Page 48

Smart names 3 coaches to staff

ATHENS—-University of Georgia head football coach Kirby Smart has added three to his on-field coaching staff.

Pitt offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Jim Chaney and Arkansas offensive line coach Sam Pittman have been named to similar positions at UGA while Alabama Director of Player Development and Associate Director of Personnel Glen Schumann has been named to a defensive staff position.

“Glen did an outstanding job in several areas during his eight years at Alabama and he’ll be a great addition to our staff,” said Smart.

“Jim and Sam are highly respected nationally as individual coaches, but together we have a tandem that has worked along side each other before in the SEC and been extremely productive and successful.”

A thirty-year coaching veteran in the Southeastern Conference, Big Ten, ACC, and the NFL, Chaney served the 2015 season at Pitt after a two-year tenure at Arkansas (2013-14).  He has also served as offensive coordinator as Tennessee (2009-12), Purdue (1997-2005), and Cal State Fullerton (1988-92).

Chaney also spent three years in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) working with the offensive line for two seasons and the tight ends for one. Steven Jackson was a 1,000-yard rusher in each of Chaney’s three seasons in St. Louis.   At Purdue, he coached quarterback Drew Brees, who later led the New Orleans Saints to a Super Bowl title.  Brees led the nation in total offense in 2000 (358.1 yards per game) and was selected the winner of the prestigious Maxwell Award as the college player of the year.

Pittman, who is universally considered one of the nation’s best offensive line coaches and recruiters, just completed his third season as associate head coach, recruiting coordinator and offensive line coach with the Razorbacks.

In the last four seasons, a Pittman-coached offensive line has led the SEC in fewest sacks allowed—three years at Arkansas and one at Tennessee. Arkansas allowed only 1.00 sacks per game in 2015, 1.08 in 2014, and 0.67 in 2013.   In 2012, Pittman coached the Tennessee offensive line that led the SEC with just 0.67 sacks allowed per game.

Since 2013, eight offensive linemen coached by Pittman have been drafted, including two first-round picks. In 2015, Pittman’s Arkansas team finished second in the SEC in total offense (456.8 ypg), second in scoring offense (40.2 ppg), and third in passing offense (264.2 ypg).

He previously served as offensive line coach at Tennessee (2012), Associate Head Coach and offensive line coach at North Carolina (2007-11), and offensive line coach at Northern Illinois (2003-06).

Schumann was named to his position at Alabama in February, 2014, after spending six years with the Crimson Tide, first as an undergraduate analyst (2008-Dec. 2011) and then as a graduate assistant (Dec. 2011-Feb. 2014).

In his role at Alabama, Schumann’s responsibilities have included off-the-field activities of Alabama’s football student-athletes serving as an important resource in balancing the demands of academics, athletics and community outreach.

Chaney was an instrumental figure in Arkansas achieving its first winning campaign since 2011 during the 2014 season. The Razorbacks averaged 406 yards and 31.9 points per game, capping the season with a 31-7 rout of Texas in the Texas Bowl. Chaney’s offense produced two 1,000-yard rushers and a 2,000-yard passer.

In 2013, Chaney’s offense featured underclassmen starters at quarterback, running back, tight end and two offensive line positions. Despite that youth, Arkansas averaged 5.28 yards per rush–the fourth highest season average in school history. Center Travis Swanson was a first team All-American, while running back Alex Collins was a 1,000-yard rusher and the SEC Freshman of the Year. Arkansas set a school record by surrendering only eight sacks.

While at Tennessee, he also served as the Volunteers’ interim head coach for the 2012 season finale, a 37-17 win over Kentucky. That same year, UT quarterback Tyler Bray threw for 3,612 yards and 34 touchdowns, both career bests. Bray’s 530 passing yards against Troy broke Peyton Manning’s single-game school record and marked the second highest total in SEC history.

The Volunteers ranked among the nation’s most productive offenses in 2012, finishing 15th in passing yards, 18th in total offense and 22nd in scoring. In 2012, Tennessee quarterback Tyler Bray passed for 3,619 yards and 34 touchdowns. At the time, his touchdowns were the seventh-most in a season in SEC history, and his passing yards ranked 11th in conference history. Bray also broke the Tennessee single-game record with 530 passing yards, a record previously held by Peyton Manning and the second-highest single-game total in SEC history.

Chaney is a 1985 graduate of Central Missouri State.  He and his wife Lisa have two daughters, Elizabeth and Sara.

Of Pittman’s eight drafted offensive linemen in the last three years, Ja’Wuan James was selected 19th overall by the Miami Dolphins in 2014 and Travis Swanson became the highest Razorback center draft pick in school history when he was picked 76th overall by the Detroit Lions. In 2013, Jonathan Cooper, who was tutored by Pittman for four seasons at North Carolina, was the seventh overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals, the earliest an offensive guard had been taken since 1986.

The 2014 campaign saw four Razorback underclassmen earn All-SEC honors. Guard Sebastian Tretola was named to the ESPN.com All-SEC team, tackle Dan Skipper and guard Denver Kirkland each earned All-SEC honorable mention recognition from the Associated Press and freshman center Frank Ragnow was named to the coaches’ SEC All-Freshman team. Ragnow was also selected as one of the best true freshman in the nation when he was named to the Sporting News All-True Freshman team.

Arkansas led the conference and was sixth in the nation in 2014 allowing one sack every 37.63 pass attempts. The Razorback offensive line kept opponents out of the backfield all season, and finished first in the SEC and fourth in the NCAA with an average of 3.75 tackles for loss allowed per game.

Pittman oversaw the offensive line in 2013 at Tennessee, when the Volunteers led the SEC and ranked fourth in the NCAA in fewest sacks allowed per game, following five seasons coaching the offensive line at North Carolina.

Pittman played at Pittsburg State, where he was a first-team NAIA All-American and twice earned all-conference recognition. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 1986 and was inducted into the PSU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. He is married to his wife, Jamie.

Schumann comes from a long line of coaches with his father Eric spending 20 in college football as a defensive coordinator after playing safety for Alabama in the mid-70s. His mother Sherry is the Athletics Director at Collin College in Collin Country, Texas, while his grandfather Jack Haskin was a coach on the first football team at Florida State and is a member of the FSU Hall of Fame.

Born in Valdosta, Ga., Schumann graduated from McKinney Boyd High School in McKinney, Texas, where he lettered in both football and basketball. He earned his bachelor of arts degree from Alabama in December, 2011, and a masters in sports management from the Capstone in December, 2013. He and his wife Lauren were married in the summer of 2015.

Salary/Income Details of Smart’s Contract (from UGA)

  1. TERM and BASE SALARY: The term of the Contract shall be from January 1, 2016 until December 31, 2021 or until the day after any bowl game in which the football team plays in January 2022.  Coach shall be paid an annual gross salary of at least $400,000 (“Base Salary”), and shall receive the insurance and retirement benefits provided by the University to employees of the University.  The Base Salary shall be paid in approximately equal monthly installments in accordance with the University’s payroll practices.
  2. SUPPLEMENTAL INCOME: The Association will pay Coach $3,350,000 per calendar year in approximately equal quarterly installments (March, June, September, and December), attributable to the Association’s shoe and clothing endorsement, and as compensation for radio and television shows, programs, interviews, and other appearances and endorsements (the “Supplemental Income”).  Coach shall comply with all contracts the Association enters into, including by making appearances and giving interviews in compliance with such contracts.  In addition, Coach shall make no less than 12 appearances or endorsements per fiscal year as reasonably requested by the Association, any payments for such appearances to be negotiated and kept by the Association.  Coach shall also make no less than 12 unpaid appearances at Bulldog Clubs and other fundraiser events as reasonably requested by the Association or the University.  Coach shall also be available for up to 3 personal appearances on behalf of the Association’s equipment provider (currently Nike).  Coach shall not make separate endorsement, appearance, or speaking agreements except as approved in writing by the Athletic Director, such approval not to be unreasonably withheld. To the extent provided for in the Association’s shoe and apparel endorsement contract, Coach will receive up to $3,600 worth of clothes and shoes directly from the manufacturer (currently Nike) each year.

Kirby Smart Named New Head Coach (from UGA)

For Immediate Release

December 6, 2015

ATHENS——–University of Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart, a former player and coach at the University of Georgia, will be the new head coach of the Bulldogs according to an announcement Sunday by UGA J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity.

The decision was approved Sunday by the Executive Committee of the UGA Athletic Association Board of Directors.  Smart will be introduced at a press conference in Athens on Monday.

“It was critical to identify a person who would focus on a specific, defined process of developing championship football teams on and off the playing field,” said McGarity.  “Someone who understands the true meaning of a student-athlete by actually experiencing it himself — someone who competed at the highest levels on the playing field, was mentored by some of the very best in the game, and understood the specific ingredients necessary to excel at the highest levels of college athletics — Kirby Smart fits that profile.  I believe Kirby Smart is the perfect fit for the University of Georgia.”

“I interviewed Coach Smart on Sunday morning, and, following that interview, I accepted the athletic director’s recommendation to hire Kirby,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.  “I am pleased to welcome Kirby, his wife, Mary Beth, and their three children back home to the University of Georgia, and I look forward to supporting him in his new role as our head football coach.”

“It’s an honor and privilege to return home to the University of Georgia and my home state,” said Smart.  “I’m deeply appreciative of the faith President Morehead, Greg McGarity, and the Athletic Board Executive Committee have demonstrated in asking me to lead one of the truly great college football programs in the country.   I also want to thank Coach Saban. I have been fortunate to spend 11 seasons with him as my mentor and have learned a tremendous amount from him as a coach and teacher. I’m honored and excited for the opportunity at Georgia and promise high energy, effort every day, and hard work every minute on the part of all our coaches, staff and student-athletes.”

Smart, who got his start in coaching as a Georgia administrative assistant in 1999, has served on the Alabama staff the past nine years, the past seven as defensive coordinator. During his tenure at Alabama, the Crimson Tide has won three BCS National Championships, three Southeastern Conference crowns, six SEC western division titles, and been ranked in the nation’s final top ten rankings the last eight years in a row.  The current Crimson Tide team is expected to be included in the upcoming College Football Playoff.

Smart was recognized as the 2012 AFCA Assistant Coach of the Year and the 2009 Broyles Award winner as college football’s top assistant coach.  He is currently a finalist for the 2015 Broyles Award.  A former standout defensive back and scholar-athlete at Georgia, Smart is one of the nation’s most respected defensive coordinators. Smart coached Alabama’s inside linebackers in 2015 after tutoring the safeties in 2014.  He  also coached the inside linebackers from 2009-12.

Prior to joining the Alabama staff in 2007, Smart spent the 2006 season as safeties coach with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. He served six years on the collegiate level as the running backs coach at Georgia (2005), defensive backs coach at LSU (2004), graduate assistant coach at Florida State (2002-03), defensive coordinator/linebackers coach (2001) and defensive backs coach (2000) at Valdosta State.

As the running backs coach on Georgia’s 2005 SEC Championship team, Smart’s Bulldogs unit averaged 162.2 yards per game, third in the SEC.  He coached current Bulldog running backs coach Thomas Brown along with Danny Ware, and Kregg Lumpkin—all of whom had NFL careers.  In 2004 at LSU, he tutored two NFL draft picks: Corey Webster (2nd round, New York Giants) and Travis Daniels (4th round, Miami Dolphins).

As a player, Smart was a four-year letterman at defensive back for Georgia, where he was a first team all-SEC pick as a senior. He finished his career with 13 interceptions, which was fourth in Georgia annals, and led the Bulldogs with six interceptions in 1997 and five in 1998. A four-time member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll, Smart earned his undergraduate degree in finance from Georgia and his master’s degree from Florida State in 2003.

The 2015 Alabama defense currently ranks first in rushing defense (74.0 ypg), second in total defense (258.2 ypg), and third in scoring defense (14.4).

His 2014 Alabama defense ranked fourth nationally against the run (102.4 ypg). The Crimson Tide ranked sixth nationally in scoring defense (18.4 ppg), while ranking 12th nationally in total defense (328.4 ypg). He helped junior safety Landon Collins earn unanimous first-team All-America honors while being selected as a finalist for the Nagurski Trophy, Thorpe Award and Lott Trophy.

Smart crafted another elite Alabama defense in 2013 after losing six more players to the NFL. The Crimson Tide ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense (13.9 ppg) while ranking fifth in total defense (286.5 ypg), seventh in rushing defense (106.2 ypg) and 11th in pass defense (180.3 ypg). Alabama was fourth nationally in red zone defense and fourth in fewest first downs allowed. He helped mold defensive leader C.J. Mosley into the nation’s best linebacker and winner of the Butkus Award.

Smart retooled the Alabama defense in 2012, molding a unit that lost six starters to the NFL after the 2011 season. The Tide led the nation in total defense (250.0 ypg), scoring defense (10.9 ppg) and rush defense (76.4 ypg) while ranking seventh in pass defense (174.3 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (103.72). The Tide defense featured two first team All-Americans in cornerback Dee Milliner and linebacker Mosley. Milliner was a finalist for the Thorpe Award, presented to the nation’s top defensive back. Mosley was a finalist for the Butkus Award.

The 2011 defense led the nation in all five major categories including total defense (183.6 ypg), scoring defense (8.2 ppg), rushing defense (72.2 ypg), passing defense (111.5 ypg) and pass efficiency defense (83.69 rating). Dont’a Hightower (a finalist for the Lombardi Award, Lott Trophy, Butkus Award and Bednarik Award) led the team in total tackles with 85 and was selected in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.

Smart’s rebuilding job in 2010 was impressive, as the Tide remained one of the nation’s elite defensive units while replacing nearly the entire defense (nine starters). Alabama led the SEC and ranked third nationally in scoring defense (13.5 ppg) and fifth nationally in total defense (286.4 ypg).

The 2009 season was a special one for Smart, as he not only helped lead Alabama to the national championship but also took home the Broyles Award as the top assistant coach in the country. The UA defense again was regarded as one of the nation’s top units, leading the SEC and ranking second nationally in scoring defense (11.7 ppg), pass efficiency defense (87.7), rush defense (78.1 ypg) and total defense (244.1 ypg).

In the 2010 BCS National Championship game against Texas, the Tide recorded four interceptions and scored a defensive touchdown. Three players on Smart’s defense earned first-team All-America honors – linebacker Rolando McClain, cornerback Javier Arenas and nose guard Terrence Cody.  McClain captured the Butkus Award and Cody was a finalist for several national awards.

The 2008 Alabama defense was rated among the nation’s best. The Tide finished third in total defense (263.5 ypg) and seventh in scoring defense (14.3 ppg). Senior captain Rashad Johnson earned first team All-America honors at safety as well as first team All-SEC recognition after intercepting five passes, including two that were returned for touchdowns. Alabama snagged 15 interceptions in 2008 and brought back four of those for scores.

Under Smart’s guidance in 2007, Johnson led the SEC with six interceptions and earned first team All-SEC honors along with cornerback Simeon Castille. A third member of the Alabama secondary, cornerback Kareem Jackson, was honored at the end of the season as a second team Sporting News Freshman All-American.

A native of Bainbridge, Ga., Smart received his BBA degree in Finance from the University of Georgia in 1998 and his M.S. in Physical Education from Florida State in 2003.  He is married to the former Mary Beth Lycett of McDonough, Ga., a four-year letterwinner on the  Georgia women’s basketball team from 2000-2003.  The couple are the proud parents of twins Weston and Julia (Feb. 8, 2008) and son Andrew (May 25, 2012).

THE KIRBY SMART FILE

Birthdate: December 23, 1975

Birthplace: Montgomery, Alabama

Family: Wife Mary Beth; Children: twins Weston and  Julia (Feb. 8, 2008), and Andrew (May 25, 2012

High School: Bainbridge (Ga.)

College: BBA Georgia ‘98

MS  Florida State ‘03

COACHING EXPERIENCE

1999                Georgia                       Administrative Asst.

2000                Valdosta State              Defensive Backs

2001                Valdosta State              Defensive Coord.

2002-03           Florida State                Graduate Assistant

2004                LSU                            Defensive Backs

2005                Georgia                       Running Backs

2006                Miami Dolphins          Safeties

2007                Alabama                      Asst. Head Coach/Def. Backs

2008-15           Alabama                      Defensive Coordinator

PLAYING EXPERIENCE

Georgia (1995-98) Four-year letterman as defensive back. First team All-SEC in ’98; 13 career interceptions; four-time member of SEC Academic Honor Roll.

Bainbridge H.S. (1991-93) Three-year letterman in football, basketball, and baseball; first team Class AAAA All-State as a senior; 16 career interceptions.

High School Coach: Sonny Smart (father)

Bye Bye, Bauta (from UGA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ATHENS, Ga. — University of Georgia quarterback Faton Bauta has decided to transfer to another institution and will not play in the Bulldogs’ upcoming bowl game.

Bauta, a 6-3, 215-pound graduate student who has junior eligibility athletically, graduated with a degree in Sport Management in May 2015. Because he is now a graduate student, Bauta will be able to transfer to any school and be available to play immediately without sitting out a year.

“In my four years at Georgia, this university and this football program have allowed me to grow as a man and as a football player,” Bauta said.  “I cannot thank Coach Richt, my coaches and my teammates enough for all they have done for me. I will always be grateful for my time in Athens, my degree from this great university and each week I spent battling with my brothers on the field.

“At this time, I feel that the best option for me is to explore a new opportunity for my final year of eligibility. But I will always be thankful for my years in red and black, for Coach Richt and the coach he has been to me.”

Bauta has played in all 12 games this year, primarily as the holder on special teams. He started at quarterback against No. 11 Florida and finished 15-for-33 for 154 yards and four interceptions. Bauta also had three rushes for four yards against the Gators.

For his career, Bauta finished 19-for-38 for 202 yards passing. On the ground, he had 13 carries for 50 yards and two touchdowns.

The Bulldogs (9-3) will learn their bowl destination on Sunday following this Saturday’s games.

No Bowl for Richt; McClendon interim HC (from UGA)

2015 G Day Spring Football Game april 11,2015

For Immediate Release

December 3, 2015

ATHENS——–Former University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt has made the decision that he will not coach the Bulldogs in their upcoming bowl game.  He informed the team Thursday afternoon.

UGA J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity has named assistant head coach Bryan McClendon, who also coaches wide receivers, as the interim head coach. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, as well as all other assistant coaches, will remain in their present roles with current responsibilities.

“I’ve asked Bryan to assume all administrative duties of the head coach,” said McGarity.  “This will be the least disruptive option for our players and staff as they begin preparations for our bowl game.”

Transcript of RICHT Resignation Presser (from UGA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UGA Sports Communications

Nov. 30, 2015

 

ATHENS, Ga. — Mark Richt and Georgia J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity met with media Monday during a press conference on the University of Georgia campus. They offered the following comments:

 

Opening Statement…

Mark Richt: “Thank you everybody for being here. I wrote some notes, I don’t think I’ll need them but I’ll take a peek if I need to. The first thing I want to do is thank the Bulldog Nation in general. I want to thank Coach Vince Dooley and Michael Adams for hiring me. Thank (J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics) Greg McGarity and (President) Jere W. Morehead for letting me stick around a while. I want to especially thank all the current players and former players that I’ve had the opportunity to coach here at Georgia. All the staff members that have worked so hard along side me to make Georgia an even better place than it already is. The Redcoats, the cheerleaders, the students. All the Dawg Walks, all the memories have been just phenomenal for myself and for my family. Georgia has been our home and Athens has been a true blessing to me and my family. I’m just very thankful for all the time that I’ve been able to spend here. I’m doing great. With that, I’ll let Greg (McGarity) say what he wants to say, and then (media) can let it rip.”

 

Greg McGarity: “First of all, we want to thank Mark, Katharyn and all their family for dedicating the past 15 years to the University of Georgia and to the Athens community. Days like yesterday are the most difficult in our profession, especially when dealing with someone who has the character of Mark Richt. And we sincerely appreciate Mark’s professionalism at all times. We’re looking forward to having the opportunity to work alongside Mark and Katharyn in the future at the University of Georgia.”

 

On Richt’s future…

Mark Richt: “I’ve been given an opportunity to stick around. It has not been defined totally, but in some way shape or form to continue to bless the players, number one, and the university in general and the athletic association just any way that I can be helpful. I’ve been offered an opportunity to do that. My plan right now, quite frankly, is to get prepared for this bowl game. I’m really looking forward to coaching these boys one more time. In the meantime, since I’m not on the road recruiting right now, I’ll have an opportunity to look at a lot of options. I think there are going to be a lot of options to weigh. I’m blessed in that way and thankful about that. I’m just not ready to say what I want to do yet, but it’s very attractive to have the thought of being able to stay in Athens and in some way shape or form and continue to be someone who can help these young people.”

 

On if Richt plans to coach again…

Mark Richt: “I’ll say this — if and when I do coach again, I’m looking forward to coaching again in terms of being more hands-on. I miss coaching quarterbacks, I miss calling plays, I miss that part of it. Whether it’s in the role of head coach, coordinator, quarterbacks coach, whatever it is. If in fact I choose to do that I’d be really excited about coaching QBs again and getting in the middle of coaching offensive strategy. Not that I wasn’t in it, but I wasn’t calling it. And I think I’d be more apt to do that again.”

 

On when the decision to make a change was made…

Greg McGarity: “Coming home from the Georgia Tech game, Mark and I spoke later that evening and agreed to meet the next morning. I wanted to wait until the season was over, basically that was the time for that. You always prepare. That’s the job of an athletic director whether it be football, basketball, whatever sport. You never know when a coach is going to come in and say they’re done. I recall experiences at my former institution where that happened. I knew I didn’t want that to happen again. Lessons learned there. Saturday after the Tech game, it was a very quiet ride home for me to dig down deep and make sure that’s what my gut told me to do.”

 

On the timeline of Richt’s resignation…

Mark Richt: “It’s part of the business. It’s not all that shocking to think that it could happen. My focus was always on moving forward and recruiting and bringing in the best class we could bring in and continue to build a future team that would be able to win a championship. But it didn’t work out that way. I guess it’s a lot like how I manage things in the middle of a game. If things don’t always go exactly the way you want, and you know they don’t always go the way you want. You can spend a lot of time to figure out what happened and who did what or you can figure out where you’re at in terms of what do we do next to win. Instead of trying to find a kid that made a mistake or trying to find the coach that did something he shouldn’t have done, or maybe he’s responsible for something, you want to chew somebody’s rear end. My focus has always been on where are we and what do we have to do to win. I feel like the same way right now. I see where I am, Georgia sees where they are, and everybody’s going to do what they think is in the best interest to have success in the future, so that’s how I look at it.”

 

On what went behind the final decision to make a change…

Greg McGarity: “That remains to be between Mark and myself. We had a good, mature, adult conversation on Sunday morning, an hour, hour-and-a-half or so. Those things will remain between Mark and myself.”

 

On Jeremy Pruitt’s future at Georgia…

Greg McGarity: “I’d rather us focus on Mark today. We can talk about the other things later, but today is all about Mark and the decision that was made yesterday. I’d prefer to defer those to a later date.”

 

On what happens with Richt’s contract…

Greg McGarity: “Even though it hadn’t been executed, a deal’s a deal. A handshake, to me, is a signed agreement. The contract that our board approved at the previous board meeting is in full effect and will certainly be honored. There are no issues there even though it’s not executed, and that’s the way it’s always been. A handshake means something here.”

 

On what will determine Richt’s future…

Mark Richt: “Even these next two weeks, they were all earmarked for recruiting. Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. To the dead period, I was going to be on the road every single day for 14 days. Now that I’m not recruiting, there’s nothing on my calendar. Even that bit of time will allow me to decompress a little bit and just prayerfully consider what’s next. There may be more opportunities that come in the next few hours, the next 24, 48 hours, that type of thing. I’m going to listen to anyone that has interest in me coaching or not, in any area or any arena that’s a possibility. Since 1986 I’ve always really tried to walk daily with the Lord and try to figure out what He really wants me to do, and I try to be really obedient to that. I was reading Matthew about a couple weeks ago, and when Christ, prior to before he got crucified, he was praying. And when he was praying he was sweating blood. And he said ‘Lord, take this cup from me. Please take this cup from me.’ He prayed that three times. Every time after he prayed that, he said ‘Not my will, Lord, but thy will be done.’ That’s kind of been my thoughts over the last couple of weeks, just ‘Lord, your will be done.’ Whatever your will is, that’s what I’ll do. I just don’t know what that looks like yet.”

 

On why Richt is coaching the bowl game…

Mark Richt: “I was very thankful for the opportunity, are you kidding me? I get to coach one more time with these guys and finish the season. If it wasn’t offered to me I would’ve asked for it. I’m very excited about that.”

 

On candidates to replace Richt and the coaching search…

Greg McGarity: “Really briefly, it’ll start immediately. Again, this is about Mark today. I really hardly won’t have anything to say about the new search. I think that’s not appropriate right now. In due time, I’m sure a new head coach will be announced.”

 

Mark Richt: “I spoke with the team last night to just help them understand that things like this happen, it’s part of the business. I encouraged them, number one, to behave and to know that we’re going to keep everyone accountable to behave and hold them everything we’ve always held them accountable to academically and socially and all those things. But to also realize that they’re basically making a first impression for their new head coach starting yesterday. I even told them about the time that I took the job at Georgia while I was still at Florida State. I was trying to do both jobs at the same time, trying to coach the bowl game at Florida State. We were playing in the national championship.  In the morning I was trying to do Florida State and the afternoon I was trying to do Georgia. That little Nokia phone would ring every so often and every other time it was about some kid not behaving like he should. So I was like ‘Oh here we go. Before I even get on campus, I’ve got to deal with that.’ But I told them it’s really important to do the right thing and make a good first impression before you even meet whoever it is and then be supportive of whoever that is. I understand that the faster everybody buys in, the better off it’s going to be. The last thing I asked them was to finish this bowl season great. We’ve got a bunch of seniors that are shooting for their 40th win as a class. That’s kind of hard to do. I know it means a lot to those guys. Those are the things that I talked to them about.”

 

On the trip to see Jacob Eason after the win over Auburn…

Mark Richt: “It was definitely my decision to make that trip. Talking about Jacob Eason and actually two other guys that signed financial aid papers, which allowed free access to him. The message was basically going there to enjoy each other’s company, number one. Number two was getting ready to play some ball for the Dawgs.  It was just a matter of knowing that he’s a very important part of the recruiting class, your quarterback is. When you have a quarterback like that commit early, you ask him to lead already. You’re not here yet, but you can lead by helping build your class. I think he’s done a great job with that. I think there’s a lot of guys that have been very excited about the possibility to come to Georgia in this particular class. They know each other, they love each other, they’ve bonded with each other. If you’re curious of the message I’m giving those guys, and I talked to Jacob last night as a matter of fact, I said ‘be patient. See who the next guy is. You might get really excited about that and the rest of the guys might get really excited about that. I’m not saying don’t check out other options and all that kind of stuff to be proactive. Don’t jump the gun. You chose Georgia for a reason and it was more than just me or Coach (Brian) Schottenheimer.’ I encouraged all those guys to do the same, because they’re a great group of guys and there’s a chance for them to come in and be one of the best classes in the United States of America. I said it might be a blessing to be on the front end of a coach other than Year 16. It may be a blessing to you. That’s what I told him last night.”

 

On a message to fans who are upset with the decision…

Mark Richt: “You could tell everybody that I’m going to be fine. My wife and I will be fine. We’re empty nesters. We’re still madly in love. We’ll probably get to do some things we just haven’t been able to do in the past. I’ve been coaching for 33 years straight, and that’s a long grind. It can wear a man out a little bit, especially sitting in the head coach’s chair. We’re very excited about our future. It very well may be that we stay in Athens. We may stay in Athens for good. I don’t know what’ll happen yet. It’s a very strong draw for us, it’s a very attractive option for us. I would just say to the fans too, as soon as a new guy gets named there’s going to be electricity around here. There’s going to be a lot of excitement and a lot of momentum. Support him and support his staff, and obviously support the players. Georgia football is going to be around a whole heck of a lot longer than I’m going to be alive, and it’s been around for over 100 years. I just appreciate everybody and how they’ve treated me and my family.”

 

On the team’s reaction to the news…

Mark Richt: “It’s not like we had open dialogue. You have a group of 125 guys in the room. I just told them what happened. I also told them that I’ll be around another month. We don’t need to get all crazy and emotional tonight. I told them the things that I mentioned before. It’s just like when we went through that stretch in October when things weren’t going well. You’ve got a group of people, men, coaches, players, everybody having a lot of emotion. A lot of different emotions. I told them, I said ‘You all know how you feel right now. I don’t know how everybody feels but everybody knows how they feel individually. So what we’re going to do today is talk about how we need to act because you may feel a certain way but you need to act another way. You may feel a certain way about how the season was going but we need to act a certain way to keep things going straight and handle adversity the right way.’  The same thing basically was true last evening. There’s a lot of emotion, a lot of things that are going on. But let’s talk about how we need to act in this situation to do the right thing and to help them prepare for the rest of their careers here and their futures after that. After that last game I’m sure it’ll be a little bit different. I’m sure it’ll be a lot more emotional for me personally.”

 

On what he thought led to the change at coach…

Mark Richt: “I think that 15 years is a long time. I think that the expectations have been built to the point where if you don’t win a championship it’s kind of miserable around here. When we don’t make it to Atlanta I’m miserable too. I respect our fans, I love our fans. I respect the media, I love a couple of people in the media (laughs). I really, I love everybody, quite frankly. I know everybody’s got a job to do. Our sport is a very passionate sport, and it’s a very public sport. The jobs that we do, everybody seems to have an opinion on it. You can’t have all the excitement and the cheering and all that without the other. If things don’t go the way people want them to go, I can understand them being disappointed. I can understand them thinking there’s a better way and that kind of thing. I respect that. It got to the point where there wasn’t enough confidence that my leadership could get it done. That’s the prerogative of the people in charge, and I understand that.”

 

On cause for the change…

Greg McGarity: “Again, I don’t want to get into details of a conversation that Mark and I had. That’s between us. There were a lot of things we talked about, and I’ll just leave it at that.”

 

On how he feels about the change…

Mark Richt: “Like I said a minute ago, 33 years straight is a long time. It’s a very busy life, there’s not many breaks in the action. People have said the days are long but the seasons go fast. They really do. Before you know it, your life has flashed before your eyes. When you sit in the head coach’s chair, it might be times 10. You think you know, but you don’t know until you get there. Over time it can wear you down a little bit. The weight of a lot of the responsibility that I’ve had for a long time is gone. It’s not totally gone, I have a responsibility between now and the bowl. There’s certain things that I’m really not responsible for, for example the recruiting. I was about to go 14 days straight. What happens in recruiting is you’ve got nine guys out there, and they’re just waiting to grab you. Somebody’s going to pick you up at 5 a.m. and keep you until 3 in the afternoon. Another guy’s going to grab  you and wear you out until midnight. You get to the hotel maybe at 1 and at 5 a.m. you’re ready to go for the next guy to grab you. I’m being fascecious to a certain degree but you just go and go and go and go. That’s just one aspect of it. The responsibility for the student-athletes, all the academic responsibilities. All the decision that have to be made in strength and conditioning and that sort of thing. It’s just such a huge job that a lot of the weight that is with that job is not there right now. The other thing is, as I’ve said before, I really want God’s will for me. I’m really at peace that it was part of his plan. I’m really just excited about what’s coming down the road, and I want to continue to try to be as obedient as I can be to the Lord, and I’ll see what he has in mind for Katharyn and I.  We’re both at peace. We’ve know we’ve both been blessed abundantly to be at the University of Georgia. Let’s face it. Fifteen years at a major institution, an SEC school, just to get the job to begin with is kind of a miracle. We’re thankful. We’re blessed.”

 

On the backlash following the decision…

Greg McGarity: “I expected it. Decisions of this nature are very difficult. Our fans are passionate. Mark has tremendous support. Obviously with the way Mark connects with people, sure. I’ve been the recipient of emails on both sides. It goes with the territory, I understand it. I wish I could respond to all of them, but that may take some time. I understand it just goes with the territory of being in a leadership position.”

 

On use of a search firm…

Greg McGarity: “I’ll retain the services of a search firm in some capacity. The job is wide open.”

 

On a bowl preference and remembrance of the Mark Richt era…

Mark Richt: “I don’t have a preference. There’s a lot of great bowls out there. Greg and I were talking briefly about that on the way over here. I think the bowls are just starting to crank up and try to find out who’s going to go where and all that. I’m just thankful we’re going to a bowl, really. It’s a great experience. I’m glad we get the chance to play one more game. I’m glad I get the chance to be with the guys here for another month or so. I really would love for our seniors to get that 40th (win). It’s a benchmark that not a lot of guys get a chance to have. Part of that is that we play 12 games now. It’s not like in Coach Dooley’s day, when they won 40 in his day that was pretty exceptional.

 

How do I want Mark Richt to be remembered? Just that he loved Georgia and he did it the right way. He did it hopefully in such a way that it was well pleasing to the Lord.”

 

On Richt’s proudest accomplishment and something he could do over at Georgia…

Mark Richt: “Proudest accomplishment, I think just watching guys leave here ready to be a man. And when I say that I mean guys leave here ready to be a good husband and a good father and a good citizen of our country and hopefully a leader. I think we’re void of some leadership in certain areas around our communities. I think  that’s what excites me the most, to think that I had a part to play in that. 

 

I think the only thing, I really miss hands-on coaching. The coaching of the quarterbacks, the calling of the games, the plays. I miss that. When I turned it over to Mike Bobo, he was more than ready to do it. He did an unbelievably good job, in my opinion. At the time I guess the combination of the weight of the job and feeling like if all you do is coach quarterbacks and call plays, you can spend your whole offseason just coaching ball. You can spend your offseason going to visit people and get new ideas and all that kind of thing. I found as a head coach there just wasn’t time to do that. There was always this to do and that to do and this to do and that to do. In season, people don’t always expect a lot from me in regard to speaking engagements or be there for this or that or the other. As soon as the season ends, everybody’s like ‘Coach is free, he’s not doing anything. Let’s see if we can get him to help us out here and there.’ I enjoy doing a lot of those things. But you don’t really have the time, in my opinion, that you need to do it. 

 

If I had to do it again, I wouldn’t say so much as going backwards as much going forwards, if I do decide to coach again that especially as a head coach and trying to do these things, which I would want to do, I have to make sure there’s enough support around me to do certain things. Also let people on the front end, I’m going to be coaching in the offseason too.  I’m going to be preparing for the season and just get the expectations to where everybody understands where I’m at on the front end. 

 

When I first came here, I had never been a head coach. I didn’t know anything. Well, I knew a little bit, looking at Coach Dooley over there.  There’s a lot of things I didn’t know. I didn’t know the Georgia culture. I didn’t know a lot of things. I’ve learned a lot. I learned a lot. As far as a regret, not even so much a regret, but I miss the hands-on coaching part.”

 

On the recruiting plan as the head coaching search continues…

Greg McGarity: “I’m not sure who’s on the road. That’s sort of a moving target here. Our coaches, at least some will be on the road. We talked a little bit about that briefly. I really don’t know the exact details of who’s seeing who or who’s out right now.”

 

On if this hire will define McGarity’s legacy as athletic director…

Greg McGarity: “I think every hire does. That’s the role and the responsibility of athletic directors and other positions across the country. It’s part of our job. We are judged upon the success, particularly in football, due to the level of interest and the revenue it does generate for our programs. I know that. I’m accountable for everything here. I understand that, and I accept the responsibility.”

Mark Richt “Steps Down”

For Immediate Release from UGA

“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,” said Richt.

“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 formerfootball 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,² 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.”

Georgia Holds On to Top Tech, 13-7

ATLANTA, Ga. — Despite shutting down Georgia Tech’s triple-option offense for most of the game, limiting the home squad to a single touchdown and 276 total yards, Georgia had to hold off a late rally by the Yellow Jackets to prevail this afternoon at Bobby Dodd Stadium, 13-7.

“It was a great victory,” said head coach Mark Richt following the win. “I’m proud of our players, first and foremost. It was a great team effort. Our coaches did a wonderful job. Our fan base showed up in big numbers.”

On the first possession of the game, Georgia’s Sony Michel scored on a 34-yard run when faced with 4th down and two yards to go. Michel, who finished with 149 yards on 24 carries, also became only the 13th different Bulldogs player in history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a single season.

“It was a great call and there was great blocking,” Michel said regarding his touchdown run. “The hole was there and there wasn’t much I had to do. It was a great play call.”

From that point, much of the game was dominated by the the Bulldogs’ defense, which limited Georgia Tech to 2-of-13 on third down, a 28:42 time of possession, while forcing three turnovers in the contest. Notably, the Bulldogs fell 3:24 short of registering the first shutout suffered by a Georgia Tech squad since the 1997 season.

Leading 7-0 entering the second half, the Bulldogs forced a fumble from Tech in Georgia territory during the third quarter. The Bulldog offense promptly marched down to the field and cashed in with a 19-yard field goal by Marshall Morgan to build a 10-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, the Bulldogs added on with a drive that started in the final minute of the stanza, featuring a 33-yard gallop down the middle by Michel. Marshall Morgan’s 37-yard kick split the uprights at 14:10 left in the game, and the Dogs held a 13-0 advantage.

In the final quarter, Georgia’s defense held strong until a late drive that was aided by an unsportsmanlike penalty on the Bulldogs on a third down. Two plays later, Tech quarterback Justin Thomas passed 15 yards to Ricky Jeune for a touchdown. For the most part, Thomas struggled mightily, completing just 6 of 18 passes for 82 yards and two interceptions, while rushing for minus-three yards on nine carries.

Following the ensuing kickoff, and leading 13-7 while possessing the ball on their own 7-yard line, the Bulldogs stepped up when quarterback Greyson Lambert completed a 25-yard pass to tight end Jeb Blazevich. Lambert had one of his best games of the season, completing 18 of 25 passes for 224 yards.

Still, Georgia was forced to punt, but not until the Bulldogs had run six plays while burning more than three minutes off the clock. With only seconds remaining in the contest, the Jackets’ last-ditched effort resulted in Thomas being picked off by Malkom Parrish on the final play of the game.

“I’m not aggravated at all, I’m happy,” Richt declared when asked if he was “aggravated” that his team essentially dominated this afternoon, yet escaped with a mere six-point victory. “Any victory is a great victory, especially when it’s your in-state rival. … I can’t get frustrated with what happened. I can only be happy that we won and be proud of our guys…”

Georgia-Georgia Tech Game Notes

Georgia Post-game Notes at Ga. Tech (from UGA)

*Bulldogs Win In Atlanta Again: With today’s 13-7 victory, Georgia reclaims the Governor’s Cup Trophy and extends its advantage in the series 65-38-5. The Bulldogs are 13-2 against Tech under Mark Richt including 8-0 in Atlanta. Under Richt, Georgia is 60-11 against teams from the outside SEC including 18-9 on the road.

*Defense Dominates:  For the first time this season, Georgia pitched a shutout in the first half, and it was the first time that Tech has been shutout through the first two periods. Overall, Tech was held to a season-low 7 points today and had just 194 yards on the ground after averaging 31 points/game and 261 rushing yards/game. In the first half, Tech was held to 145 total yards, all on the ground and was 0-for-3 passing. Tech didn’t score until 3:24 left in the contest that made it 13-7. Senior LB Jake Ganus led all tacklers with 12 stops.

*Win The Toss, Take The Football And Score A TD: For the second straight week, Georgia won the coin toss, elected to take the football and went on to score a touchdown. Today, the Bulldogs went 75 yards on eight plays in 4:41 capped by a 34-yard run by Sony Michel. Last week against Ga. Southern, the Bulldogs went 61 yards on seven plays in 3:58, culminating in a 23-yard TD run by sophomore Isaiah McKenzie.

*Sanders Sets Interception Return Yard Record: Sophomore Dominick Sanders set a school record for interception return yards in a season following his team-leading fifth pick. His 22-yard return gave him 205 yards for the year, breaking the previous mark of 189 by Eli Maricich in 1948 on eight INTs. Sander has eight career interceptions for 269 yards and that yardage already ranks fourth in school history.

*Michel Joins 1,000-Yard Club: Sophomore TB Sony Michel became the 13th Bulldog in school history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a season after he finished with 149 yards on 24 carries (6.2 avg).  He went over the mark with a four-yard rush in the 3rd quarter. Michel had a 34-yard touchdown scamper on 4th and one on Georgia’s opening drive of the game. It was his longest run since a 45-yarder against Kentucky on Nov. 7.  Also today, Michel had three catches for 38 yards to give him 187 all-purpose yards.

*Big Afternoon For Godwin: Freshman Terry Godwin compiled eight catches for 78 yards, both career highs today. His previous career high was six catches for 78 yards in the win over Missouri on Oct. 17. Godwin also served as the punt returner but had no return yards. Junior QB Greyson Lambert finished 18-for-25 for 224 yards directing the offense and completed passes to six different Bulldogs.

*Morgan Eclipses 400 Career Points: With two field goals and a PAT today, senior PK Marshall Morgan tallied seven points to give him 403 for his career, which ranks third in SEC and Bulldog history. He finished two-for-three today (made from 19 and 37, missed from 40). In his career, Morgan is 63-for-83 in field goals and has an SEC record 214 PATs.

*For Starters: Freshman inside linebacker Natrez Patrick made his first career start. He became the 22nd first-time starter this year.  He was credited with a career-high four tackles, one sack and 2 TFL

*Fourth Down Attempts: Georgia was 1-for-2 on fourth downs in the first half and 0-for-1in 2nd Half. The first one came on a 4th-and- 1 from the Tech 34 that resulted in a 34-yard touchdown run by sophomore TB Sony Michel. The second attempt failed on a 4th-and 1 at the Tech 12 as senior FB Quayvon Hicks was stopped for no gain. Tech was 1-for-2. They had a 4th-and-1 attempt at the UGA 41 resulted in a two-yard loss on a tackle made by Bulldog senior DT James DeLoach.  However on 4th-and-3 from the UGA 35, Georgia was flagged for offsides to give Tech a first down. In the second half, Tech was 1-for-1 on 4th downs. Georgia came in to today’s game 4-for-9 (44%) on 4th downs while opponents were 8-for-17 (47%) against the Bulldogs.

*Points Off Turnovers: Georgia got three points off three turnovers. For the year, Georgia is +3 in Turnover Margin. In the first half, Dominick Sanders notched his team-leading fifth interception and returned it 22 yards to the Tech 23 to thwart a scoring opportunity. The Bulldogs eventually were forced to punt. In the 3rd quarter, sophomore Lorenzo Carter forced a fumble, and it was recovered by senior DT James DeLoach at the UGA 33. It led to a 19-yard field goal by senior Marshall Morgan and a 10-0 edge with 5:55 left in the 3rd quarter. The game ended with junior Quincy Mauger registered an interception.

*Up Next: Georgia (9-3) will learn its bowl destination on Dec. 6. Georgia has extended its school record streak to 18 straight seasons of going to a bowl and that’s the second longest streak nationally (Va. Tech, 23).

DAWGTIME’s Halftime Tidbits

GEORGIA 7, Georgia Tech 0 

OFFENSE

  • Sony Michel, who scored on a 34-yard run on the game’s first possession, has rushed for 66 yards on 10 carries. Therefore, he only needs seven more yards to become only the 13th different Georgia player in history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark in a season.
  • Greyson Lambert, who completed 11 of 16 passes in the first half for 141 yards and no interceptions, has been intercepted only twice all season in 227 passing attempts, or a single-season school-record interception percentage of just 0.88%.

 DEFENSE

  • The Bulldogs allowed the Jackets to rush for 145 yards in the first half, averaging 6.3 yards per rush, yet Georgia Tech has been held scoreless.
  • Dominick Sanders first-half interception return of 22 yards gives him 205 interception yards on five picks this season, breaking a 67-year-old single-season school record for interception return yardage (189 yards by Eli Maricich in 1948).

OTHER

  • The line for this game closed at Georgia favored by 3½ points, or the second-closest/lowest point spread in this series in the last nine meetings (closest/lowest was Georgia favored by 3 points in 2013).
  • After averaging 45.5 yards per punt his first 15 punts of the season, Brice Ramsey has averaged just 34.2 yards per punt his last five punts dating back to the middle of the Georgia Southern game