The University of Georgia and football coach Mark Richt finally agreed to and announced that new contract extension they’ve been working on since the end of last season. Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham got a new deal, too. It was even announced that AD Greg McGarity had had his contract extended, too.
But the most interesting part of all this news? Richt’s buyout. On Georgia’s end, the school would owe the coach $4.8 million if it fires him after this coming season, just $2.4 million after 1013, down to $1.6 million after 2014, and all the way down to $800,000 after 2015. If the coach remains in place for that length of time — which means he’s had continued success — it’s likely the contract and buyouts will be changed.
That said, that’s even the most interesting part of the buyout portion of the contract. If Richt leaves UGA on his own, he will owe the school nothing. Nada. Zip. Not a penny. Through the life of the entire deal.
Under his previous agreement, Richt would have had to pay the school at least $2 million had he exited for another job.
“There’s no question that Mark Richt wants to be at the University of Georgia,” McGarity said of the new pact. “He and I are in a great place. This is a very positive deal… I don’t want anybody to read anything into that other than it’s all good on both side of the ledger here.”
Georgia’s AD added: “I think people are gonna twist it and say whatever they want to about it. But I’m just telling you the truth. I’m telling you how it is between Mark and myself. There’s no monkey business here.”
Regarding that no buyout portion of the deal, Richt said:
“I think it’s Greg’s philosophy on the contract. It’s not something that I was asking for. It was something that he suggested and I said that would be fine. I think the bottom line for me, gosh, I think I’ve been here long enough for everybody to understand… that Georgia’s my home. Georgia’s where I want to be. Georgia’s the only job I want.”
“At the end of the day, I’ve always believed that money should not be a determining factor that people stay,” McGarity said. “I’ve just felt like that shouldn’t really be an anchor around anybody’s neck. Life’s too short. If someone wants to move on, I have no problem with that. This sort of allows people to do what they really want to do.”
Richt — as expected — did not receive much of a raise, standing pat on salary at about $2.8 million per year through 2016. His bonuses and incentives did double, as had previously been announced. According to McGarity, Richt’s bonuses are “among the top in college football, if not the top.”
Now, back to McGarity’s comment that he doesn’t want anyone reading into the no-buyout thing. Some already are. For example, there’s already speculation among some Dawg fans that the lack of a buyout might allow McGarity — if faced with a tough situation in a year or two — to “encourage” Richt to find another job. The coach, of course, could hold out, demand to be fired and collect his own small buyout from the school. Or he could save face, say he made the move on his own, leave free and clear, and keep McGarity from having to oust a man who’ll someday be revered as a legend in Athens.
Well, that’s possible. Doubtful, but possible.
McGarity himself received a pay raise from UGA’s board yesterday in addition to a two-year extension.
As for defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, the third year assistant will get a raise from $700,000 per season to $825,000. In the age of million-dollar coordinators, that’s a darned good value for UGA.