Miami Hurricanes made perfect choice by hiring Mark Richt

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After the press conference announcing his hire, Mark Richt, University of Miami’s newest head football coach, throws up the “U” Friday morning in the Shalala Student Center. Erum Kidwai // Staff Photographer

After the press conference announcing his hire, Mark Richt, University of Miami’s newest head football coach, throws up the “U” Friday morning in the Shalala Student Center. Erum Kidwai // Staff Photographer

Miami Hurricanes fans can breathe easy. After a nearly 40-day coaching search, the school announced Mark Richt as the team’s new head coach on Friday morning. Miami made the best possible hire by bringing the former Hurricane home.

Richt, who played quarterback for the Hurricanes from 1978-82, is everything UM wanted in its head coach: proven winner, strong leader and a great recruiter with ties to the South Florida area. Richt went 145-51 in 15 seasons at the University of Georgia, won two SEC championships and won at least 10 games in a season nine times. His .740 winning percentage is fifth best among active FBS head coaches. Despite coaching in a different conference, Richt has more wins against ACC teams (19) than Al Golden (17) or Randy Shannon (16) did when they left Miami.

Beyond his on-field success in the brutal SEC, Richt is also noted for the deep affection he inspires in his players. Scores of former players praise Richt for caring about them as more than just athletes.

“You couldn’t ask for anything more out of a head coach. You’re talking about a guy who is going to develop players and who could also be a father figure in their lives,” current Georgia linebacker Davin Bellamy said over the phone last week. “Coach Richt meant the world to me. I came here and he really took me under his wing as someone who I could go to if I needed any advice. He makes a huge campus feel at home for you.”

As a recruiter, Richt consistently brought in highly rated classes at Georgia. Since 2002, all of Richt’s recruiting classes have been ranked in the top 15 of the country, including four in the top five, per Rivals.com. Many local high school coaches have praised the hire and Miami’s recruits have been nearly unanimous in their approval of Richt.

Players – former, current and future – believe Miami found the right person to lead the Hurricanes. Richt is everything Miami fans could want in a head coach.

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