Richt is now tied for fourth among SEC head coaches in annual salary. He has the same basic pay rate as new Arkansas head coach Bret Beilema [sic], and is behind the three current SEC coaches who have won national championships: Alabama’s Nick Saban ($5.3 million), LSU’s Les Miles ($3.75 million) and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier ($3.55 million).
Was it justified? Jeff Schultz (hey, give credit where credit is due, I say) answers that question.
Richt deserved both.
There are still critics. There always will be critics. They will point to soft scheduling and the fact the Dogs haven’t won an SEC title since 2005.
But praise for Richt is justified. Amid recruiting mistakes, amid going 6-7 in 2010 and starting 0-2 in 2011, amid being 7-10 in SEC games over a two-year-plus span, Richt got players to follow him. He made changes in the program, maybe even in himself, and he galvanized everybody around him.
That’s not easy to accomplish anywhere in college football, let alone the SEC.
The job’s not finished, of course. But as someone who had serious doubts after the 2009 season that Richt had the gumption to turn things around – to turn himself around, honestly – I have to admit he’s made an excellent start at rebooting the program. And I’m glad.
To those who say he can’t take things any further, well, you may be right. But I never thought he’d be able to fix as much as he has in the last two seasons. As far as I’m concerned, he’s got the benefit of the doubt again.