The SEC Media Days carnival sure has been weird without Mark Richt.
This is the first time since 2000 that he hasn’t been there to represent the Georgia Bulldogs, a team that he led to a .740 winning percentage and an average of 9.6 wins per season.
Would you take nine wins as an acceptable debut for Richt as Miami’s head coach? Howard Schnellenberger, Jimmy Johnson and Butch Davis didn’t get there in their first years with the Hurricanes. There are no guarantees, no matter the quality of the coaching.
As Richt makes the transition, however, from SEC to ACC competition, he’s getting some nice tributes from his old league.
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn, for instance, took time during his turn at the SEC Media Days podium to call Richt “one of the better coaches in all of college football, I think.
“He’s one of the true professionals. I think he’s a great example for young guys getting into that profession of how you’re supposed to act, how you’re supposed to go about your business. So I’ll say that first, and it was an honor for me to coach against Coach Richt.”
Malzahn lost two of his three matchups with Richt’s Bulldogs. The lone victory was a 43-38 shootout in 2013, the year that Auburn made it all the way to the BCS Championship game against Jameis Winston and Florida State.
The only Georgia coach to last longer than Richt was Vince Dooley, who ran the show in Athens for 25 seasons and stepped down at the age of 56.
Now, at 56, Richt will attempt to begin another long run as Miami coach.
The Hurricanes haven’t had much of that, either because coaches are fired or because they get stolen by the NFL. Beginning with Schnellenberger in 1979, the average tenure of a Miami head coach is 5.2 years.
The only one in Miami history to stretch well beyond that was Andy Gustafson, who lasted 16 seasons beginning in 1948. How different was the job then? Well, Gustafson kept it that long despite a career winning percentage of .587 and one postseason victory, the 1951 Gator Bowl against Clemson.
Larry Coker was fired in 2006 with an overall winning percentage of .800 as Miami’s coach, plus a national championship and three major bowl appearances.
Richt is ready to give it a shot with the Hurricanes and he’ll be talking about it next week at a new venue, the ACC media day event in Charlotte.