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A Day Late and a Dollar Short: Final Thoughts on Mark Richt's Contract

I know I'm a little bit behind on this, but, at the time Mark Richt was given his new raise, I had other things on my mind . . . with respect to which, by the way, I owe all y'all a picture:

Elizabeth Rose King.

(You can also find some pictures of her on my Facebook page. Yes, that's right, I have a Facebook page. Don't let yourself get bogged down by that one incongruous datum.)

Now, to the matter at hand. Below is an excerpt (with emphasis added, by me) from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's article upon the subject (of Coach Richt's raise, that is, not the birth of my daughter, which didn't get nearly the press coverage it deserved):

Alabama's Nick Saban ($3.75 million per year), LSU's Les Miles ($3.5 million) and Florida's Urban Meyer ($3.25 million) all make more than $3 million a year. Arkansas is paying former Falcons coach Bobby Petrino $2.85 million, and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville is making $2.8 this year, the first of a contract that calls for a $200,000 increase each year through 2004.

"The University of Georgia is committed to football," Evans said. "We've always been. Those other institutions have to do what they have to do. And I'll say some of those institutions out there have coaches that at this point in time that have won a national championship. And when you get to that level that is a different level."

Richt, for one, doesn't seem at all concerned. The Bulldogs' coach said before Thursday night's practice that he's more concerned with stability than money.

"The money really doesn't drive me but a strong contract is good," Richt said. "It's good stability for the program, and it's good stability for our coaching staff and for our players, too, I believe. The stronger the contracts are the more stability there is, and that's my goal."

Richt was also promised across-the-board pay increases for his coaching staff. Those percentages and/or amounts were not immediately available.

"I've always been excited about being at Georgia," Richt said. "That's never waned. I feel like I've been treated extremely well in a lot of areas, one area being salary. I never felt like I was being mistreated in any way. I've always been treated very well and I'm very thankful."

Richt led the Bulldogs to an 11-2 record and No. 2 ranking in the final Associated Press poll this past season. After starting 4-2, Georgia won its final seven games in a row, including the 41-10 victory over No. 10 Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl.

Richt's overall record is 72-19, and he has won 10 or more games in five of the past six seasons. The Bulldogs are expected to be ranked among the top teams in the 2008 preseason polls.

Georgia has gone out of its way to show its appreciation to Richt. It gave him a $500,000 per year raise and new eight-year contract two years ago after he had won his second SEC championship.

That contract, which runs through the 2013 season, does not change.

This confirms the initial inference that Coach Richt's existing contract remains unaltered, a fact to which reasonable denizens of Bulldog Nation may attach such varying interpretations as they will.

(By the way . . . did Chip Towers make two typographical errors in the same sentence, or did his use of the phrase "Tommy Tuberville is making $2.8 this year, the first of a contract that calls for a $200,000 increase each year through 2004" literally mean that Coach Tuberville is paid a little under three bucks per annum and will get whopping increases if---and, presumably, only if---he travels back in time to four years ago? If so, everyone who thinks I'm too tough on Auburn owes me an apology.)

In Auburn's defense, though, the toothbrush was invented in the so-called Loveliest Village. We know that because, if it had been invented anyplace else, it would have been called the teethbrush.

The most telling part of the article, though, is Damon Evans's observation that the difference between Mark Richt and most of the S.E.C. coaches who are compensated more handsomely than him is the fact that they have national championships and Coach Richt doesn't.

What that suggests to me is that, irrespective of whether there is an incentive clause in place ensuring Coach Richt of a pay bump in the event he brings home the crystal football, the athletic association is committed to keeping him in the Classic City and will compensate him accordingly when---not "if"; when---a Mark Richt-coached Bulldog squad wins it all.

Go 'Dawgs!