arrival of Herschel Walker put the Bulldogs into the championship conversation. The 1980 title season involved Walker saving Georgia in Week 1 against Tennessee, a game with ended with a 16-15 victory. Without Walker's second half performance, the Bulldogs would've started the season 0-1.
After the Tennessee win, Georgia survived upset bids from Clemson, South Carolina and Florida en route to their showdown with Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl – the national championship game.
Walker scored two touchdowns and was named MVP of the Sugar Bowl
But give credit where credit is due: Dooley won a title.
Georgia wants to relive that moment of winning the title. Richt has brought them to the doorstep, but they haven't been able to find a way to the other side. It's unfortunate, really. Dan Marino is the greatest NFL player to not win a Super Bowl. Mark Richt, at the moment, is the best coach to not win a national championship as a head coach. Even though he won two titles with Florida State as an assistant, it just isn't the same.
We've only talked about the coaching of Richt—not the character. He's the type of guy you want running a program. He doesn't believe in oversigning, but believes in a four-year scholarship. The reason why this is so important is because oversigning involves ending the free ride of school for a student athlete. Here is an example of oversigning: If I'm allotted 20 scholarships, I may sign 23. To make way for those extra three, I may cut players who are either third or fourth at a position on the depth chart, or remove people who can't compete (i.e. athletes who haven't recovered from injury). The SEC is a place where oversigning has been criticized and coaches still go along with it, yet Richt doesn't. If I'm a parent of a recruit in the heartland of the SEC, I would encourage my child to go to Georgia if that option was presented.
If Georgia fails to see that, then Richt could become another causality of the 2015 coaching machine. That, I think, would be a bigger loss to Georgia than falling four yards short of a title game.