What a wild few days this must have been for Mark Richt. Saturday the Georgia Bulldogs beat Georgia Tech to finish the regular season 9-3, Sunday he’s fired from his job of 15 years, Monday there’s an emotional press conference where he says goodbye and Tuesday night he has a new job at The U.
My 1st reaction to this was… well, not the excitement that many of my Canes brethren had, and let me explain why.READ MORE: Click here for Georgia Primary Results
For 11 years, I’ve been lucky enough to do sports radio in Atlanta, which on many Sunday and Monday’s was living the emotion of fan bases who would react to the weekend that was. None lived that life harder than fans of the Georgia Bulldogs! Seemingly every year August would roll around, Georgia would have a lofty ranking, and we would talk about is this the year? Can Georgia win the SEC? Can Georgia win the national title? And usually by November or early December the hopes and dreams were long dashed, and questions of what happened would permeate the airwaves.
Players were blamed, coordinators were fired, but one constant remained and that was Mark Richt. The love for this man was well earned as he is one of the best human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet and speak to. Coach Richt always treated us with dignity and class, but the CHAMPIONSHIPS didn’t follow. The fan base didn’t know how to react… run him away, or stay by his side.
After 15 years, he finally was shown the door.
His biggest issue was the guys around him. Urban Meyer, Les Miles, Nick Saban and even Gene Chizik brought home National Championships while Georgia kept losing to Florida or South Carolina or Alabama. A .740 winning percentage is really nice and shiny, but an empty trophy case was the black hole that couldn’t be filled.
For those of you who’ve listened, tweeted, or talked to me at any point, you know the biggest joy in my life is The University of Miami football team. My son’s name is Cane, and my arms and legs are covered in orange and green ink. Nothing (other than my child) gives me more joy than a Miami win, and unfortunately over the past decade those moments were fewer and further between. Saturdays had been reduced to pregame excitement, Twitter rants and a lot of yelling at the TV. Larry Coker, Randy Shannon, Al Golden and a really thrifty school president helped bury what once was the best program in college football. All we had left was memories of 5 National Titles and hope that eventually someone would turn it around.READ MORE: 14 students dead, 1 teacher killed after Texas school shooting
Finally the light was at the end of the tunnel, as Clemson blasted Miami 58-0, change was made. Al Golden was fired, and Miami had a renewed hope to change the direction of the program. Butch Davis took to radio and basically asked, no begged for the Miami job. He was the last tie to the great Miami teams of the past, a Jimmy Johnson disciple who built the greatest team in the history of college football. He wanted the job, was not coaching, and seemingly had a list of assistants ready to follow him back to Coral Gables. Problem was 15 years ago he left The U for the NFL and some BOT members in Miami were still hurt. Butch also had the little UNC academic scandal that hung over his name even though he was cleared of all wrong doing. This apparently was too much to overcome.
Butch was my #1 choice. Was I being nostalgic? Absolutely! Did I think he was the best guy for the job? Absolutely! Was I hurt when he was not given the job? Absolutely! Does this mean Mark Richt is a bad hire? Not in the least bit.
My concerns for Coach Richt are no different than Dawg fans who call in to talk radio every day. Can he win the biggest games? Will Miami win National Titles? Does he have the drive to revamp a once great program? If the answer is yes, then Miami hit a homerun in the 9th inning to save the program. If not Miami will be looking for a new coach 5 or 6 years from now.
For the 1st time in a long time… It’s Great To Be A Miami Hurricane!
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