Mark Richt has been a fixture on the University of Georgia campus for the past 15 years. Along the way, he’s won a lot of football games, and led the Bulldogs to their only two SEC titles in the past 30 years.

He’s also made a lot of friends. Including the Bulldogs’ basketball coach.

Following the Georgia men’s basketball team’s 86-82 win over Oakland on Tuesday night, head coach Mark Fox started his postgame press conference by saying it had been a hard week. Richt was the reason why.

“Coach Richt said we all have feelings, but there’s also a proper way to act,” Fox said. “With that philosophy in mind, I’ll tell you why it’s been a tough week. We talk a lot about the Georgia Way. It’s not lip service. We try and help these young people find the higher road in life and every day that I’ve known Coach Richt, he has taken the high road. And he ingrained that in many of us. Whether you realize it or not, like you, Coach Richt made me a better man, and it was an honor to be his colleague, and a privilege to be his friend.

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“Everybody has opinions, and I’ve read some uneducated opinions and some half-educated opinions. I have a strong opinion. But what I don’t have — and nobody else does — is the expert opinion. Because we don’t have the expertise in football, and we don’t know all the facts on the inside, so I’m not going to be judgmental either way. But what I know is college athletics, everybody around it, is littered with fraudulent and counterfeit people, and you guys know it. Mark was neither one of those. Our leadership has demanded the Georgia Way and Coach Richt cemented it in all of us.”

Later in the press conference, Fox was asked what Richt had meant to him. He got emotional again, and talked about the first-rate football coaches he’d had the privilege of knowing, including Richt.

“My first job was at the University of Washington and the football coach was Don James, who Nick Saban and Gary Pinkel apprenticed under, and we had the same locker room,” Fox said. “We shared the same coffee pot. His office was 15 steps from mine, and he was terrific to me. I learned a lot about coaching and teaching. I went to Kansas State and they had Bill Snyder, who was a Hall of Fame coach. At Washington, they tied for the national championship when I was there. At Kansas State, Bill Snyder is as good a football coach as I’ve ever seen. I go to Nevada and have Chris Ault, who is a Hall of Fame football coach. I go to Georgia and I’m blessed to be around Mark Richt.”

Richt was fired on Sunday after 15 years at the school. His record was 145-51, and he led the Bulldogs to two SEC titles.