Possibly one of the biggest names in today's saturated market for a head college football coach, Mark Richt is forced with quick decision. Is the former head man at UGA ready to move on immediately to take on a new gig after being ousted Sunday after 15 years in Athens? And, if so, what's the best fit for him?
Two of the biggest schools with presumed interest in Richt are South Carolina and Miami. Both schools are likely to come after him strong (Although no contact has been reported between Richt and South Carolina AD Ray Tanner). And, both make some sort of sense.
Which leaves us with one question: What's the better job today?
Gamecock nation would like to think that question is a no brainer, given their conference accreditation and annual meeting with the school that just mutually agreed his way out of town. But, the waters may be murkier once you look a little deeper.
Richt played quarterback for the Hurricanes from 1979-1982, backing up Hall of Famer Jim Kelly for most of that time. Which, may be his biggest reason in wanting to head back to the Miami sunshine. While I'm sure bringing your alma mater back to the glory days as he remembers it would be a blessing, Miami isn't what used to be without the Orange Bowl. Sure, you can still strictly recruit the city of Miami and compete for National Championships, but the facilities, mainly a home football stadium, just aren't there. Couple that with a fan base that seems to recede in quantity every year and some not-so patient boosters and bosses, and it may be more work than Richt is ready for.
Sure, South Carolina finished the year 3-9 and looked about as bad as they have since 1999, but the fix may be easier than it appears. The biggest reason for the Gamecocks spiral is recruiting. Throw a guy like Richt in there who has successfully recruited and established relationships in the southeast for much of his coaching career with brand new facilities and an athletic department and school willing to spend the necessary funds, and the Gamecocks could be back to prominence in as quick of time as it's taken to fall out.
In all likelihood, UGA will have dibs on some of the names Tanner and the Gamecocks have had their eyes on, namely Alabama DC Kirby Smart and Houston's Tom Herman. But if Tanner can take what the Bulldogs got rid in a high character guy like Richt and allure him to bring his family to Columbia, he'll have the entire university population grinning from ear to ear.
It's just a matter of convincing him of the better opportunity.