Have Georgia's standards diminished during Mark Richt era?
Mark Richt might have the second-hottest head-coaching seat in the SEC behind LSU’s Les Miles.
But the question is, why?
Before assessing if Georgia’s standards have diminished during the Richt era, let’s look at what the Bulldogs have done with him over the past 15 seasons.
- They’ve won 74 percent of their games (144-51), which represents the highest winning percentage of any coach in Georgia history.
- They’ve gone 9-5 in bowl games and will play in another this season.
- They’ve won two conference championships and six SEC East titles.
- Their average record for a season has been 10-3, a mark they would match if they win their next two games.
- They’ve had one losing season.
Now here is what they haven’t done under Richt:
- Won a national championship.
- Won a conference title since 2005.
- Won an SEC East title since 2012.
Fairly or unfairly, Richt will always be compared to Vince Dooley, who led the Bulldogs to their last national title in 1980. The Georgia legend also led his teams to six SEC titles during his 25-year coaching stint in Athens, and his average record of 8-3 isn’t too shabby when you consider that college football schedules had fewer games during his era (1964-88).
Even though Richt hasn’t won a national championship, the past 15 years have been the best stretch in school history. Yet Richt finds himself mentioned in the same breath as Miles and Auburn’s Gus Malzahn when it comes to SEC coaches who are hearing calls for their ouster. Richt’s recent comments clearly indicate that he is feeling the heat.
“Who, me? Who made you ask that question?” Richt said after he was asked if he was “coaching for his professional life” earlier this week. “I know you didn’t think of that one. My focus is on beating Georgia Tech right now.”
Before Richt fields another question about his job status, Georgia alumni, fans and administrators need to ask themselves are few serious ones, including:
- Are you satisfied with a coach who averages 10 wins a season, even if he hasn’t won a conference championship in a decade or a national title for that matter?
- Is there a potential candidate who could do a better job?
- If LSU lets go of Miles and Richt is fired, would the Mad Hatter be a suitable replacement?
Letting go of the longest-tenured coach in the SEC is a risky proposition, but it’s a chance Georgia might take. However, staying with the status quo might be a better option than venturing into the great unknown and potentially regressing before eventually bouncing back.
Ask Texas about that. Or Tennessee.
The Bulldogs might not be getting better under Richt, but they’re not getting worse, which is something that plenty of FBS teams can’t claim.