ATHENS – University of Georgia President Michael Adams isn’t generally known for his sense of humor. But he can provide an unexpected “zinger” on a moments notice.
Asked at his monthly cabinet meeting on Thursday about the contract status of head football Mark Richt, Adams said, “If we win Saturday he’ll be back and if we lose we’re going to fire him.”
He was joking, of course.
Richt has 2 ½ years remaining on a contract that pays him close to $3 million annually. There were questions about his long-term future as the Bulldogs’ coach when the team followed last year’s 6-7 record with an 0-2 start this season.
But Georgia has since won 10 games a row and clinched the SEC Eastern Division Championship. The 14th-ranked Bulldogs (10-2, 7-1 SEC) play No. 1-ranked LSU (12-0, 8-0) in the SEC Championship on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Now that he has led the Bulldogs to their fourth SEC Championship game and seventh season of 10 or more wins in 11 seasons as Georgia’s coach, a contract extension for Richt seems imminent and in the very near future. The contact period for recruiting began on this week and UGA administrators aren’t likely to send Richt out on the road with a contract of fewer than four or five years.
Adams said he’s now hearing from fans who want UGA to hurry up and extend Richt as soon as possible.
“I get amused at this sometimes, frankly,” Adams said. “I actually have had suggestions from some of the same people over the last four months that, after the 0-2 start, were asking the AD and me to terminate him, who are now upset that we haven’t renewed the contract.
“So you don’t respond to these things emotionally through the season. You try and get a couple or three weeks away from a season. Give us a little time to review the whole process, but I would be surprised if Mark Richt weren’t the coach here next year. We’ll just wait and see what the AD decides to do.”
Georgia Athletic Director Greg McGarity, who will ultimately make the call on the matter, maintained his stance Thursday that he would not address Richt’s contract status until after Saturday’s SEC Championship.