Bringing a fifty five year old, balding ardent Christian with a tinge of a Southern accent to South Florida may not be the sexiest hire… It may not reignite the swagger and passion in player’s hearts overnight… It may not satisfy the traditional generation of hardcore Canes fans looking for a coach with a mean streak and an ego. But Miami made the right decision this past week in hiring Mr. Mark Richt.
There was one clear prerequisite going into this coaching search. Miami needed a Miami guy. The Canes have one of the most unique situations in football as a small private school without the big time facilities or support of many college football blue bloods, but higher expectations and passion than every other school put together due to an ever-fertile home recruiting hotbed and a winning history. The Canes saw in five painful years under the Al Golden experiment that bringing in a different kind of coach to change the style of the “U’ just doesn’t work. The Hurricanes need a guy who understands the culture and history of the team, university, and fanbase. And they got just that in Mark Richt. He was a backup quarterback at Miami from 1979-1982 under the great Howard Schnellenberger, witnessing the beginning of one of the greatest dynasties of all time. Richt is a Canes alum and Canes lifer. Miami has landed themselves a Miami man.
A Big Name Hire
If there’s one thing Richt brings to the “U” it’s pedigree. He built a winning tradition as head coach of a major program up in Athens, Georgia, compiling a 145-51, 9-5 bowl game record, 2 SEC Championships, 6 SEC East titles, 2 BCS Bowl wins, and 9 (perhaps ten by the end of the year) ten win seasons. Of course, he did this while hauling in some of the most stellar recruiting classes in the country in one of the toughest conferences in the country. He also assembled the most prolific NFL pipeline in the past fifteen years, developing a penchant of pumping players into the league. Meanwhile, he achieved all of these outstanding accolades while representing the university and himself with class and respect, and becoming one of the most beloved coaches around due to his kind, humble nature and inspirational impact on his players. The name Mark Richt means something. It means consistent greatness, integrity, and passion. Richt is a brand, and he gives a Miami program desperately craving it an identity and face of the team.
Revitalizing “The State of Miami”
Richt is a flat out amazing recruiter. His classes at Georgia consistently ranked in the top five in the nation while plucking out some of the best Florida has to offer (Sony Michel anyone?). Richt’s eye for talent and stellar recruiting chops will be a welcome addition in Coral Gables, and as he builds what one can prognosticate to be a phenomenal staff, you can bet on Richt becoming the first Canes coach in years to truly own South Florida recruiting.
Rebuilding the Road from Miami to the NFL
When Miami was great, they were pumping players into the big leagues like no other team could. Richt will continue this tradition while improving it over recent performance. I could bore you with endless stats and numbers of the players he’s gotten to the next level, but just listen to some of the names… AJ Green… Mathew Stafford… Todd Gurley…. Geno Atkins…. Reshad Jones. These aren’t NFL players. These are NFL stars. Richt will pump players into the NFL better than any coach around, and this is the backbone of the “U”.
An Offensive Guru
Richt is one of the greatest offensive minds in the game. From his days at the school up North to his time in Athens, he always piloted transcendent offenses. He’s a quarterback whisperer and dynamic play caller who keeps opposing defensive coordinator up late at night. With his renewed commitment to a hands on approach to the offense, expect this side of the ball to absolutely take off. Watch out college football world, Brad Kaaya was a very good quarterback before. This coming season, he won’t be a very good quarterback anymore…. He’ll be great quarterback on a great offense that is embarrassing defenses.
A Simply Good Person
Football is a business that includes exorbitant levels of arrogance, egotistical nature, and selfishness. But there are also plenty of simply, good and kind people who make the sport worth playing. Mark Richt is one of those people. He’s a genuinely good, pious man who not only values talent but character too. He’s a moral leader to his team and community, and he is a pillar of the society around him. Winning games is always the focus of the media, but winning off the field in life and society is the ultimate goal for these players. Richt helps them to achieve those goals.
This is a flawless hire for Miami. They got every single characteristic the wanted in their new coach:
- Miami Guy- Check
- Experienced, Winning veteran coach (but not too old)- Check
- Great Recruiter- Check
- Coach with a Identity (offensive or defensive guru)- Check
- Coach who can get players in the NFL- Check
- A coach who players can respect and look up to-Check
- A coach who fans can get behind and rally around-Check
Richt is a home run hire, and Miami nailed it. Much maligned athletic director, Blake James, deserves every ounce of credit he’s bestowed. This was executed perfectly, and Miami is set up for a bright future. Richt will return consistent ten win seasons to Miami while occasionally seriously contending for national championships. He’ll also represent the university well, and he’ll be in the Gables for many years. Richt is the man Miami needed, and Miami landed him. Canes fans are still itching to say the patented phrase “We’re Back”. You can’t say it quite yet fellow fans, but you can say “This is the man who will bring us Back”.