DESTIN, Fla. — Is Georgia football coach Mark Richt on the hot seat?
Yes, according to several media-conceived lists of coaches whose jobs could be in jeopardy after the 2010 season.
No, according to Richt’s bosses.
In separate interviews at the SEC spring meetings here Wednesday, UGA President Michael Adams and athletics director Damon Evans rejected speculation that Richt will enter the season with the heat turned up on his job security.
“I don’t pay that stuff any attention,” Evans said. “Mark is a good football coach. I’m glad he’s our football coach. He’s had a great track record here.
“I think when they see a little adversity, people want to jump on it and attack it,” Evans said. “There is no need for that because he’s not on a hot seat. Mark is in a good place with us.”
Said Adams: “I don’t know whose hot seat he is on. He’s got a pretty nice long-term contract, seems to have the AD’s support, and I don’t have any reason to know where a hot seat would be.”
Adams acknowledged, though, that Georgia’s 2009 football season (8-5) was substandard and noted that all UGA coaches face high expectations.
“Did anybody think last year was a great year in football? No,” Adams said. “But most people would say I’ve had a year or two that weren’t too hot, too.”
Among the publications and Web sites that have put Richt on off-season lists of coaches who are believed — at least by those making the lists — to be on the proverbial hot seat are the Orlando Sentinel and the Mobile Press-Register. CBSSports.com gave Richt a “hot seat rating” of 3.0, meaning “on the bubble — you never know.” ESPN has weighed in about the topic on various platforms.
On Tuesday, Richt professed not to be aware of any of this, saying he didn’t know his name had appeared on such lists. “Is that true?” he asked. On Wednesday, he declined to delve into the issue, saying cheerfully: “I’m just doing my job.”
Georgia has averaged 10 wins per season in nine years under Richt, going 90-27 and winning two SEC championships. On the other hand, the Bulldogs’ most recent SEC title was in 2005, and they are 2-7 vs. Florida under Richt.
Although rejecting the hot-seat tag, Adams referred to comments Evans made at last week’s UGA Athletic Association board of directors meeting in which he expressed disappointment with the school’s all-around sports year.
“There are very high expectations at the University of Georgia,” Adams said. “We feel like we have the fan base, we have the financial resources, we have the facilities, we have the capacity to recruit. … Here we finished second in the SEC [all-sports standings], and nobody was satisfied because we did feel like it was a year where several teams underperformed. And I think if you asked any of those coaches they would say the same thing.
“I think people need not lose sight of the pressures that are on all of these folks to compete, just by nature of the expectations. And that’s fairly characteristic now of the whole university. We expect business professors and physics professors to publish and to teach well. … I don’t know of anybody who thinks we’ve not made adjustments as were needed [in football], and we’ve made adjustments through the years in other sports and we will again if they don’t perform at a high level. But I don’t think characterizing Mark as being on the hot seat from my standpoint is fair.”
Asked if that would change with another football season like last fall’s, Adams passed.
“You know me well enough [to know] I don’t deal in … hypotheticals,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a good year. I think we have a good, solid team. I think the defense is going to be improved. We’ll just have to wait and see, but let’s also not forget that this is by any measure the most competitive football league in America. … We want and expect to win, but you’re just not always going to win.”
Please follow @ajcuga on Twitter for the latest UGA news and notes.