News broke Wednesday evening that Mark Richt is expected to become the next head coach at Miami, just three days after parting ways with Georgia after holding the same position with the Bulldogs for 15 seasons. CanesInSight.com first reported the news.
On Tuesday, we explained why Richt would be a good fit in the ACC, particularly at Miami. Now that the Canes have landed him, call it a slam dunk or a home run or whatever; this is about as good of a hire as athletic director Blake James could have made.
It’s no secret that Miami football fans have been starving for success at the national level for more than a decade. In the last 10 seasons, Miami has won eight or more games on only three occasions, following a 10-year run in which the program strung together nine or more victories nine separate times.
While Miami has mostly been disappointing since joining the ACC, Richt has been one of the more successful head coaches in the country. Although he was ultimately forced out at UGa, his departure was essentially a result of the fact that, this year, he was unable to meet the high on-field standard of the Bulldogs program — a standard that exists only because of the winning culture he built in Athens.
The Hurricanes faithful would love if he could bring (back) that culture to Coral Gables.
Richt is a Miami alum. He was a quarterback for the Canes in the late ’70s and early ’80s, coinciding with the time that Howard Schnellenberger was transforming the program into a national powerhouse. Richt understands what’s expected of the team’s head coach.
Reputation is another important factor. Miami has been the center of enough negative publicity over the years, from the Luther Campbell to Nevin Shapiro. Richt is a coach who’s going to run the program the right way, and he’s not someone who’s going to invite NCAA trouble.
Then, of course, there’s that issue of building Miami back to elite status. And Richt has a better shot of making that happen than any other candidate the Hurricanes were pursuing.
Under Richt, Georgia was constantly reeling in top-10 recruiting classes. So what happens when you take that coach and put him at a school that happens to be located in an area that’s loaded with the best high school talent in the country? You can probably do the math.
It shouldn’t be long before Miami is competing for ACC titles, and that’s welcome news for a fanbase that, 11 years ago, never could have imagined going this long without reaching a conference championship game. Even with North Carolina’s run this year, no team in the Coastal Division is built the same way as a Florida State or Clemson, where it’s in a position to compete for division titles on a yearly basis.
No matter how you slice it, the Hurricanes hit the jackpot with this hire. The U isn’t back yet, but it could be soon.