Media outlets came into the 2011 season declaring that Mark Richt was on the proverbial hot seat. After an 0-2 start, they declared that his firing was intimate. Now, after 10 straight wins there is a Gaming Today report surfacing that Richt will be leaving at the end of the season by his own choice.
Before I go any further, let me address this rumor as it pertains to this particular article. If you believe that the source used for this rumor has any credibility, you are either outside of the UGA loop or very naïve.
The first sign that this source is not legit is that it lists Mike Bobo and Derek Dooley as the leading candidates for his replacement. There is a much stronger chance that Bobo would be demoted to quarterback coach than there is that he would be hired as the head coach. Just for the record, neither are going to happen anytime soon.
The other candidate that they list is Derek Dooley. Whenever I hear his name linked to the UGA job it is almost as comical as Kirby Smart. Neither will ever be hired by the Bulldogs as long as Michael Adams is employed at the University of Georgia. That is a guarantee and no credible source will ever tell you anything different.
Had the site said Todd Grantham, the article might have been worth reading. However, anyone who mentions Dooley or Smart as candidates does not have connections on the inside of the Georgia football program. Take that as a rule of thumb in the future.
Could Mark Richt leave the UGA football program after this season? Absolutely. Is it probable? No.
Mark Richt loves the University of Georgia as much as any coach in the nation loves their university. He might have graduated from Miami and got his start at Florida State, but the man bleeds red and black.
However, there is the God factor. Richt is a devout Christian and loves participating in world missions. He takes many trips each year to foreign countries to minister to the less fortunate. His passion for missions could lead to him retiring and doing it full time.
I do not see this happening for several years, however. The Richt family has four children, two who are adopted from the Ukraine’s. The youngest child is only 14 and has a rare disorder known as Proteus Syndrome. As a result, I could not see this happening within five years.
However, as I stated above, there is always the God factor.
From a football standpoint, the 2012 team could be the best yet. They will return nine players from a defensive unit that ranks fourth in the nation in total defense. Aaron Murray will return with every skill position back on offense including their backups.
The Bulldogs will be losing three linemen, however, they will have players with quality playing-time back. Several backup linemen have played quality minutes because of injuries this season.
As of now, I can say with full confidence that Richt will be back next season. He is recruiting specific players who only want to come to Georgia if he is there including John Theus and Keith Marshall. Richt would have the integrity to tell them he was not returning since they have made this issue clear.
So the final question that must be asked, where did this rumor came from? Is this a person just trying to drive traffic to their website? This was my first inclination. However, after further research I found that the company was owned by Dirson Enterprises. They specialize in casino gambling. As I went through years of past articles, none seemed to fit this mode. This leads me to believe that this information was given to them by someone and did not come off the top of their head.
So who gave them this false information? Who would have something to gain from this rumor spreading?
I will leave the conclusion to your discretion, but it is the same people who benefited from the hot-seat talk.