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Mark Richt to relinquish control of Miami football

Miami v Georgia Tech
“Paul when you visit Atlanta you’re still welcome to borrow my place on North Avenue.”
Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

In what could only be termed a minor surprise, Mark Richt this afternoon announced via statement that he’ll be retiring as the head coach of the Miami Hurricanes.

Richt leaves following three seasons in charge at his alma mater, compiling a 26-13 record. His time in Coral Gables was highlighted by his team’s 10-3 2017 campaign which culminated in an ACC Coastal Division title.

However year three at The U did not go smoothly, with frequent calls (familiar to UGA fans), for him to give up offensive playcalling duties. A 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl dropped the ‘Canes to 7-6 on the season and assured that 2019 would have been a “win or else” season in South Florida. It sounds like Coach Richt decided that he just wasn’t up for that sort of thing, surprising Miami administrators with the news of his departure.

It remains to be seen what Richt’s plans are from here. Will he return to Athens to make his home like former Bulldog coaches Jim Donnan, Ray Goff, and Vince Dooley? Richt sold his home in Athens to UGA swim coach Jack Bauerle, but his contract money from Miami and the area’s reasonable real estate prices should make it an option. It’s not inconceivable for him to return to the Classic City, where he remains a beloved figure.

It’s also quite possible that he could spend more time with the Paul Oliver Network, the organization to assist former players which he helped start after the former Bulldog and NFL defensive back’s tragic death. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him also take some time to dive deeper into the mission work he’s enjoyed. Richt has said before that a drawback to big time coaching is that it gives you a platform to do good but takes up a lot of the time you’d use to actually do it. He might also devote more time to the All Pro Dad fatherhood initiative he’s worked on with former NFL coach Tony Dungy.

One role taken on by a lot of former head coaches that seems less likely would be that of an analyst with another college football program. Those off field roles have been a great way for former coaches to keep a hand in the game while not jeopardizing buyouts that end if they take another on field job. As Richt appears to have resigned on his own that motivation doesn’t seem to apply, and frankly it sounds like he’s just tired of coaching. I wouldn’t say never, but I don’t see him sharing an office with Butch Jones in Nick Saban’s home for wayward former head coaches, for example.

I don’t know what Mark Richt is going to do now. I do know that it was a pleasure to cover him during his time in Athens. It may sound trite, but I feel like I’m a better person for having talked to him occasionally about football and life in general, and listening to how he approached things over the course of fifteen seasons in Athens. When college football writers say that Mark Richt is one of the genuinely nicest people in the game they mean it. The fact that he finishes with a .728 winning percentage, two conference championships, and eight teams ranked in the final top 10 should remind us that nice guys do sometimes win.

Whatever Mark Richt does next I hope he enjoys it. He’s earned that. Good for you, Coach. And . . .

Go ‘Dawgs!!!