Time Has Come For UGA and Mark Richt To Part Ways

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

Hamlet, Act I, Scene IV

This is going to be a long one, so buckle in…

I’ve never been one to put an edict on “Georgia should do X…”  To me, that is short-sighted.

I’ve always said you know it when you see it.  After the 2011 season opener against Boise State, I was near despondent.  After the South Carolina game the following week, I was encouraged, even in defeat.  I saw things that were positive.  The 2006 season wasn’t nearly as disappointing as the record-with losses to Kentucky and Vanderbilt-would indicate. There were things that were encouraging and positive.

In 2010, a team that had a losing season actually was an improved team from the 2009 team.  Though the results didn’t show it on the field, I saw a team that was getting better.

In 2013, though the results on the field weren’t spectacular, you saw a team ravaged by injury play hard and not give up.  That was encouraging.

Something was there.  You knew it when you saw it.

Something just isn’t right anymore in Athens.  You just know it when you see it.

The time has come for Mark Richt and the University of Georgia to separate.  Things are broken.

I don’t say this lightly.

If you agree with my sentiments, then you also have to acknowledge a few things, otherwise you are not being completely honest with yourself:

  1. I want to make something crystal clear: Mark Richt is not a bad coach.  He is not the best coach in the SEC.  But he isn’t awful.  He has been good enough.  He has been great.  But he hasn’t been great enough, often enough.  We clamor for championships, but we clamor for championships because of the success his leadership has brought on this program.  But with success comes expectations, and expectations have not been met.
  1. And I want to make something else clear: his success wasn’t entirely front loaded. The early years with the Davids and Shockley weren’t a flash in the pan.  The last ten years since the last SEC Championship, Georgia went 88-37 (70.4%), including 4 top ten finishes, two top 5 finishes, and two SEC East Division crowns (and should have been a third, had it not been for injuries in 2013).  Not Alabama level of success, and not the level of the first five years, but let’s be honest. Many other programs would love to trade places with UGA during the past 15 years-and even during the past 10 years.  I can think of a few that wouldn’t:  Oregon, Ohio State, Florida State, Alabama, LSU and Auburn.  What other programs since 2006 would not trade places with UGA?  I can’t think of many.
  1. Overall, Coach Richt has done a tremendous job against the top rivals, with the exception of Florida, but the tide in that series has turned.
  • Georgia Tech: 12-2
  • Tennessee: 11-4
  • Auburn: 9-5
  • South Carolina: 9-6
  • LSU: 4-4
  • Alabama: 3-3
  • Florida: 5-9
  1. If we make a change, odds say that the short-to-long term will go not go well. How many coaching changes have sudden improvement?  I can count three major program coaching changes where the old guy who was successful at one point left and the new guy came in had quick, sustained success.  LSU with Saban-Miles, FSU with Bowden-Fisher, and Ohio State twice, with Cooper-Tressell-Meyer.  I didn’t include Auburn because I said sustained success, and they are not winning it in 2010 without Cam Newton and the cheating it took to get him there.  The 2013 season for Auburn was a fluke stood up on miracle plays, and the last two seasons have proved that.

Alabama, the program we all aspire to be, spent ten years from Gene Stallings to Nick Saban wandering the desert.  From 1997-2006, Alabama had 4 losing seasons, two 7-5 and one 6-6.  It only ended ranked three times in ten years.  Alabama’s record in those ten years was 67-55 (54.9%).  It went through 4 coaches-five if count Rich Rodriguez canceling-before Mal Moore landed Nick Saban.  Oh, and there was the whole NCAA probation issue, too.

USC is a dumpster fire right now.  Tennessee is a mess.  So is Miami.  So is Texas.  It took Michigan to get through the aforementioned Rodriguez and Brady Hoke before they got their Michigan Man.  After starting 2-4 this season, including losing to Illinois and BYU at home, do you think Nebraska wishes they had Bo Pelini and his 9-4 records?

If you say you want a change, and I am saying that, change does not necessarily mean instant success.  It did at Georgia once, when Richt replaced Donnan, and we reasonably can’t expect that to happen again.  It doesn’t happen that often.  The cupboard isn’t bare here like at other places, but also programs fall in the same funk and it is hard to get out of it.  Which leads me to…

  1. Do we really think Greg McGarity is competent enough to make a good hire? Face it, when was the last great hire UGA has made?  Mark Richt.  If we want to go from good to great, what have we seen in any other sport that makes us think this administration is capable of doing so?   Pat Forde said in his column that the right coach at Georgia could win a National Title.  The wrong coach can go 7-5.  We just need to be prepared for that (strong) possibility.  And be there for each other. And finally…
  1. Unless things get really, really bad this season, Mark Richt isn’t going anywhere. He just signed a contract extension thru 2019.  $4 million per year for the next 4 years is $16 million.  Plus about a million bucks a year per coordinator who each have 3 year contracts.  That is up to about $20 million.  Plus other assistants and we are probably talking a total in the $25 million ballpark.  Plus, having to take down all the pictures of him in Butts-Mehre!  And let’s say you wanted to buy out a current coach.  Plus, give them a $3 million per year salary.  For an athletic department that is tighter than a tick with the dollar, and who is going to solicit private funds for half the cost of the IPF, dropping probably $50-60 million on a new coach to replace Mark Richt will be a hard decision for the bean counters to justify.

I read what Paul Westerdawg wrote, and I mostly agree with his sentiments.  I started college during the peak of the Richt era.  As a close friend told me yesterday, we had our youthful exuberance of football during his regime.  My last year in college was 2007.  I had a pretty good run.

I was in high school when I really started following UGA football closely.  I asked my brother-in-law, who was a big fan, why Georgia would fire Jim Donnan.  At the time, I didn’t understand.  Georgia was always ranked and won games.  He said, “Programs like Georgia can do better than 8-4.”

What Coach Richt has done has made us want more than 10-2.  Under Coach Donnan, there were several inexplicable games a year that kept us from being great.  Under Coach Richt, there are just one or two.

But if someone asked me why I would want a new regime, I would respond in similar fashion as my brother-in-law did to me 15 years ago with, “Programs like Georgia should be the bride, not always the bridesmaid.”

I want to make another point clear:  I could care less about Mark Richt being a Christian. I am one.  I am glad he is.  But unlike many, that has never been a major point of my support for him.  I liked him because he was a winner.  Because he went about his business the right way.  Because there was consistency.  Because every season, as foolish as it was, every season there is HOPE that this could be the year.  We have been so close so many times.  I want Mark Richt to hold the trophy up and say “I did it!”

But instead of hope that we can win it all, this hope has been replaced by anxiousness.  Every time a ball is snapped for a field goal, a punt is fielded, a pass is thrown, we are thinking, “I just hope nothing goes wrong.”

Georgia is better than this.  Damnit, Mark Richt is better than this.

We are no longer hoping for success.

We are hoping things don’t go wrong.

Be honest.  When Tennessee scored twice in about a minute and half Saturday, did you think we were going to win that game?  I didn’t.

Can Mark Richt fix things?  Sure he can.  He’s done it before.  Do I want to be proved wrong?  Damn straight.  But do I care?

I’m not so sure.  But I am tired of seeing what I’ve grown accustomed to seeing.  15 years is a long time.  We’ve had some good times.  More good times than bad.  Some great times.

But not enough great.

I wish, I really do, that the end of the season or in a year or so, this post comes back and bites me in the ass.  I would love to be wrong.  I’ve been defending this regime, ardently, and been proved wrong more often than being proved right.

15 years, this should be figured out.  It needs to be someone else’s turn.

In my last post, I used the Lewis Grizzard quote, “If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”  After 15 years of looking at a dog’s ass, it is time to take a chance to see if the scenery looks a little different.

Now, I’ll be in my seat Saturday night.  I’ll cheer loud like we are going to win the National Title.  And don’t misunderstand me.  I am not going to take cheap shots at Coach Richt.  I am not going to say things like he doesn’t care about winning, or that he is a terrible coach.  I am not going to be mean spirited, like Bill Shanks. I am not going to hope we lose; I will continue to passionately and feverishly support this team.

We need hope again.  And right now, hope is nowhere to be found.

Something is rotten in the state of the Bulldawg Nation.

I don’t have confidence that Coach Richt can give us hope again.

It is time for someone else to bring that hope back.

Corbindawg

…it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry’s contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me a most humorous sadness.

 As You Like It, Act IV, Scene I

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25 Responses to “Time Has Come For UGA and Mark Richt To Part Ways”


  1. 1 Trey (@cpadawg) October 14, 2015 at 9:47 am

    I feel the same way. I desperately want to be wrong. I want everything to be better with the guys we have now. I just don’t see the rays of sunshine behind the clouds like I did after the South Carolina loss in 2011.

    Can things turn around? Sure. Start tackling. Convert third downs on offense. Cover the middle of the field. Eliminate special teams mistakes. Those are all cliche coaching things, but they are all things UGA has struggled with this year. If they correct those things, they will win the rest of their games. They are more talented than anyone left on the schedule. I hope it happens.

    There are two things that concern me about the state of the program:

    1) Our program is producing results equal to Missouri. When Mizzou came into the league, everyone thought the SEC would have their way with them the same way the Big XII did. Instead, Missouri has won the last two division titles, has more players drafted than UGA, and has had a better conference winning percentage than UGA. They lost to Indiana at home and to Gurley-less UGA 34-0 at home. I am not trying to denigrate Missouri, necessarily, but Missouri has been able to take advantage of a weak division while UGA has not.

    2) There is an insane amount of hope and expectation falling on Jacob Eason. What if he is only a good quarterback? He went in as the favorite in the Elite 11 camp, but he was inconsistent and ranked toward the middle of the pack at the end. He has size and potential, but what if it takes him a while to turn potential into reality? What if he can’t live up to the mythical status that is already being ingrained into the heads of UGA fans? Aaron Murray was a great quarterback. He holds many UGA and SEC records. Quite a few already expect Eason’s career to surpass Murray’s career and take Richt and this team to the promised land. If the hope you (the royal you) have in Eason is the reason you have hope in Richt, then something has gone horribly wrong in your brain. You should have hope in Eason because you have hope in Richt. If Richt needs Eason to save his job, his job is already lost.

  2. 2 dawg October 14, 2015 at 10:20 am

    I don’t think you made a good case for why you think UGA and Richt should part ways.

  3. 3 dawg October 14, 2015 at 10:21 am

    I mean Alabama was won a few NCs, but not every year since Saban has been coach. Should they fire Saban because they think they should win the NC every year?

  4. 5 dawg October 14, 2015 at 10:24 am

    If you think Richt has the ability to win an NC, we shouldn’t get rid of him. For all the hoopla about how great Spurrier was, “college footballs Mt. Rushmore”, blah blah blah, he only won 1 NC out of 24 years of coaching.

  5. 7 Thetruth October 14, 2015 at 11:00 am

    So no matter all the Richt good points, nothing really matters except winning a NC? I get as discouraged as the next Georgia fan, but please tell me who’s the next coach? Go ahead throw out some names of unattainable coaches. Talk to Tennessee, Michigan, Texas, Nebraska, USC, etc. etc. Sometimes that green grass is just a pile of green dookie.

    • 8 Free Shoes U October 14, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Proven coaches: Gary Patterson, Chris Peterson, Art Briles, Justin Fuente, Kyle Whittingham, Mark Dantonio, Pat Fitzgerald, (NFL) Jim Mora, Jr, John Gruden, Chip Kelley and Jason Garrett.

      You’re “THE GUY” that always says “who’s next” thinking there are no qualified candidates to replace your Mark Richt or who would want to come to UGA. Saban left Michigan State to go to LSU. Gruden ALMOST went to Tennessee.

      Talk to TCU, Baylor, Michigan, Alabama, Ohio State, Utah, Ole Miss, Stanford, UCLA, etc…about their replacement coaches.

      The sky is not falling Henny Penny!

      • 9 Jonathan October 14, 2015 at 11:50 pm

        Not a one of those guys you’ve listed has won a national championship either. Granted, some have only been college coaches for a short time, but some have many years on them. Jason Garrett? Good lord, he can’t even win in Dallas with all the money in the world.

  6. 10 BIG DOG October 14, 2015 at 11:25 am

    YOU DO NOT GET RID OF A COACH WHO AVERAGES ABOUT 10 WINS A YEAR FOR THE UNKNOWN. LOOK AROUND, WE ARE LUCKY TO BE
    WHERE WE ARE.

    • 11 Matthews Dawg October 14, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      I agree completely with you BIG DOG! Thetruth is correct too! There are no guarantees in college football. There are other articles stating that why we should keep CMR. He’s better at this point than other UGA coaches. He hasn’t won the NC, so he should go? He does the right thing and I think he should stay. I want to win as much as anyone, but I still believe in Coach Richt. I’ll be there on Sat. night and pulling for our guys! Go Dawgs!

  7. 12 lakedawg October 14, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Say what, you are out of your ——— mind. Maybe when you get a little older you will see how wrong your column is.

  8. 13 Alexis October 14, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    I disagree, not with the many facts that you put forth but the conclusions that were drawn. There are 2 developments in the last 2 years that give me confidence in CMR. First, we have a new DC (I do not miss Grantham one iota) who has a whole year under his belt and is bringing fresh ideas and better recruits. While there have been starts and stops I see progress on the D. Second, we have a new OC (I was a big Bobo fan and hated to see him go but the opportunity to be a HC was too much to turn down and he will be a hot commodity in ~3 years or so.)who has 6 games under his belt and we have some stellar offensive players who have committed to UGA (Eason, Rochester, and a bunch of 4stars) and we would undoubtedly take a serious recruiting hit if we changed HC (imagine more years with Lambert, et al). In addition to these changes which the team needs to absorb there is a new vibe with the coaching staff and support group. I think that if Richt was bold enough to make these strong changes then we fans should be bold enough to give it time to work, say at least 3 years. Remember, Vince Dooley did not win a NC in 5 or 10 years and it wasn’t until his 15th year that he finally did it. And, the competition is much tougher now than it was back then. Finally, maybe lady luck will turn our way next year or the year after – we are certainly due!

  9. 14 Dawgy October 14, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    FreeShoesU, you’re THE GUY, who’s always throwing all the coaches who a) wouldn’t come to Georgia for a variety of reason and, b) aren’t anywhere close to as successful as Mark Richt anyway. You’re THE GUY who would bitch no matter who the coach is because that’s what you do.

    • 15 dawgman3000 October 14, 2015 at 10:45 pm

      And you know coaches won’t come to Georgia how? Are you some kind of insider with connections to what every coach in America thinks about Georgia?

      • 16 Dawgy October 15, 2015 at 8:29 pm

        I’m not talking about every coach in America. I’m talking about this mystery coach that would be better than Richt. He has the 4th best winning percentage among active college coaches. So who’s your replacement genius?

  10. 17 Tim October 14, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Here’s another perspective or two. I graduated from UGA in 1984. My friends and I were fortunate enough to attend this school during, arguably, the best four year run in the history of UGA football. If you left UGA in 2007, you were not alive during this run. Imagine the emotional roller coaster ride I’ve experienced as a die-hard fan and contributor for the better part of the last 30 years.

    Dooley. Goff. Donnan. Richt. 35 years all in.

    I can remember in the late 80’s an early 90’s a Dawg’s loss would bring me down until mid-week. We vocalized a want/need for change often. “Dooley’s too old and has got to go.” “Goff is completely out of his league.” “With Donnan, it’s just not good enough.” It took us twelve years to replace Vince Dooley, the most successful coach in the history of UGA football.

    But something significant happened during that twelve year stretch. I quit giving a shit. That’s not apathy, that’s perspective. UGA football, to me, is what it is. It’s a four hour diversion from reality once a week from late summer to early winter. I love it. I pull for my alma mater with every fiber. I’m just not bothered by a loss anymore.

    Then there is this…money. The UGA brand and football team make the school a lot of money every year. Mark Richt, like it or not, is a large facet of that brand. He is, or is about to be, the second most successful coach in the history of UGA football. The program brings in increasing millions to the school each year. Until that trends differently, the good to great coach stays.
    .
    I’ll pony up for the Hartman Fund and season tickets yet again.

  11. 18 BayDawg October 14, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    I agree with Lakedawg….as “complete” as Corbindawg’s history is, I matriculated to UGA in the Fall of ’81, so while I am frustrated, I am not willing to dump Coach Richt….and for the records CMR has won 2 NC’s as FSU’s OC….bottom line folks….stop listening to the talking heads at ESPN….to win it all requires an incredible amount of luck…we will get ours…everybody chillchill out and try to remember that if you could coach or pick one, you’d in fact doing one of those jobs…..

  12. 19 Skip October 14, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I wonder if the “dump Mark Richt” folks are willing for their employer to apply the same championship or bust standard to their work product.

    • 20 Greg October 14, 2015 at 9:06 pm

      Richt’s average record overall and in conference over the past decade (4 losses, including 3 in conference, per year) is virtually the same as what got Jim Donnan fired by the same employer after 5 years. We’re not talking championship or bust here…not even close…so please spare me the “how my employer would handle it” BS. When you make $4 mil per year, you are held to a very high standard..at least everyone other than Saint Mark is.

    • 22 dawgman3000 October 14, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      I wish my employer would allow me to come up short with the company product for 10 years. I would probably fired within 10 minutes.

    • 23 JD October 15, 2015 at 12:36 am

      ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
      THIS

  13. 24 fred russo October 14, 2015 at 11:55 pm

    What a bunch of losers! Happy with 9 wins a year an a invite to the toilet bowl.

  14. 25 JD October 15, 2015 at 12:37 am

    And I’m referring to Skip’s post when I say THIS


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