Mark Richt is out as head football coach of the Georgia Bulldogs.
Richt has been the Bulldogs coach for 15 seasons and taken Georgia to a bowl game in each of the past 14 years. The Bulldogs are bowl eligible again in 2015 after a 9-3 regular season. He would pick up his 10th double-digit-win season with a bowl victory, but the Bulldogs were picked to win the SEC East in the preseason and once again fell short of that goal.
Richt’s Bulldogs have lost at least 3 games in 7 of the last 8 years. The only year they didn’t lose 3 games was 2012. They lost 2 games that year including a nail biting loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game.
Richt’s future was a big storyline going into Saturday’s regular season ending 13-7 win over Georgia Tech. There was plenty of speculation that another season coming up short of expectations might be enough to lead to the school’s first coaching change since Jim Donnan was fired after the 2000 season.
Here is the press release sent from the University of Georgia:
UGA Coach Mark Richt to step down
For Immediate Release
November 29, 2015
“Coach Richt and I met Sunday morning to discuss the status of our football program,” said UGA J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg
McGarity, “and we mutually agreed that he would step down as head coach and would have the opportunity to accept other duties and responsibilities at
UGA following the bowl game.”
“I appreciate the opportunity of serving the University as well as considering any other options that may present themselves in the future,”
“On behalf of the University of Georgia Athletic Association and Bulldogs everywhere, I want to thank Mark and Katharyn for 15 years of
remarkable service to the UGA community, hundreds of our students and staff,and to college football,” McGarity continued.
“Mark’s record on the field was outstanding; however, his impact on college football goes well beyond the gridiron. His fingerprints are evident
on shaping the lives of children, many of whom attend a Bulldog summer camp or a retreat; they are evident on the prospective student-athletes as they
determine what college to attend — whether it be UGA or a competitor; they are evident on his current players, and probably even more so, on those who
have lettered and are in the workplace, as fathers and husbands. For those contributions, we are sincerely appreciative.”
“Mark has touched thousands of lives over the past 15 years — he has a huge heart and his positive influence has affected many people, young and
old. We will never actually know how many people were positively impacted by a comforting phone call, a sympathetic or uplifting note, an autographed
football or photo — he had the unique ability to shine a bright light on others when they needed it most.”
“Mark has the opportunity to remain on our staff at the University of Georgia, and would be heavily involved with outreach programs for our former
football lettermen via the PO Network as well as other University and Athletic Association initiatives. We wish Mark, Katharyn and his family the
best as he enters a new chapter of his life.”
“Mark Richt has been an outstanding coach and mentor to our student-athletes during his fifteen-year tenure, and we have developed a
strong and enduring friendship during that time,” said UGA President Jere W.Morehead. “I am deeply grateful for his many years of dedicated service to
the University of Georgia, and I particularly appreciate the positive way he has represented UGA. I have asked Mark to remain engaged with the
institution in a new leadership role, and I look forward to hopefully working closely with him as we advance our capital campaign at the
University of Georgia. I know all UGA alumni and supporters will look forward to celebrating the successful conclusion of his coaching career at
UGA in a bowl game later this year. I want to wish Katharyn and the Richt family all the best.”