Weeks of speculation reportedly came to an end Sunday morning as ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach reported Georgia has fired head coach Mark Richt. Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution followed with confirmation.
Richt went 145-51 in 15 seasons at Georgia, with two SEC championships and six top-1o finishes. But four of those top-10 finishes and both of the SEC titles came before 2008. The Dawgs posted only two top-10 finishes and no SEC titles in their last seven campaigns, and haven’t won a down SEC East since 2012.
Even still, it’s not as if Georgia fell off the map.
Georgia went 9-3 this season, closing with a 13-7 win over Georgia Tech.
Even with all the wins, a 10-year SEC title drought in a down SEC East and October losses to Alabama and Florida by a combined 65-13 were too much for Richt to overcome.
With the job coming open, Georgia will be viewed as the top vacancy in college football west of Los Angeles.
Updated 12:40 p.m. ET:
Georgia has officially announced the firing.
“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.”