Sunday, November 11, 2012
Mark Richt & Gene Chizik: The Fork in the Road
When Mark Richt and Gene Chizik shook hands after Saturdays Georgia - Auburn football game, the roles had been reversed since they last exchanged greetings in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Two years ago Chizik was on top of the college football world while Richt was on top of the Hot Seat. Auburn was on the verge of a National Championship, while Georgia could not win an important game when it needed to. Last night found Chizik on the brink of being fired, while Richt's Bulldogs had just won The SEC East in the coach's 12th season at the helm in Athens. Now just a few facts for the record:
• Richt has won 115 games (losing only 39) in less than 12 seasons. He is one of only seven coaches in history to record 102 or more wins in his first seven seasons as a head coach.
• This will be Richt's fifth trip to the SEC Championship Game in 12 seasons. He's won twice. In 2003 he lost to LSU, the eventual national champion. Last season Georgia lost to No. 1 LSU.
• A win over Georgia Southern next week will give Georgia its 20th 10-win season in 120 years of football. Richt will own eight of those 20 10-win seasons.
Mark Richt has his faults as a major college head coach (Note: His faith is NOT one of those faults), and I don't know if he's the man to take Georgia to the 'next level'. However, the numbers above don't lie, and his body of work in Athens is indeed impressive. Congratulations to the Bulldog program in winning the division. It is a big deal.