First it was Colorado. Now it’s Miami that’s believed to be interested in Mark Richt. As noted earlier, it might be best for both Richt and Georgia if he found a new job. But I’m guessing he won’t see it that way. And the reasons for that guess are:
• He makes too much money. Neither Colorado, which might not be seriously considering Richt, or Miami, which surely is, can match the $3 million Georgia is paying. His job security might be eroding — he needs to win at least nine games next season to feel safe — but he’s not so near unemployment he needs to take a pay cut.
• He works at a big-name school in the biggest-name league. You don’t exit the SEC to take a job anywhere but the NFL. (The weirdo Dennis Franchione is the exception that proves the rule.) The SEC is the place a college coach works all his life to land; it’s not the place you leave, at least not of your own volition.
• He’s a Miami alum, but he might not be a Miami fit. The folks in Coral Gables are serious about football — they just canned Randy Shannon on merit — but they’re more serious about image. The Hurricanes have worked mightily to clean up their image as Rogue U, and their president is Donna Shalala, who served in Bill Clinton’s Cabinet and isn’t about to let her school revert to being a rule-flouting football factory. And Richt, as we know too well, presides over a program that has seen 11 player arrests this calendar year.
• He has no powerful enemies in Athens. Nobody who matters wants Richt to fail. Already bearing the scars from Jim Donnan and Vince Dooley, UGA president Michael Adams isn’t anxious to fire another high-profile football man, and Greg McGarity, the new AD, is utterly sincere in his admiration for Richt. Indeed, Richt was the biggest beneficiary of Damon Evans’ midnight ride through Buckhead. The former AD’s often-stated goal was to win championships, and 6-6 in a season that coulda/shoulda been 9-3 wouldn’t have been received nearly as well by Richt’s former boss.
• He doesn’t see himself as the problem. For all his cordiality, Richt is a massively confident man. He hasn’t yet conceded that his stewardship is in real trouble. (Not many coaches would, it must be said.) Asked after the Auburn game how Georgia had gotten to 5-6, Richt leaned on the it-was-just-a-play-here-and-play-there crutch
I say again: I don’t think Richt is going anywhere, but I do think he should consider it. Because I’m not sure it’s going to get significantly better for him in Athens, and because the understanding Mr. McGarity mightn’t be so understanding if Georgia continues to be one play away. A coach gets paid $3 million to control his circumstances, not to be the victim thereof.