ATHENS — A “Rally for Richt” is planned Sunday on Sanford Bridge on the UGA campus, but the guest of honor might not be there.
Not if what’s being reported all over the place Wednesday is true. Mark Richt reportedly has accepted the head coaching job at Miami. The news came three days after it was announced that Georgia had fired its head football coach of the last 15 years.
Richt said at his news conference on Monday that he might want to continue to coach and would listen if there was interest. Then he proceeded to get bowled over with offers from Miami and Virginia, among others. Richt and his wife Katharyn met with Miami officials at a hotel in Atlanta on Tuesday. By Wednesday night, Richt reportedly accepted the offer to coach at his alma mater.
The question now is, what happens at Georgia. Richt spoke emphatically about “coaching these boys one more time” and trying to help the Bulldogs’ seniors win 40 games in four years.
But it’s unclear whether Richt could do that if he took the Miami job. The Hurricanes (8-4), who fired coach Al Golden midseason, are also headed to a bowl game. They’re currently being lead by interim coach Larry Scott. At least one bowl projection has Miami playing Georgia in the Music City Bowl.
Georgia officials contacted Wednesday night were not sure who might coach the Bulldogs if Richt did not. Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is expected to stay with the No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide if the win the SEC Championship game and compete in the College Football Playoff.
Defensive line coach Tracy Rocker holds the title of associate head coach with the Bulldogs. Wide receivers coach Bryan McClendon is also assistant head coach. So those two would presumably be under consideration.
Georgia (9-3) will not know its bowl destination until this Sunday. The Bulldogs will be placed in the SEC’s “pool of six” group that could end up in one of six different bowls depending on how it is brokered by the SEC office. The Outback Bowl in Tampa and the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl in Jacksonville have been the two most prominently mentioned. The Chick-fil-A (Atlanta), Belk (Charlotte), Music City (Nashville) and Liberty (Memphis) bowls are also possibilities.
A group that calls itself simply “Mark Richt Supporters” has organized a rally for the Bulldogs’ 15-year head coach Sunday at 2 p.m. to celebrate Richt’s tenure at UGA. They have created a Facebook Page for the event are asking fans to dress in black. If Richt does show up, he might be in green and orange.