They were the two coaches who inflicted the most grievous defeats upon Mark Richt this season, losses that, ultimately, Richt could not survive.
Alabama’s Nick Saban and Florida’s Jim McElwain beat Georgia this year by a combined score of 65-13. Appearing Sunday on a teleconference in advance of their meeting in Saturday’s SEC Championship Game, both reacted to the news that Richt and Georgia had parted ways.
Said Saban, whose Tide crushed the Bulldogs 38-10 in Athens Oct. 3, back when Georgia was ranked No. 8 in the country and favored over Alabama:
“I don’t know what the world is coming to in our profession. Mark Richt has been a really good coach and a really positive person in our profession for a long, long time.
“I think when you win nine games, that’s a pretty good season. Especially with the body of work that he has been able to put together for as many years as he has been there.
“I hate to see people who have the character and quality and ability to affect young people in a positive way like Mark Richt not be a part of our profession.
“People don’t realize the importance of some of the other things that go into college coaching — helping develop young men as people, helping them develop careers off the field by graduating from school. We all get it. We know we have to win games. But winning nine games is not bad. He’s certainly won a lot of games for a long time. I hate to see these kinds of things.”
Said McElwain, whose Gator team took control of the SEC East with its 27-3 victory over the rival Bulldogs Oct. 31:
“This is a miserable time of year in this profession because there’s a lot of great coaches that have done great things at the different places they were at. Let’s celebrate what he has done. He has had a great career there.”
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