Some quick highlights of Mark Richt’s introductoory press conference at Miami, which was available to watch online. (AJC reporters Steve Hummer and Jeff Sentell are down there and will have more in-depth coverage soon.)
– Richt initially had contact with Miami back in October, after previous coach Al Golden was let go.
“I said no,” Richt said.
Then came Sunday and his firing at Georgia, or what Richt smiled and called “the mutual agreement.” Miami reached out again.
“This time I said, You know what, I’ve been saying no for 15 years. It’s time to listen,” Richt said.
– Richt was asked about recruiting for Miami now and whether that could impact the players who committed to him at Georgia, or who he was recruiting for the Bulldogs.
“Recruiting’s not over till it’s over. If it’s a mid-year player it’s over when he enrolls in school. If he’s going to sign on signing day then it’s over then,” Richt said. “That’s part of the assessment that’s going on. I want to assess the class that’s committed. I want to assess the team that’s (here). I want to assess the recruiting board.”
Richt never mentioned five-star quarterback Jacob Eason, who he flew out to visit last month when he was still Georgia’s coach. Eason just completed a visit to Florida.
“I’m not gonna keep a young man from calling me and saying hey, I’m interested, I wanna visit. I mean I’m not gonna try to steal the board,” Richt added, apparently alluding to Georgia’s recruiting board. “The goal truly is for the young men to find the best place for them. And if the best place is the University of Miami then I’m not gonna try to talk them out of it.”
– As for assistant coaches, Richt said he has made “no promises” to anybody about joining the staff, and that he’d “rather be right than fast.”
“I’m gonna be deliberate. I’m gonna take my time. I’m gonna make sure I do the right thing,” Richt said. “What I’ve told the staff at Georgia and what I’ve told the staff at Miami: My goal is to assess everything that I could possibly assess and try to determine what’s the best thing for this football team and this university.”
– Why did he change his mind on coaching again?
“Two things happened, quite frankly: One was just the outpouring of people that were thanking me for being an influence on their life, a positive influence. Just incredible text messages, phone calls. Even guys I dismissed from the team,” Richt said. “That was big, to know that at this position you have an opportunity to affect lives in a positive way. So that got me.
“Then the other thing was the University of Miami, and the fact that it’s my home, it’s the alma mater. And when you coach you want the opportunity to do big things. By virtue of the fact it’s been done before, that’s a good indicator.”
He also added, with a smile: “I knew that this job wouldn’t be open next year, so I’d better do it.”
– Prior to taking the podium a steady stream of Miami people lauded him. Richt was referred to as a “difference-maker” by Don Bailey Jr., a former teammate and Miami color commentator. Trustee David Epstein said “we are all excited to welcome Mark Richt home.” President Julio Frenk called Richt “a true Hurricane.”
Bailey also referred to “my quarterback becoming the coach at the University” as “a dream come true.”
– Richt began his comments by saying that his wife Katharyn couldn’t be there.
“She’s a nursing student back home – well at what used to be home,” Richt.
Later he referred to the new home.
“This is our home. We love it. And this is where we’re going to finish our coaching career,” Richt said. “My goal is to finish my coaching career at the U. And I’m very excited about the possibility of that.”
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