HOOVER, Ala. - This is the 15th time Mark Richt has come to Hoover for SEC Media Days.
That’s probably 15 times too many for the reserved Georgia head coach. That mark ties him with Phillip Fulmer as the most for a coach at any one school. In that time 43 other head coaches have also been at Media Days.
We’ve grown accustomed to Mark Richt in the media. He’s steady. He’s boring in front of the press. His teams win a lot, but they’ve yet to win it all.
Therefore, we’ve grown bored of him.
That he’s not won a national title is held against him every day. That fact seems to give license to the idiot class of media members (and they are numerous… let’s me tell you) that suggest that he’s on the hot seat after any Georgia loss.
It also suggests the narrative that winning national title means you are a better coach than your peers… can we really say that Larry Coker and Gene Chizik are better head coaches than Mark Richt? Can we say that Les Miles is better than Mark Richt with certainty? Is Bob Stoops better for sure? Mack Brown?
But we live in an all-or-nothing world of sports… where LeBron James is relentlessly criticized for losing in the Finals when Michael Jordan never did.
Then there’s the “talent” argument. Most of the folks making this argument wouldn’t know talent if it hit them in the face. They certainly won’t listen to reason or reality - like the reality that Georgia had recruited well in the past, but only good enough to average fourth-best in the SEC over the last half decade.
To say that Georgia has a talent advantage every week is… well - that’s the non-nuanced type of thinking that got this country into wars in Vietnam and Iraq.
Fact: Mark Richt has not won a national title.
Does that mean that he should be run off from a program that has won, at most four national titles in its existence? The delusion of the extreme college football fan seems to be reaching an all-time high.
That’s not to say that Richt gets a pass for not winning it all. Still, we’ve grown so accustomed to his face that we’ve failed to realize just how good he’s been over the long term. That he’s missing that one piece of hardware which has eluded him for 14 years is hardly an indictment of him considering that he’s leading a program that once relied on Ray Goff and Jim Donnan as head coaches.
Consider: At this point in his career Vince Dooley, who many claim to be the best coach in Bulldog history, had won three SEC titles (one shared; two outright), 103-49-6 (65%) and finished ranked in the top 25 five times in his first 14 seasons.
Mark Richt in that time? Two outright SEC titles, 136-48 (74%) and has finished ranked in the top 25 11 times.
Richt has won 33 more games and lost one fewer than Dooley during the first 14 years. What does that say about the state of the SEC as it stands right now?
Win it all or die.
There is no in between.