Hey, it wouldn’t be a normal August without some member of the punditocracy placing Mark Richt on a preseason hot seat list, would it?
Tag Archives: Mark Richt
This is a pretty impassioned defense of a former boss.
I asked Bobo whether he thought the criticism was founded Richt receives for having not ever won a national championship at Georgia.
“Here’s what I say about that: I went to school there, I graduated from there, I’m an alumnus, I played football there, I have bled and sweat for that school and did everything I could to help it win, and there ain’t another man in the country I’d want coaching at the University of Georgia than Mark Richt,” Bobo said, his voice level rising. “His time’s gonna come. It’s gonna happen, OK, because he’s consistent, he does it the right way. He’s going to win. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t. But at the end of the day, he’s going to be able to say, ‘I’ve done everything I possibly could – time, energy, resources – into trying to make Georgia a complete program that cares about kids.’
“Our biggest job is make sure these guys grow, not just as a football player, but as a person,” Bobo continued. When they walk out of school, they’re ready. They’re ready to walk out there and do what it takes to be successful. He does that better than anybody. There isn’t any guy I’d rather have there than him.”
But wait. There’s more.
“The misconception that makes me mad is that all he cares about, building men,” Bobo said. “People talk about how I’m competitive; I’m telling you, Mark Richt is just as competitive. We’d go on these trips as a coaching staff, Coach Richt is texting me first thing in the morning saying ‘what are we playing today?’ We’re not laying by the pool reading a book. We’re competing at something, cards, whatever, competing. When we’d play racquet ball at the Butts-Mehre, it was competition every day.
“He hates to lose. He is a competitive joker. That’s the thing that makes me mad. It’s a misconception that he’s trying to raise kids and make sure everybody feels good. That’s not how he is. … It’s not about making them feel good. It’s about making demands of them not just on the field, but off the field, teaching them right and wrong and how to be a responsible person. That’s tiring and taxing. But he’s never wavered from that.”
Like I said, impassioned. But I’m not sure it doesn’t really boil down to what Bobo claims it isn’t about – Richt caring about making sure his players walk out of the program ready to deal with life, more than anything. And that’s certainly admirable. But as a commenter here pointed out the other day, should that be enough in and of itself to keep the head coaching job at Georgia?
I wish Richt would go ahead and win a damn national title, just so we could quit having this conversation.
Andy Staples has fleshed out his statement on the Finebaum show that Georgia is the number one coaching job in America. See if you can find the flaw in his reasoning:
• I used to consider Texas the best job in the country, but now I think it’s Georgia, followed by Ohio State. Why Georgia? My top criterion is access to players relative to competitors, and Georgia is in a really enviable position. In the past five recruiting classes, an average of 113.6 high-schoolers from the state of Georgia have signed with Power Five schools each year. (Note that we’re talking Power Five, not all of the FBS.) That number is third behind Texas (179.4) and Florida (164.4) and ahead of California (100.4). The competition between state schools in those states is far more intense than it is in Georgia. With Georgia Tech running the option, the schools aren’t really going head-to-head on offensive players because of different needs, and Georgia is the bigger brand name. It’s also in the conference that more recruits consider desirable. Georgia’s situation is closer to Ohio State’s. In Ohio, kids grow up wanting to be Buckeyes. In Georgia, they grow up wanting to be Bulldogs. Ohio State was very good under Jim Tressel, but you didn’t see the Buckeyes take the next step until Urban Meyer came along. Now, they have the most talented team in the country. Meanwhile, the state of Ohio produced 64.6 Power Five signees a year over that same five-year period.
Do Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Tennessee, South Carolina and others come in and poach Georgia talent? Absolutely. But there’s such an abundance of it in the state that Georgia can afford to lose a few top in-state targets and still field a team capable of competing for SEC and national titles. Alabama and Auburn have to invade Georgia. During that five-year period, their state produced 36.4 Power Five signees a year. People talk about LSU’s monopoly in its state, but the numbers between Louisiana and Georgia aren’t even close. Louisiana’s average number of Power Five signees during that span was 38.6 a year.
Add to this great facilities (now that the Bulldogs are building an indoor), great tradition, a sharp athletic director, possibly the best college town in America and the fact that they play in the easier division of the nation’s deepest conference. That’s the recipe for a great job that just about every coach in America would crawl over broken glass to take.
• As far as taking the next step, there are a lot of factors. But let’s be honest. If some things break differently in the 2012 SEC title game, Georgia has a national title under Mark Richt and we’re probably not having this conversation. But the fact is Georgia has been the best team in the East on paper for most of the years since Tim Tebow left Florida and has two East titles and no SEC titles to show for it. Given its advantages and the current state of the SEC East, Georgia should be in the national title hunt most years.
• Mark Richt is on a very short list of coaches I’d want my kid to play for. He is secure in who he is and how he wants to run the program. He clearly cares about his players, and the program he created to help transition to life after football is a prime example. He hasn’t compromised what he considers his mission for the sake of winning. That’s great from a human standpoint and tough from a professional one, because he gets paid a healthy salary to win titles. I know no school president or athletic director will ever say it out loud, but coaches almost always get fired because of their win-loss record—not because they didn’t mold enough men.
Give up? Here ’tis.
Add to this great facilities (now that the Bulldogs are building an indoor), great tradition, a sharp athletic director, possibly the best college town in America and the fact that they play in the easier division of the nation’s deepest conference. That’s the recipe for a great job that just about every coach in America would crawl over broken glass to take. [Emphasis added.]
Now granted, we live a lot closer to the situation than he does, but I don’t see how anyone who follows the program can breeze in with an assessment like that, given what was going on at Butts-Mehre just a few short months ago.
Again, my point here isn’t to contest the knocks on Mark Richt that Andy lists with some validity. But I’ll continue to insist, as I have for a while now, that context matters in this situation. It matters a helluva lot more than Staples lets on.
Is it just me, or does Matt Hayes seem particularly fixated on Mark Richt’s latest raise?
I’m sure most of you have seen this by now:
Tell me, is that the look of a man who’s sweating being on a hot seat? Just wonderin’.
I don’t know whether to call Dan Wolken’s assessment of Mark Richt’s job security (ranked 11th in the conference) lazy or nasty.
Within the coaching world, there’s a strong belief Richt will walk away from Georgia and go do missionary work if he sees the writing on the wall. Despite his consistency over 14 seasons, Georgia fans have largely grown frustrated with perceived underachievement (his last SEC title came in 2005). If he goes a third straight year without winning a weak East, Georgia could start itching for change.
The lazy part? “Georgia fans have largely grown frustrated with perceived underachievement…” That “largely” toss-in isn’t based on anything other than the perception of someone who evidently spends too much time listening to Finebaum and reading message board and blog comments. Like it or not, Richt’s gotten a huge financial commitment from the school in the last half-year or so and barring some unprecedented collapse, isn’t going anywhere. If Georgia merely slips up and lets Missouri in the door to the Georgia Dome for the third straight year, it’s hard to see how the administration doesn’t give him more than a year to try to get a return on the new investment.
The ugly part, of course, is the first sentence, which sounds like something straight off the recruiting trail.
It’s a weird world we live in where Richt’s personal morals are perceived as a sign of weakness, while the fourth-ranked coach on Wolken’s list can evidently slide on his program being connected to a federal investigation connected to allegations of improper responses to reports of on- and off-campus sexual assaults. Maybe someone should ask PAWWWLLL about it.
Barrett Sallee swims against the tide.
If Richt can do what he always does—lead his team into mid-November with realistic chances at the division title and dance around the 10-win mark—that constitutes a successful season, just like last year was after Georgia topped Louisville in the Belk Bowl.