The Richt contract extension: What’s the magic number?

Mark Richt checks to see how many more seasons he has in his pocket. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Checking to see how many more seasons he has in his pocket. (AJC photo by Jason Getz)

Georgia wants to keep Mark Richt and Richt wants to stay. What’s left are details. But details are important, contractually speaking.

Richt’s existing contract runs through 2013, so it isn’t as if he’s a free-agent-to-be. Presumably AD Greg McGarity will offer a raise and an extension, which brings us to the heart of those details. How many more years?

This is a concern not without nuance. Too short an extension sends one message; too long sends another. Here would seem the alternatives:

One more year: This wouldn’t so much be an extension as a very gentle pat on the back. It essentially would say, “We like what you did this season, but we want to see more.” Outsiders would interpret this as McGarity feeling the rise to 10-3 from 6-7 was less a function of coaching than scheduling. A one-year extension won’t happen because it would undercut Richt almost as much as no extension.

Two more years: This would push Richt’s deal through the 2015 season, which is a good ways off and, for recruiting purposes, would allow him to assure current recruits he has a measure of job security through their college careers. Unless, that is, they redshirt. And if they’re not good enough to plays as freshmen, who wants them? (Kidding!)

Three more years: This is the most-rumored extension, and it would make some sense. Five-year contracts are the industry standard. (Even Paul Hewitt had a five-year contract, the difference being that his never stopped being a five-year contract.) This would be a virtual mandate for Richt, but a virtual mandate might be overdoing it. Does one bounceback season override two lesser ones? Will a different schedule — Georgia is scheduled to play at South Carolina and Alabama next season, though speculation holds that SEC newbie Missouri will take the Tide’s place — yield a less desirable result? Is McGarity, who hasn’t negotiated with Richt before, prepared to make the statement: “This is the only coach we want or are ever going to want”?

Four more years or beyond: Too long for any coach, even one who has won his division four times in 11 seasons. Skeptics among us — and they still exist — would note that Richt hasn’t won the SEC since 2005 and has never taken his team to the BCS title game. (Got close a couple of times, though.)

Were I McGarity, I’d open with a two-year offer but count on settling for three. Richt is still a handsome commodity in an industry where big-name schools have been reduced to hiring the likes of Jim Mora (UCLA) and Charlie Weis (Kansas). There’s no reason to tick off such a bird in hand.

By opening with a two-year bid, McGarity would make the point that Georgia likes and supports this coach but wants him to consolidate the gains made in 2011 and have even bigger seasons soon. By settling for three, McGarity comes off as erring on the side of his coach, which is the side an AD needs to choose unless he’s about to fire him.

Georgia fans could and should be enthused by the developments of the past four months. A team that was losing almost every in-doubt game found ways to win 10 times running. That said, the Bulldogs did lose to the three best teams they played, and only one of those losses wound up being close. For as far as Georgia came in 2011, there’s still a ways to go.

The good news is that Georgia again has reason to believe Richt is the man to take it there. He deserves a reward. But a reward isn’t the same as a lifetime contract. The aforementioned Hewitt got one of those, and seven years later Georgia Tech had to pay dearly to make him go away.

By Mark Bradley

561 comments Add your comment

NC Dawg

December 15th, 2011
8:48 am

First! Go Dawgs!!

Benjamin

December 15th, 2011
8:51 am

…and what about Coach Grantham?

juvenal

December 15th, 2011
8:52 am

Mark Bradley

December 15th, 2011
8:54 am

Kudos again to NC Dawg.

Mark Bradley

December 15th, 2011
8:55 am

What about Grantham? Well, seeing as how he was already making a fortune, I’d offer him … oh, what Nick Saban gets.

Lance

December 15th, 2011
8:57 am

It will be a 3 year deal with stipulations on OC if they fall short in 2012.

TyTyDawg

December 15th, 2011
8:59 am

The correct number is of course…6!!!

SimpleDawg

December 15th, 2011
8:59 am

We’re in too deep to hold back now…..

2 years with an optional roll-over year each year – UGA’s option.

He’ll have a four year contract every year, with the roll-over.

Jeff

December 15th, 2011
9:01 am

Mcgarity has executed his job as AD almost flawlessly since he was hired. In every situation with this program, he has made the best most reasonable decision. No reason to think he won’t in this sitution.

Charles

December 15th, 2011
9:01 am

I doubt there will be much negotiating at all. Richt doesn’t have an agent, and has seldom played games in the past. I suspect the deal with will be for an additional three years at roughly $3.5 per.

Grantham, on the other hand…

Hopefuldawg

December 15th, 2011
9:06 am

3 years, but only with a stipulation of hiring a new OC. Bobo can stay and be the QB coach.

SugarHillDawg

December 15th, 2011
9:07 am

Give him two more year and let it be known if he doesn’t bring us a NC, he’s DONE!!!!!!!! It distresses me that there are SO many UGA fans who are perfectly content with putting up with MEDIOCRITY!!!!

RCB

December 15th, 2011
9:10 am

Mr. Bradley,

You would have fired Mr. Richt after the South Carolina game. Surely nobody tried any harder than you to get that done. I am sure UGA and Mr. Richt will take your adivise under serious consideration.

DAWG ONE

December 15th, 2011
9:12 am

I would be opposed to any raise except one based on performance. Incentives, at his salary level, would provide the university with security, Richt with security that he earns, and not place the university in the position of having to pay out millions to a coach they no longer feel is what they need.

INCENTIVES!

Anon1

December 15th, 2011
9:16 am

Lifetime contract so he can beat Paterno’s record.

dolla dolla bill

December 15th, 2011
9:18 am

sign him up for life…nothing better than the mediocrity that flows out of athens during football season…you can forget about grantham…no $$$ for him…prepare for WM2.0…

chilidawg

December 15th, 2011
9:19 am

Three or more at $3.5M or less. Those coaches making more than that have BCS Championships on their resumes.

dolla dolla bill

December 15th, 2011
9:20 am

wasn’t that long ago the mt. rushmore of coaches who do it “right” included paterno, tressell, richt…just sayin…

Benjamin

December 15th, 2011
9:21 am

Sorry if my Grantham question came off snarky. I do wonder though, with his odd timing of talking about his contract, where he will be roaming the sidelines in the fall.

DawginLex

December 15th, 2011
9:23 am

I trust Greg McGarity to get this done the right way despite bulldawg calling our fine AD a “tennis player”.

All the haters are fearful. That’s why Chip Towers’ blog fills up with 18 pages of comments from the haters. They are afraid that McGarity is great for Richt, he listens to him and learns from him. They are afraid that Richt is actually getting a lot better with a mentor by his side.

The extension for Coach Richt will happen but the assistants will be next. I will be anxious to see what, if anything, happens there.

It may not happen, but I still think Richt needs to call his own plays and let Bobo coach the QB’s and recruit.

Realistic Dawg Fan

December 15th, 2011
9:27 am

I’m so sick of hearing the “Georgia lost to the best three teams they played…” argument… You’re darn right we lost to the best three teams we played. If you’re going to lose at all, you should want it to be to the best competition. Am I completely off base here? I’ll take a butt-whooping to LSU this year over a loss to UCF last year.

Sonny Clusters

December 15th, 2011
9:27 am

Signing a coach for too long can be risky. We remember seeing Coach riding a bus downtown and wearing a cocktail dress. He didn’t have an F-150 to drive so he took the bus. That was Coach’s last season and looking back it’s a good thing he didn’t have a long-term agreement.

Vanakatherock

December 15th, 2011
9:27 am

I believe they have a really good shot at running the tables next year. Most of the best players will be returning. I believe the biggest impact players they are losing are Brandon Boykin, Drew Butler, and Blair Walsh, am I correct Mark?

how2fish

December 15th, 2011
9:27 am

Mark I think your open with 2 years and be willingly to go 3 years seems most likely. CMR has proven he is a very stable force at UGA and if you are giving him a 4-5 year window that assures he can tell recruits I’m going to be in place as your coach. Well that can’t help but help recruiting, biggest wow factor in our recruiting last year was he got so many quality recruits while he was on the “hot seat”.

DAWG ONE

December 15th, 2011
9:29 am

Richt is as fair minded as they come. He will certainly understand several things: If he has been wise, which I am sure he has, he is financially fixed for life at this point; he can understand that he needs to produce winners more often than not, preferably every year (!); and that the university is only asking by offering incentives, that he do the job he is hired to do.
I agree with the poster who said that coaches making more in most cases, has won a national championship.
I do not see Mark Richt as a greedy person, instead one who understands and appreciates. I hope he is at my university for his lifetime. He is definitely a credit as a man, to UGA.

Mark Bradley

December 15th, 2011
9:29 am

It wasn’t snarky, Benjamin. My answer was, though.

Buzz2011

December 15th, 2011
9:29 am

The magic number is the real number

42- 10 ………….

WDE

December 15th, 2011
9:30 am

@dolla dolla bill and your point just gives us one more reason to keep CMR as our coach.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

December 15th, 2011
9:30 am

If he gets 3-5 years it will be like the sentences of some of his running backs.

evil empire

December 15th, 2011
9:31 am

Vanakatherock …add rent-a-dawg jones and and the rambo kid as gone too…why would they come back?…oh, to play in the chik-fil-a bowl vs. nc state next year…right…

DawginLex

December 15th, 2011
9:32 am

Russ, you are priceless dude.

I hope you never leave these blogs.

WDE

December 15th, 2011
9:32 am

@Buzz2011 no buzzie boy the real number is 10 of 11 and 31-17…that is the wining number. really if your going to play here you need to sharpen your light saber.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

December 15th, 2011
9:32 am

I read he was having suspension problems this year and was relieved that it wasn’t related to his F-150.

DawginLex

December 15th, 2011
9:32 am

evil idiot

JJ is coming back

Saban

December 15th, 2011
9:37 am

Please at least 10 years.

Buckeye

December 15th, 2011
9:38 am

Zero

Right in line with the number of big wins.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

December 15th, 2011
9:38 am

All I can say is when we got to Shreveport they pulled me into an electrical closet and spray painted my a$$. Later, I saw the paint cans over by the water table. That’s enough for me to know who was behind (forgive me) the a$$ painting. They say to forgive and forget but I will always remember that a$$ painting.

St Simons - we're on Island time

December 15th, 2011
9:39 am

I personally want him to retire a Georgia Bulldog, sign him Greg
look at Auburn, just trashy
look at Fla, just trashy & tragic
look at Tech, just a joke
we’re above all that, and he’s a good man

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

December 15th, 2011
9:41 am

Why doesn’t Coach Richt have a potato chip deal? Every other coach in the SEC gets a potato chip deal. Being it’s UGA he could get a pork rinds deal and it would be the UGA equivalent of potato chips.

South Carolina DAWGS

December 15th, 2011
9:41 am

Do the three year deal at 3.7 mil and lets get on to business. Double Granthams deal – just like Erk before him HE NOT THE HEAD MAN is the KEY-

Greatest mistake Dogs ever made was NOT giving ERK the HEAD JOB and we have paid dearly for that stupid Dooley mistake!!!!

Saban

December 15th, 2011
9:42 am

Thought LSU would win by more. Oh well always next year. But wait a minute Vanderbilt is the new beast of the east. Vanderbilt will be Georgia`s new daddy once Richt gets his 10 years to life.

DawginLex

December 15th, 2011
9:42 am

Russ

You know pork rinds are a Alabama staple

LOL

December 15th, 2011
9:42 am

What happens if MR gets blown out by Mich St? He has lost to every good team he played, and mostly struggle vs the sisters of the poor. A raise and extension….for what, being the best of the worst? I’d tell him ,” you have two years left, you’d better improve” And same goes for the DC. here’s a guy that has never been very good anywhere he’s been. Now he gets a padded defense on the backs of the easiest schedule in recent memory.

Did he stop Boise? No, USC? NO, LSU..NO! 35,45,42 Yea, great job….But you looked great vs New Mex St.

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

December 15th, 2011
9:42 am

Pork rinds and a pickup. Might not work all that well for recruiting running backs.

DawginLex

December 15th, 2011
9:42 am

Saban=Techie

Always hiding behind someone else.

Why don’t you call yourself Johnson?

WDE

December 15th, 2011
9:46 am

@LOL which of the teams we beat up on was your team?

ARdawg

December 15th, 2011
9:46 am

I cringe at the thought of anything over the 2 year extension. A 10 win season is a winning season and kudos for that, but, that’s all it is. The Uni and the fans need a nice warm fuzzy feeling not just the “reach around” , knowwhaddameen?

Russ, the Temporary Mascot

December 15th, 2011
9:46 am

When I sold my game-used dog bowl on e-bay Coach called me in the office and told me I might get suspended for the next few games. Fortunately, it was a busy week with the running backs and he forgot about me.

Nom Nom Nom Chucks....Taylor or Norris

December 15th, 2011
9:48 am

4 years, small buyout, and make this story go away. You can fire him if he tanks the ship and structure heavy bonues for SEC/NC games.

2010 BCS CHAMPS

December 15th, 2011
9:49 am

“What’s the magic number?”

I say give him 20 years. I mean, wow, that awesome UGA squad beat a whopping 10 teams in a row. I mean, no one can do that, right?