“The Mark Richt loyalists up in Athens, and there are still more than a few left, are converting.”

Emerging national perspective on Richt’s career at Georgia, a year and a half after his departure, through the lens of the Dawgs’ uptick this season:

Godfrey said the game could put Miami in a position to run the table this regular season. If he turned Miami around like that, Godfrey said, “Richt can really change the last third or last quarter” of his career, with respect to how he is remembered as a coach.

He punctuated that with: “No pressure.”

At his old place, Richt had a reputation as one of the good guys in the game, a calm, serene coach beloved by players and fans. The only knock on him: as high as he raised the Bulldogs’ bar, as many times as he made them a contender, he didn’t bring home the big one.

“Generally, I think that was an overblown narrative,” said Atlanta Journal-Constitution writer Chip Towers, who covered Richt at UGA. “I think it became a meme after a while. It’s like anything else: there’s some truth to it. There were years they had really good teams and they did well. Early on in his career, it was all about his ability to win those big games, and road games in particular.”

After winning two SEC titles in his first five seasons, Richt couldn’t repeat the feat. Georgia was 25-13 against ranked opponents in Richt’s first seven seasons, and 14-23 after. He won plenty of games — 145 in 15 seasons, more than any Dawgs coach except Vince Dooley (201 in 25 years) — but the big-game performance, especially in the latter half of his career, was why UGA and the coach split in 2015.

“Richt’s problem the last few years at Georgia wasn’t really a big-game issue,” Sports Illustrated senior writer Andy Staples said in an email. “It was the fact that his teams underachieved for entire seasons. Losing by five to the eventual national champ (Alabama) in (the) 2012 (SEC title game) was nothing to be ashamed of. Not getting to the SEC title game after that was the issue.”

Stewart Mandel, editor-in-chief of The All-American, said in an email Richt “won a LOT of big games,” and while he “tailed off toward the end, and that’s why he lost his job, but I certainly don’t think of him that way.”

Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman noted in an email that Richt “dominated the series against [Georgia Tech] at UGA (12-3) and did really well against Auburn (11-5). His record against UF (5-10) wasn’t very good but it was even worse against the Gators before he arrived.

…  Richt’s rep as a big-game Charlie Brown, bolstered by blogs and message boards and elucidated by national writers, will be wafting around him until Miami’s contending for national titles again. A win Saturday would blow some of it away.

And it would draw a salute from some in Athens, where the same new-coach hope springs eternal.

“It just wasn’t meant to be for him here, for whatever reason,” Towers said. “He knocked on the door so many times. He was better than anybody they’ve ever had. Maybe Kirby Smart will take them over the top. He might.”

FSU appears down this season.  Miami is currently ranked; the Seminoles aren’t.  If Miami can’t finish the drill Saturday, expect more of this.



Filed under ACC Football, Georgia Football

48 responses to ““The Mark Richt loyalists up in Athens, and there are still more than a few left, are converting.”

  1. I hope the Canes beat the living hell out of the Criminoles on Saturday. It would be great for CMR. I can’t stand Jimbo Fisher.

    Liked by 2 people

    • ChiliDawg

      Yeah, Miami by contrast is such a program full of angels.


      • Historically, I would agree, and, traditionally, I always wanted F$U to beat Miami. After Jimbo and the university pretty much let Jameis do whatever he wanted, that game became a meteor game for me. Now, I’ll admit I would like to see CMR be successful on South Beach.


  2. Bright Idea

    I loved Richt but forget the numbers. His teams were not passing the look or smell tests during his last few seasons. He wasn’t getting much support from the hierarchy but didn’t want to put up a fight. Losing Bobo didn’t help him. Bottom line most coaches at one place for 15 years are on borrowed time.


  3. 3rdandGrantham

    “It just wasn’t meant to be for him here.” That’s probably the most delicate way to put it; well said. Others have mentioned this previously, but I firmly believe CMR lost a lot of his edge after his wife’s cancer diagnosis. After that, IMO his overall perspective changed. Certainly there were some other factors involved as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 92 grad

    Look, I hope everything goes well for CMR, I really do. He’d still be here if he had hired Lincoln Riley instead of schottenheimer. Riley plus Pruitt would have been able to carry the program. It’s a tough thought experiment because adding in the mix the friction toward mcgoofy and the overall staleness surrounding the program it’s easy to see that the move really was good to make.

    Ahh, too much drama. Kirby appears to be doing a good job until the offense runs into a top 10 defense.


  5. Just imagine if Richt had signed Deshaun Watson.

    He’d still be in Athens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ChiliDawg

      We couldn’t win the SEC with Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno or AJ Green.

      Deshaun Watson wouldn’t have fixed the cultural problems that we had under Richt.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 3rdandGrantham

        I agree. And Watson would have played with a horrid OL and would have been running for his life early and often. I do think he would have been able to help mask some of those issues, no doubt, but I don’t see the program going in a vastly different direction if he came onboard. The same applies if he would have hired a different OC, etc.


      • Dawg in Lutz

        Richt recruited the skill positions very well; but he didn’t do a very good job on the lines. CKS has made the line of scrimmage an emphasis. he wants to own that aspect of the game. i agree with owning the LOS. it’s also why CKS has the Dawgs moving in the right direction. Loved what CMR did for UGA; but Kirby will take the next step.


      • Aubrey E Walker

        The cultural problem still exists. It called Greg McGarity and The athletic Association. Just my opinion


  6. William Lane

    I loved Coach Richt as our coach and was mostly in his corner until the last season, and then decided it was just “time” for the change.
    That being said, I do think Coach Richt is vastly under-rated.
    My comparison is beloved longtime Head Coach of Kansas State, Bill Snyder.
    Snyder is ALREADY in the College Hall of Fame. Most people, I think, if asked if Coach Richt should go in/will go in… would likely say “maybe.. but maybe not unless he wins a big one” or some such stuff. But let me show some comparison..

    Total Record.
    Richt 157-55 (74%)
    Snyder 205-106-1 (66%)

    Richt 11-5
    Snyder 8-10

    Richt – 2 SEC Championships, 5 East Div Champs 2x SEC Coach of the Year
    Snyder – 2 Big Twelve, 4 Big Twelve North, and has a bunch more Coach of the Year awards

    I dont have my Phil Steele with me at work, but if you compare their records verses Top 10 and Top 25 opponents Richt is WAY ahead of Snyder.

    I dont say all of this to knock Bill Snyder, (although I do think he has always gotten fat off of WEEEEAAAAKKKK non-conference schedules). But my point is about perception.

    Mark Richt happens to have coached at UGA in the era of Nick Saban, who quite possibly/arguably is the greatest college coach ever. Coach Richt has coached during the era of Steve Spurrier, who most would also agree was one of the all-time great coaches. A few years back, prior to the start of the season (I dont recall which) I think one year UGA’s schedule had him going up against 8 different Coaches who had won national titles at some point in their career.

    Of course the arguement can be said “If he was great, he would have BEATEN those Coaches”. I would still come back with the idea that ANYONE would have had a difficult time during this Era at UGA.
    Compare Richt’s record and tenure verses any of the other schools, save maybe Bama, and I think you’d see he did nicely.

    I am very happy with Coach Smart, and think it was the right choice. BUT, I think the entire UGA fanbase might someday need to realize how special we did have it there for a good long while.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 3rdandGrantham

      You’re essentially comparing UGA to KState, which is like comparing apples to rocket ships. The inherent advantages UGA enjoys over little Kstate aren’t even worth mentioning – vastly different programs. If you honestly believe that UGA and KState are on an even playing field, then I’m really not sure what to tell you. I mean, good grief, why not compare UF to Iowa State while you’re at it. Hell, KSU is the redheaded stepchild in freakin’ Kansas for crying out loud, and what Snyder has done there is among the best coaching jobs of all time.

      The facts remain that CMR’s last 7 years at UGA featured a downright bad record against ranked teams, an overall record comparable to Donnan (and Donnan coached against far better UF, UT, and GT teams at their zenith), and an overall program with weak leadership in place, with issues seemingly always rearing its ugly head.

      And please spare the bowl game records – most of those in the later years were utter garbage bowls against inferior programs/teams. Fact is, UGA hasn’t played in a major bowl game since way back to the ’07 season 10 years ago. That’s embarrassing.


  7. No Axe to Grind

    Time will tell how Richt ends his career. Probably, in the same manner as his final years at UGA. Personally, toward the end, it appeared to me he did not give a damn one way or the other.


  8. Muttley

    Why do these guys keep awarding tech an extra win against Richt?


  9. Spike

    It was time for a change, I suppose. But CMR was a class act and a credit to UGA. Thanks for the memories Coach.


  10. Dog in Fla

    Miami and FSU both serve a necessary evil purpose

    “Miami: From a Bulldog perspective, if you looked at the state of Florida as though it were Afghanistan (and I do), the Gators, obviously, are the Taliban, while Miami is whatever warlord is running things in the Northeast. The Hurricanes don’t occupy anything remotely resembling moral high ground, but they are useful. As with Alabama, a healthy Miami helps Georgia; in Da U’s case, it’s because the ‘Canes recruit against the Gators in the Sunshine State’s hottest hotbeds for high school talent, although they don’t play the Gators that often.” (h/t Tommy Not For Nothing)


    Liked by 1 person

  11. AusDawg85

    Man, what an amateur job by the Palm Beach Post. They have no clue how to manipulate time frames and statistics to evaluate Richt. Thank goodness our regulars here at GTP are setting that record straight.



  12. heyberto

    I was more pissed about how his firing was handled, than at the fact that he was let go. He deserved better than that.I think Richt was right in the middle of making another course correction as a head coach, and needed another year or so to get there…. assuming Shottenheimer would’ve gotten axed. Nevertheless, I think we all feel good about the outcome today… and McGarity is still a douche for how that whole thing was handled.


    • dawgman3000

      “I think Richt was right in the middle of making another course correction as a head coach, and needed another year or so to get there…. assuming Shottenheimer would’ve gotten axed.”

      Pruitt wasn’t coming back and Richt had a bad track record of hiring coordinators, so any correction he could have made would have been minimal and temporary at best.


  13. PTC DAWG

    Just be at least good enough to take a few UF targets….


  14. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    I wish Coach Richt well, especially against the rest of the ACC, but some things in that article seemed a little phony. Like, isn’t Stewart Mandel the guy that said UGA wasn’t nationally known leading to the Montana bar test? He’s doing well at Miami and now it’s as if he was unappreciated when he was here. I don’t think that is true. I thought Richt was a find after the Hobnail boot game, and he stayed that way for a while, but I believe at the same time he had gotten tired wasn’t doing his best and the change was necessary – good for us and good for him. I think that is about it.


  15. S2ball

    Funny to read this today. I was just thinking there’s no way we’ll lose to Vandy on Saturday. It’s the first time in years I’ve felt we were sure to win an SEC game.

    So glad Richt is gone.


  16. South FL Dawg

    Richt’s biggest failure if I can use just one thing to describe it would be that he was very slow to change. Early on it was good because things were working but later on it bit him in the rear. For the record I hope Miami takes down Free Seafood U.


  17. Athens Dog

    I’ve always pulled against Miami. What a strange place. I will continue to pull for their opponent. Too much aggoagnce and …….what was that? Cheating.


  18. CrawforDawg

    I’ve heard it said before…It’s not that Mark Richt didn’t want to win as badly as any other SEC coach, it’s that Mark Richt didn’t mind losing. Think about it.


    • sniffer

      Something his FSU teams in the 90’s didn’t do much of. Losing, that is. Richt played on superior teams at Miami and coached offense for the greatest run of a decade in college football history (my opinion, but challenge me). His experience was the better team was usually going to win. He didn’t have a lot of “losing” in his career.


  19. Rampdawg

    Old news, move foreward. That is all.


  20. WE Dawg

    My take: Richt had his faults (IMO, chiefly explained as inordinate loyalty to certain ideas [e.g. roster management principles, directional kicking, OL recruiting philosophy] and people [esp. coordinators]), but all in all, he was a very good coach and an excellent human being. He left us better than her found us, and I’m thankful for his leadership and wish him the best. With all that said, I suspect our current coach is an upgrade. And I’ll always cheer for the Dawgs, no matter who’s at the helm. Go Dawgs! Beat Vandy!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Mayor

    I liked Mark Richt. Still do. But I am still happy that he’s gone. He wore out his welcome in Athens. Better for him to have left too IMHO. I wish him only the best in Miami. Steve Spurrier said it best: “11 years at the same place is long enough.” CMR was in Athens for 15 years. He overstayed his welcome.


  22. aladawg

    I’m just glad his team won today.