ATHENS — The only man now ahead of Mark Richt on Georgia’s all-time victory list expects Richt to eventually pass him as well.
Vince Dooley remains first with 201 career victories, 61 ahead of both Richt and Wally Butts. Richt tied Butts with Georgia’s win over Southern on Saturday.
Dooley has long been in Richt’s corner, having hired him as Georgia’s coach in 2000. So Dooley said no one would be happier than him to see Richt get to 202.
“Coach Richt was my last hire, so I can’t think of anybody that I’d rather have to break records than him. He’ll eventually break mine, and I couldn’t be more proud of anybody doing it than him,” said Dooley, who stepped down as athletics director in 2004. “I’m sure coach Butts would say also that he’s had a little bit more of an opportunity because they didn’t play but 10 games (a season) when coach Butts was coaching. They didn’t have all the other championship games and everything else involved. But nevertheless records are made to be broken.”
Richt is on pace – if he continues his average of winning 9.75 games per year – to break Dooley’s record in 2023.
Tying Butts (coach at Georgia from 1939-60) on the all-time list is “awesome,” Richt said Saturday, and an “honor” be on the same page with Butts. Beyond that, however, Richt cited Butts’ former players remaining in touch to this day.
“That’s the beauty of college football, the camaraderie that lasts a lifetime,” Richt said. “So just to be near his name in the records, that’s pretty neat.”
The one thing Richt doesn’t have is a national championship, something Butts and Dooley achieved. Butts’ name is on Georgia’s football building, along with Harry Mehre, and Dooley has a statue.
But Dooley said he doesn’t believe Richt needs a championship to establish his legacy at Georgia.
“Not at all. He’ll win more championships,” Dooley said of Richt, who has two SEC championships, in 2002 and 2005. “But sometimes some of the greatest coaches never won a national championship. Bo Schembechler, one of the great coaches of all times (never won one). And sometimes those that have, it all just falls into place. It certainly fell into place for me in 1980. The ball bounced right and everything.”
Dooley didn’t win his national title until his 17th season. Richt is in his 15th. And Dooley, who still lives in Athens and watches the program closely, thinks Richt has made gradual changes that keep things from going stale.
“The changes that have been made have been great. He might have as good a coaching staff now than he’s ever had,” Dooley said. “They’re off to a great start. I hope it’ll continue on.”