Bulldog fans fall in one of three camps today:
- You are sad/angry about Mark Richt’s departure
- You recognize it was time for Mark Richt’s departure
- You are thrilled about Mark Richt’s departure
I relate to #2. I said after the Tennessee game that it was time for Coach Richt and the University of Georgia to part ways. If you are in camp #1, I won’t argue with you. I won’t ridicule you. I was with you until very recently. However, things change.
But regardless of where you are at, there are some things that are facts that we all need to agree on:
- It was time for Mark Richt to go. He was given a second chance after 2010 to turn things around. He did. He signed Dream Teams and Ring Team classes. There was talent brought in. We were right there. So excruciatingly close. Things took a step back, and no coach deserves a third chance. Just since 2008, look at some of the players that have come through Athens:
a. Matthew Stafford
b. Knowshon Moreno
c. A. J. Green
d. Todd Gurley
e. Jarvis Jones
g. Drew Butler
h. Nick Chubb
i. Aaron Murray
These players are either in the conversation as all-time greats at UGA or the SEC, and/or are having successful NFL careers. No SEC titles with these players. You can say, “Yeah, but…” No quarterback. Good recruiting class coming in. Catastrophic injuries. Lacking administrative support until recently. I get all that. But losing games Georgia shouldn’t lose, and losing games in the way we lost them the same way over and over again isn’t a good look.
- His accomplishments should be celebrated. This is not like we are firing, say, a Will Muschamp, a Ron Zook or a Mike London. Coach Richt elevated the program. UGA had the most sustained success in its history under his leadership. This is not a joyous day for UGA.
- It shouldn’t have ended this way for Mark Richt. It should have ended with him hoisting a crystal football. It should have ended on a happy note. He deserved that. The fans deserved that. But it had to end. And it had to end now so we could get ready for the future.
- Kudos to Greg McGarity to have the cojones to make the tough decision. Even if you were the most ardent anti-Richt person, you are being disingenuous if you think firing a coach who wins 9.6 games per year and has dominated most of your rivals is an easy decision.
- But I really have strong doubts that Greg McGarity will make the right hire. And until some of the obstacles are removed from an administrative stand point, I’m not sure any coach will have as much success as Richt has had, or the success we covet. There needs to be total, sweeping change in Butts-Mehre.
- I fully expect us to one day in the near future look back and say “What were we thinking?”
- Ultimately, bad coordinator hires doomed Coach Richt. He lost all the good will he had built up with Willie Martinez. Brian Schottenhiemer was the nail in the coffin.
- Finally, Georgia will be great again.
You can be glad that there is a change, yet recognize the unfortunate circumstance this is.
I am reminded of the Greek myth of Icarus. Icarus was warned not to fly too low or fly too high. His ambition made him fly higher and higher, until his wings melted and he crashed down. I hope that in chasing the Sun, we don’t crash down.
But, you have to try and get there.
Mark Richt was the coach of the program that I love. As much as I wanted to see Coach Richt succeed, I’ll love Georgia football without him. This is a sad day for the Bulldog Nation, but maybe the next coach can inspire the hope that Coach Richt once did 15 years ago, or hell, just three years ago.