A side-by-side comparison for y’all:
Coach A: Went 40-19 and 25-15 in league play over a five-year span at an SEC East school at a time when two division brethren won BCS titles.
Coach B: Has gone 42-19 and 23-16 in league play over a five-year span at the same SEC East school at a time when one division rival has won two BCS titles.
Coach A was Jim Donnan, who was fired by Georgia president Michael Adams in December 2000.
Coach B is Mark Richt, who succeeded Donnan and who’s under contract through 2013.
I know, I know. In Richt’s first five seasons he took Georgia to the SEC title game three times, which Donnan didn’t manage once, and won it twice. In those five seasons Richt bought the kind of good will Donnan never could. But Georgia, which has the same president now as then, has had essentially the same record the past five years as in Donnan’s tenure, and it has had many more off-the-field embarrassments.
(By Donnan’s count, Georgia had five players arrested in his five years as coach. Under Richt, Georgia has had more than twice that many arrests this year alone. And yet, when dismissing Donnan, Adams said vaguely, “This is about more than just W’s and L’s.”)
Donnan lost to Georgia Tech three seasons running; Richt has lost once to the Jackets in nine tries. Donnan could beat Tennessee only once and Auburn twice; Richt is 6-4 against the Vols and 6-3 against the Tigers. But Donnan’s winning percentage against Florida (.200) was the same as Richt’s, and Donnan never got to work against Ron Zook.
And for all those saying, “If not for a tipped interception in overtime, Richt beats Florida on Saturday and we’re not having this conversation” – let’s recall that Donnan worked at Georgia before college football went to instant replay as an officiating tool. Two Tech losses turned on late fumbles. (Actually, a Joe Hamilton fumble that wasn’t called in 1998 and the Jasper Sanks non-fumble in 1999.) Imagine if, after further review, those L’s had become W’s.
Understand: I’m not suggesting Donnan was as successful at Georgia as Richt has been. The Old Coach, as Donnan liked to call himself, never achieved the needed breakthrough. But if five seasons without an SEC title provided enough of a sampling for Adams to change coaches — a change with which I disagreed, I must add — isn’t it worth noting that the incumbent has gone five barren years with a similar record? And that the incumbent’s players keep getting arrested?