I’d be highly surprised if it happened, but it would seem that there’s at least a chance that former Georgia coach Mark Richt could end up in the Coastal Division with Tech, and how odd would that be?
Richt said on his radio show Monday night that he had heard from about five schools with openings. Maryland is reportedly one of them. Both Miami and Virginia have openings, and you could make the “he’d be a good fit there because” case for each. Miami – Richt is from Boca Raton, Fla., and graduated from Miami. From what my colleagues have written, I don’t think that’s going to happen, even though my colleague Matt Porter at the Palm Beach Post reported that Richt interviewed there Tuesday and is the school's top choice. Virginia – as Chip Towers wrote – “seems like the most comfortable fit, between its academic reputation and campus community.”
(Update: Shows you what I know.)
It would be a strange sight to see him leading the Cavaliers out of the south tunnel at Bobby Dodd Stadium next year, clad in blue and orange. It’d be like the back half of the trade for Greyson Lambert. For that matter, the Hurricanes also play at Tech next fall.
That said, Chip also wrote that Richt has been encouraged by family to take a year off and then look at openings next year. In his remarks at his news conference Monday, Richt noted the grind of having coached 33 years in a row, the last 15 as a head coach.
Johnson now tied for 11th in tenure
Richt’s firing/resignation as well as Frank Beamer’s retirement at Virginia Tech has moved coach Paul Johnson up two rungs on the list of most tenured coaches in the five power conferences. There are now just 10 coaches at a power-conference school in a hiring cycle prior to Johnson.
1999 Kirk Ferentz, Iowa; Bob Stoops, Oklahoma
2000 Gary Patterson, TCU
2005 Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Les Miles, LSU; Bronco Mendenhall, BYU, Kyle Whittingham, Utah
2006 Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
2007 Mark D’Antonio, Michigan State; Nick Saban, Alabama
The remaining 2005 coaches are an interesting group. Gundy replaced Miles at Oklahoma State. Whittingham, who had been Utah’s defensive coordinator but also played for BYU, accepted the BYU job and then almost immediately changed his mind and then decided to stay to replace Urban Meyer at Utah.
Semi-interestingly, Tech has played four of the 10 coaches since Johnson’s hire (Ferentz, Miles, Mendenhall and Whittingham) and is 0-5 against them.
Kirby Smart vs. the option
Regarding the impending hire of Kirby Smart at Georgia, there’s little telling on how he’ll fare in the Tech-Georgia rivalry, though he obviously can’t do much better than Richt did.
One note that may mean something or nothing: He didn't appear to do a very good job of preparing Alabama’s defense to play Georgia Southern's spread-option offense in 2011. (Then-coach Jeff Monken brought the offense from Tech, having worked with Johnson at Hawaii, Georgia Southern, Navy and then Tech. He is now at Army.)
Alabama won 45-21, but the Eagles ran for 302 yards on 39 carries, including an 82-yard touchdown run. It was the most points anyone scored that season on the Crimson Tide, which won the national championship over LSU. Smart was in his fourth season as offensive coordinator.
Coach Nick Saban recently brought the game up, chiding reporters for apparently overlooking an upcoming game with Charleston Southern.
“Y'all don't remember the Georgia Southern game, do you? I don't think we had a guy on that field that didn't play in the NFL and about four or five of them were first-round draft picks, and I think that team won a national championship but I'm not sure.
"And they ran through our (expletive) like (expletive) through a tin horn, man, and we could not stop them. We could not stop them. Could not stop them. Could not stop them because we could not get a look in practice.”
There are a number of funny things about this quote – Georgia Southern is now selling t-shirts with the quote – on of them being, as pointed out by an SB Nation blog post about it, he has collected enough national championships to the point that he can’t remember which of his teams won them.