When Mark Richt was hired as the head football coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, I was co-hosting a local cable access program about Red and Black football called The Dawg Show. At the time, Coach Richt was 40 years old, and he had studied under Bobby Bowden, who coached well into his golden years. I quickly did the math and realized that, if Coach Richt remained in the Classic City until the Social Security retirement age of 65 and averaged eight wins a year, he would win 200 games, one shy of the school record set by Vince Dooley between 1964 and 1988.
Erring on the side of hope, The Dawg Show began the Mark Richt Victory Watch in 2001, counting down each of Coach Richt’s wins on what I believed then (and woke up this morning still believing) was his inevitable march to surpassing the man who hired him. When I made the transition from local television to the blogosphere, I continued that countdown here at Dawg Sports. Those duties were taken up by Podunkdawg after I left the site staff early in 2013.
When the news broke earlier this afternoon that Coach Richt had stood on the Sanford Stadium sideline for the final time as the Bulldogs’ skipper, I was given the gracious offer of an opportunity to resume that role for Coach Richt’s final regular-season victory. Because I know this has been a divisive issue for Bulldog Nation for some time, and because I want the healing and the reunification to begin swiftly, I will refrain from offering any editorial comment and stick strictly to reporting the facts. These are they:
Yesterday afternoon’s victory over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets brought Coach Richt’s career record to 145-51, for a .7398 winning percentage after 196 games.
After the same number of games, Coach Dooley’s career ledger stood at 133-57-6 after a 1981 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks, giving the winningest head football coach in Red and Black history a career .6939 winning percentage. Wally Butts, whose 140 career wins were the second-best in Georgia history before Coach Richt eclipsed that mark earlier this year, stood at 117-70-9 following the 1957 loss to the Vanderbilt Commodores that dropped his winning percentage to .6199 for his Classic City career.
My thanks go out to the Dawg Sports staff for giving me the chance to draft this posting one last time, even though the premise upon which I initially based it has proven to be erroneous. My thanks also go out to Mark Richt for his faithful service to my alma mater, for which I always will be grateful, and for never making me feel I was compromising my principles as a father by taking my son to watch his team play. God bless you, Coach Richt; you will always be a damn good ‘Dawg.