On the day he was hired as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, Mark Richt was 40 years old. Prior to that, he spent many years studying under Bobby Bowden, who continues to coach in his 70s.
Because Coach Richt was the candidate I had hoped the Red and Black would hire, I made a confident calculation ere he had ever coached his first game. If Coach Richt coached to the ordinary retirement age of 65 and averaged eight wins a season, he would finish his career in the Classic City with 200 wins.
Since the school record for career victories is 201, I began what I call the Mark Richt Victory Watch.
This is Coach Richt's countdown to glory, which I began as co-host of "The Dawg Show," continued at Kyle on Football, and now revive here at Dawg Sports. I have insisted from the outset that Mark Richt will retire as the winningest coach in Georgia history and I have kept track of each win along the way.
Following this afternoon's victory between the hedges, Coach Richt has 53 career victories. He needs 148 more wins to tie Vince Dooley for the all-time Georgia lead.
At 53-13, Coach Richt has the best record of any head coach in Bulldog football history through 66 games on the job. At the same point in their respective careers, W.A. Cunningham (43-17-6), Harry Mehre (40-23-3), Wally Butts (45-19-2), Vince Dooley (43-19-4), and Ray Goff (39-27) all trailed Mark Richt in wins and losses.
The real question, of course, is whether I will have occasion to update the Mark Richt Victory Watch one week hence. For what it's worth, I would note that the Bulldogs' 48-12 win over Western Kentucky marked the fifth occasion in program history on which the Red and Black scored exactly 48 points in their season opener.
In the four previous seasons in which the 'Dawgs hung 48 points on the autumn's inaugural opponent (in 1974, 1991, 2004, and 2005), Georgia averaged almost nine wins per year . . . and the Red and Black were 3-0 against the Gamecocks in those seasons.