Former Hurricane Mark Richt is coming back to the University of Miami as head coach, as first reported by Peter Ariz of CanesInSight.com. According to Brody Logan – a UM alum – of Fox News, the school will announce the hire on Thursday. The school has not yet confirmed the hire.
— Peter Ariz (@PeterAriz) December 2, 2015
Richt, who was a star quarterback at Boca Raton High, graduated from UM in 1982 after backing up Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly in the early 1980s. Richt was fired from the University of Georgia on Sunday after 15 seasons in the tough SEC, possessing a career record of 145-51. At Georgia, he won two SEC titles, had nine seasons with at least 10 wins and was 9-5 in bowl games. The Bulldogs finished the 2015 regular season 9-3.
“I think Miami is getting a great, great coach,” Georgia linebacker Davin Bellamy said over the phone. “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.”
Richt was Miami’s top candidate for the job as soon as Georgia let him go. After Richt, Miami was also considering former Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Greg Schiano, current Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen and former Hurricanes coach Butch Davis.
Miami’s reported new head coach was in high demand following his dismissal at Georgia. Richt said on Monday that “about five” schools had already contacted him. According to multiple reports, Richt interviewed for the UM job on Tuesday and the University of Virginia job earlier Wednesday.
After giving up play calling duties a few years ago, Richt said in a press conference on Monday that he would like to be more involved in his next coaching gig. “I’ll say this: if and when I do coach again, I’m looking forward to coaching again, in terms of being hands-on,” he said. “I miss coaching quarterbacks. I miss calling plays. I miss that part of it.”
Before taking over at Georgia ahead of the 2001 season, Richt spent a decade as an offensive assistant coach at Florida State under Bobby Bowden. Richt is a strong recruiter inside and outside of South Florida, having a top-10 ranked class by ESPN each of the last six seasons at Georgia.
Richt could help restock Miami’s incoming class after a string of players recently decommitted from the Hurricanes. Jacob Eason, the top-rated quarterback in the class of 2016 by 247Sports, is currently committed to the Bulldogs, but that could change soon. Eason took an official visit to Florida after Georgia let go of Richt, and Rivals.com reports that Miami is a contender to land the top prospect. Several other promising recruits are also reportedly considering Miami with Richt on board.
Richt would take over for Larry Scott, who was 4-1 as interim head coach after replacing Al Golden on Oct. 25. Golden was fired following the team’s 58-0 defeat at home to Clemson, the worst loss in UM history. It is unknown if Scott will remain on the staff.
Scott’s younger brother, LaVaar, said over a direct message on Twitter that he had not spoken to his brother several hours after reports of Richt’s hire surfaced. “I spoke [to] him earlier before the news broke. He has been working recruiting hard,” Scott said of his brother. “I pray all of his hard work and dedication will be noticed.”
Richt’s reported hire was met with overwhelming approval by the Hurricanes fan base. Eighty-eight percent of the 5,000-plus participants in a Miami Herald poll voted they either liked or loved the hire.
Richt would inherit a team that finished 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the ACC in the 2015 regular season. The Hurricanes haven’t won 10 games in a season since joining the ACC in 2004 and haven’t won a bowl game since 2006.