I know there’s a certain portion of the black helicopter crowd that likes to insist the best way to understand Mark Richt’s decision to start Faton Bauta against Florida is that it was a deliberate move to force Greg McGarity to fire him in order to collect a fat buyout (on an unsigned contract, mind you, but, hey, they’re rolling here, so let that pass).
While I don’t claim to have any direct insight into the man’s soul, it seems to me there’s another explanation that’s more realistic. Read this comment Richt made to Paul Finebaum yesterday:
“I was really seriously considering taking a year off and just decide where the landscape was at that time,” Richt said on the show. “Thirty-three years in a row coaching can wear you down. So I was thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll just sit this one out and rejuvenate my body and my spirit and all that.’ But within hours of the thing happening, I had so many former players just call and text and just kind of thank me for all the things that they felt like I did to help them. … I was like, ‘Well, maybe I’m not done doing this.’ And before you know it, I had about six schools wanting me to be their head coach, and one of them was Miami, and I knew Miami wasn’t going to be open a year later.”
I don’t know about you, but to me that very much sounds like a guy struggling with an advanced case of burn out. No, that doesn’t excuse the product on the field we saw in 2015. However, it sure makes it easier for me to understand the context for that. And given that McGarity doesn’t strike me as the kind of person who’s gifted at helping someone recharge his batteries, so to speak, a parting of the ways between Richt and the program he headed for fifteen seasons seems more sensible than ever.