Can Mark Richt Lead the Hurricanes Back to Glory?

Future 'Canes coach Mark Richt with former 'Canes coach Randy Shannon.
Future 'Canes coach Mark Richt with former 'Canes coach Randy Shannon.
Photo by U.S. Army/Dustin Senger

In many ways, Mark Richt is unlike any head coach the Miami Hurricanes have hired in their recent history. He's not a coordinator getting his first shot at the captain's chair, nor is he a promising talent plucked from a mid-major. The man has spent 15 years coaching in college football's toughest conference, winning the SEC championship twice. 

Though his hiring has not officially been announced, multiple reports indicate that Richt, a former UM player recently fired from the head coaching job at Georgia, is coming to lead the 'Canes. His salary is reportedly in the neighborhood of $4 million, a number fitting for an elite coach, a significant bump from what the team was paying Al Golden, and a sign that the University of Miami is finally ready to get serious about turning around its team. Richt will also reportedly have money to hire elite assistants as well. 

Some of the Hurricanes biggest fans are certainly excited. 

Except there's the matter that Richt just got fired from Georgia. 

To hear Georgia fans tell it, Richt was a great guy. A moral leader who kept his players in check and made sure they achieved off the field as well. A good recruiter too, but one who far too often failed to make his team live up to expectations. 

Hmm, a good guy who underperformed with the talent he had? Sounds exactly like how Hurricanes were describing Randy Shannon and Al Golden when they were calling for their firing. 

You could get a bit worried, but then again, Richt was battling it out in the SEC. The expectations were to win a national championship every year. The expectations for Shannon and Golden had become, "Come on guys, at least win the division. It shouldn't that hard." 

Indeed, Richt's 15-year career at Georgia overlapped completely with the entire careers of Larry Coker, Shannon, and Golden at UM. 

During that time, Richt achieved an overall 145–51 record. In SEC play, he was 83–37. 

The combined record of Coker, Shannon, Golden, and the handful of interim coaches between them during that time? 124-64. The team's in-conference record, including their time in the Big East, was 71-46. Take out the first three season's when Larry Coker was coaching a team assembled by Butch Davis, and the disparity would be even greater. 

Richt also had a 9-5 bowl record. The Canes in that same time? 4-7, or just 2-6 since the move to the ACC. 

Sports columnists seem fired up about the move. 

"An all-in, fiercely competitive, ultra-successful — and now highly-motivated — coach arrives at a program that can barely draw 20,000 fans to home games, is losing elite south Florida recruits to state rivals Florida and FSU (and Ohio State and Michigan) at an alarming rate, and hasn’t won an outright conference championship since 2002," writes Matt Hayes at Sporting News. "Get ready to win big again, Miami."

"Richt fits that bill, regardless of how people viewed him at Georgia," writes Brian Pedersen at Bleacher Report. "He ran one of the top programs in FBS for 15 years, and though he didn't compete for championships every season, he had just one losing record"

"He's not just a solid person, but an offensive mind and proven developer of quarterbacks," writes David Hyde at the Sun-Sentinel. That should fit well with junior-to-be Brad Kaaya. It should be a perfect, pro-style fit for this program." 


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