It may seem a little early to bring up the term "Hall of Fame" with a coach who is still relatively young, but with a career more than a decade long, there is plenty to sample from up to this point.
Coach Mark Richt arrived at Georgia for the 2001 season after several attempts to replace the legendary Vince Dooley had failed and left fans longing for the days of old. By his second season, the Bulldogs were one touchdown against the Gators away from playing for the national title, finishing No. 3 in the nation. UGA fans settled for a Southeastern Conference title and a Sugar Bowl victory, but Richt had officially arrived as a head coach.
Richt has an overall record of 106-37, going 60-28 in the SEC and 7-4 in bowl games. Under the Bobby Bowden protege, Georgia football has had seven seasons with double-digit wins, and has played in the post season every single year, including three BCS bowl game appearances with two wins.
Along with Florida, the Dawgs have dominated the SEC East under Richt with a share of five division titles ('02, '03, '05, '07, '11), including four title game appearances ('02, '03, '05, '11) and two championships ('02, '05). This didn't happen when the SEC was down either, but at a time when the SEC East was one of the better divisions in all of college football.
The two-time SEC Coach of the Year has a couple of national title rings for his time as offensive coordinator at Florida State, but his lack of a crystal football in Athens seems to be the only reason anyone may even question his Hall of Fame worthiness. However, there is no such official requirement in the qualifications to be considered.
It is not hard to see that, after it has come to an end, the career of Mark Richt certainly warrants not only the appreciation of Georgia football fans for keeping the program stable and keeping the Bulldogs relevant, but a more official form of praise with a College Football Hall of Fame induction down the road.
What are your thoughts?
All statistics and records are as of the end of the 2011 season and are from the following sources: