Yesterday, Georgia’s beat writers were doing their job. Which meant they were asking Mark Richt about his future.
Richt was asked at his regular Tuesday news conference if he feels like he’s coaching for his professional life in this game:
“Who me?” he said laughing. “Who made you ask that question? I know you didn’t think of that one. My focus is beating Georgia Tech right now. That’s my answer to you.”
The second: Does Richt expect to be Georgia’s head coach next year?
“My focus right now is Georgia Tech. Who made you ask that one?” Richt said.
Then the microphone was handed to this reporter, who wanted to ask a question about the offensive line, but Richt did not know that yet.
“You’re gonna ask the same one? We can end this thing as fast as you want,” Richt said. “I’m here to talk about the game.”
Like it or not, it’s news and the questions were fair game. None of that bothers me particularly.
But this does.
Georgia is set to break ground on its long-awaited indoor athletic facility on Dec. 14. It’s a building that Mark Richt has pined for and quietly lobbied for during his 15-year tenure as head football coach.
But as of this week, with one game left in the regular season, it’s still not a settled question whether Richt will be around to attend that ceremony, much less coach in the gleaming new facility when it’s ready.
His bosses continue to be silent on the subject, holding to their policy with all coaches in all seasons. The belief among many close to the situation is that no decision has been made either way, and that Saturday’s game at Georgia Tech will have a big say in it.
Say what? You’ve got a coach with a fifteen-year track record to evaluate and you’re taking the approach that his career may hang in the balance depending on how his team plays in one game against a 3-8 Georgia Tech?
If that’s the case – and there’s no reason to think Seth’s reporting on the subject is anything less than solid – that’s a clear sign of folks in an organization who are reluctant to make a major decision themselves, but rather hope instead that developments (or maybe Richt himself, I don’t know) will make it for them.
That ain’t no way to run a railroad, if you get my drift. But I can’t say it comes as much of a surprise. Butts-Mehre has a track record, too.
And this is why I keep harping on Georgia football’s problem being something other than Richt himself. I don’t care which side of the divide regarding his fate you find yourself. Either way, it shouldn’t be hard to grasp the idea that letting things twist in the wind like this is the worst way to manage the situation. (Really, it’s kind of impressive that the coaching staff has managed to keep the next recruiting class together so far.)
It’s also why those of you who are convinced the football program can’t get any worse if Richt goes ought to be honest with yourselves about whether that’s really the case. I don’t mean that in the sense of simply making a bad hiring decision, either. I mean it in the sense that the same people who can’t come to grips with what to do about Mark Richt are the same people who will have to go about making any hiring decision to replace him. Why would you have confidence in that process?