A Big Number On The Richter Scale — Mark Richt Abruptly Retires From Coaching
If you thought 2018 was finally going to quietly leave the stage of history, you were wishing and hoping for something which wasn’t likely. This supremely crazy year, in sports and everywhere else — the year which began with Miami figuring out how to build on an Orange Bowl season — has ended with Mark Richt choosing to retire from coaching.
That’s the word out of Miami, where the Associated Press’s Tim Reynolds got straight to the point:
BREAKING: Mark Richt retires.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) December 30, 2018
Other sources also reported the news as well:
Mark Richt is retiring at 58 years old and has been coaching since 1985
He’s coached at just 4 places – Florida State, ECU, UGA and Miami
— Doug Samuels (@CoachSamz) December 30, 2018
The reasons for the decision are personal. This was not a firing. Many will speculate if it was a forced resignation. Some will say that Richt simply didn’t want to build something anew, which is essentially what he would have needed to do in 2019 after his program collapsed this year.
Without getting more immediate comments and reactions from the principals involved, one can reasonably say this with a considerable degree of confidence: The truth likely involves portions of the above statements. Forced resignation is one interpretation; lacking the stomach to rebuild is another.
The middle ground most people should be able to agree on: Richt probably would have needed to overhaul his staff and/or make changes he didn’t want to make. Richt envisioned a specific way in which he wanted to do things, and 2018 clearly eroded his leverage in the attempt to retain his preferred methodology.
Rather than fight internal battles, Richt walked away. That’s the fairest way to characterize this situation without additional details.
Richt leaves Miami having failed to finish what he started, and as horrible as this 2018 season was, it remains that Richt did deliver a 2017 campaign in which the Hurricanes finally made the ACC Championship Game for the first time in program history, removing a deficit which caused ample frustration among fans and alumni.
Richt did show in 2017 what Miami was capable of becoming again. That season — the Canes hope — will lure an elite coach to Coral Gables and begin a new era for The U.
Richt’s retirement marks the end of a very successful career. Richt might not have become a giant in college football coaching circles, but his career can’t be viewed in fundamentally negative terms.
Richt was a winner.
He might not have been an elite coach, but he was a very good coach, well above average. His biggest achievement in coaching was his 2002 SEC championship at Georgia. That title broke a 20-year SEC championship drought at the school, and Richt won another SEC crown at UGA in 2005.
Richt never made the BCS national championship bowl game as a head coach. He did coach in that game as Bobby Bowden’s offensive coordinator at Florida State. He did so in each of the first three bowl games to crown the BCS champion: the 1999 Fiesta Bowl against Tennessee, the 2000 Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech, and the 2001 Orange Bowl against Oklahoma.
Richt, at 58, is yet another high-profile coach who has retired from coaching before turning 60 years old. Bob Stoops of Oklahoma and, more recently, Urban Meyer of Ohio State, have also stepped away from the sport as head coaches.
Regardless of whether Meyer returns to coaching, it can’t be denied that this sport takes a toll on the men who coach it. Richt obviously had enough.
Now Miami must turn the page and find a worthy successor.
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