The message boards are awash with rumors that Mark Richt is a top candidate for the newly opened head coaching job at A&M. While it is understandable that A&M would consider a coach like Richt, what makes this rumor interesting is that it states that Richt was the one who instigated the discussion.
This facet of the rumor has sparked heated debate between the two sides. What is concerning to the Mark Richt faithful is that the ones spreading the information have proven themselves to be right more often than they are wrong. I followed them during the A&M-to-SEC process, and they were days ahead of everyone else on this info.
The rumors have gotten so loud that Georgia’s athletic director Greg McGarity had to put out a formal statement saying that they were false. Every reliable source of information on the UGA side has denied the rumors as well.
Just for argument's sake, let’s look at the list of reasons why Mark Richt would consider a job with A&M and see if any of them apply.
The first reason you would change jobs is for more money. While I doubt Richt would turn down cash, I don’t think that A&M can offer enough money over what UGA would be willing and able to match for him to uproot his entire family to move to Texas. Also, Richt has shown by selling his lake house that he’s not really that concerned with money. Because of that, I can’t see him leaving for more money.
The second reason to leave a coaching job is to go to a much-better coaching job. If I take off my red and black glasses, I can say that A&M is a very good job, but so is coaching at UGA. I don’t think Richt is more likely to win a national championship at A&M because they are in the SEC West and would have to play Alabama and LSU every year. It would be much easier for him to win the East and only have to play one of them in the SEC Championship game.
Is Mark Richt's shopping for a new job?
So, reason number two is debunked.
The next reason to leave a coaching job is if you feel that your job isn’t stable and you’re making a preemptive strike. Had this come up at the end of last year, I’d say without question that he was shopping for another job, with many in the lunatic fringe of the UGA nation offering to help him pack.
This year, however, he’s just won the SEC East and is returning most of those players next year. Odds are good that UGA will be the favorite to win it again next year. His job is safe, and I expect him to have a contract extension in a few days or weeks. If he really is interested in A&M—based on their track record—the job will be open again in a few years anyway.
The last possible reason for a coach to leave his job is if he’s not getting along with his boss. While it is possible that he’s fed up with the hot seat talk and the fact that he and McGarity don’t see eye to eye, it is doubtful that this is the case. All evidence shows that Richt and McGarity get along just fine. I doubt that he sees A&M as a place where there would be any less hot seat talk should he have a few down years there, so there really isn’t anything to be gained.
So there you have it. As reliable as the information coming out of A&M is, the facts and what we know about Mark Richt just don’t add up to him shopping to get the A&M job. Worst case scenario for UGA is that Richt’s agent floated his name just so that he would have a number to use when he and Richt discuss his next contract at UGA.
According to Greg McGarity, Richt and McGarity have begun contract extension talks. It looks like Richt's agent may have been throwing Richt's name around after all.