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Richt Should Get While The Gettin’s Good

What do the following things all have in common: milk, aspirin, batteries, and college football coaches?

Answer:  They all have a shelf life.

The age of college football coaches lasting 15 years, 20 years or Paterno-like years at one school is over.  That age is as dead as the dinosaurs (which, by the way, were actually still roaming the earth when Paterno put on his first whistle).

In today’s world, each loss by a coach is magnified.  Up-and-down seasons are no longer tolerated.  Legendary coach Vince Dooley would never last 25 years at a school like Georgia today, for example.

Mark Richt should know that.  He should accept that.  And he should leave because of that.  Richt should get while the gettin’s good.

Over the weekend, word leaked from Colorado that the Buffaloes are interested in Richt and former Oregon coach Mike Bellotti as possible replacements for Dan Hawkins.

A source told The Denver Post that Richt might even be interested in leaving the high-pressure world of the SEC.  But that’s not what Richt said Saturday night.

“Georgia’s my home,” Richt said after his Dawgs fell to 5-6 with a 49-31 loss at Auburn.  In fact — according to Seth Emerson of The Macon Telegraph — the coach laughed when asked about the CU job.

Richt’s new boss Greg McGarity also suggested before Saturday’s game that his coach will be back next year.  “I’d say, based on the first 10 games, (there’s) no question about that.  I know we’re 5-5, but you go back and you look at all the dynamics involved — how close the games were.  It’s not like we’re dealing with situations here or lopsided losses, of being non-competitive.”

Unfortunately, fans do not care about being competitive.  Fans want to win.  And columnists like Mark Bradley of The AJC will remind them just how much they’re team is not winning.  Columns like that will only make them angrier at their coach.

Wins are like haircuts… you always have to get another win.  It doesn’t matter how great your last win (or haircut) was, sooner or later, you’re going to need another one.

Losses, however, are like plaque on your teeth.  Brush all you like, you can’t completely get rid of it.  It builds up.  Just as a coach’s losses build up on the collective psyche of a fanbase.

A lot of plaque can build up over 10 years and that’s what’s happened with Richt at Georgia.  He should get while the gettin’s good.


Does anyone believe Richt can suffer through another 5- or 6-loss season next year and survive?

I’m not saying Georgia will lose five or six next year, but it is a possibility.  Everything’s a possibility. 

Richt hired a defensive coordinator this past offseason who brought in a new 3-4 scheme.  He’ll need to recruit players to fit that scheme.  Will Georgia fans be patient enough to wait on him to do that?

On offense, Richt has a future All-SEC quarterback in Aaron Murray, but receiver AJ Green will likely turn pro after this season.  Earlier this year he said that he might “owe” UGA fans another year due to his four-game suspension, but when Green starts to hear whispers of the money he can make in the NFL, it’s a good bet he’ll leave.  Green is a difference-maker on Georgia’s offense.  Without him, can Mike Bobo and crew put up big points?

Richt is facing a “one more year” kind of year in Athens.  Should he stay in Athens and risk a bad season?  Or should he re-set his employment clock and move West?

Colorado doesn’t have a lot of cash at the moment.  Richt would likely have to take a paycut from about $2.8 to $2 million per season.  (Poor baby.)  But the Buffs do offer a few good things:

1.  Solid recruiting ground in California

2.  A much easier conference (divisional foes for CU will be Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, UCLA and an NCAA-whipped Southern Cal)

3.  A fresh start

Coaches — all coaches, not just Richt — should look only at the bottom line when weighing one school against another.  That bottom line is time, not money.

At Georgia, Richt might have just one year left.  He probably needs to win big next year or else.  If canned, he would receive a nice buyout.

At Colorado, Richt would likely have three years of honeymoon before anyone ever started to complain.  And with CU’s current monetary situation, it’s unlikely they could buy him out anytime soon anyway.

If Richt is prepared to roll the dice on one big year — and if he’s prepared to possibly be fired next year — then he should stay in Athens and work to fix things.  But he should also realize that some fans (and columnists) will never climb back on his train regardless of what he accomplishes.

If Richt is not prepared to face unemployment, then he should pack up and head to the Pac-12.

It’s a simple question of time.  Colorado can guarantee him more time as coach than Georgia can at this point.

A smart man would put his heart aside and make the move.

It would be the SEC’s loss, but Richt should get while the gettin’s good.



  1. [...] Richt Should Get While The Gettin’s Good [...]

  2. [...] November 16, 2010 Uncategorized Leave a Comment Mr.SEC’s John Pennington makes an excellent case  on why UGA coach Mark Richt should take the Colorado job.  Couple of interesting points of [...]

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