Mark Richt, who was given the award in a vote by his peers, coached a team picked to finish third in the Eastern Division to its third division title and second overall conference title in four years. Richt, who is one of nine Division I-A coaches to win at least 50 games in his first five seasons, is 52-12 since coming to Athens from Florida State. That winning percentage is second all-time among SEC coaches who have coached in the league five or more seasons.
"That's a great honor, especially coming into a year where we were picked third in the East," quarterback D.J. Shockley said. "He's not really the flashy type. He really just gets the job done, and that's the bottom line."
Shockley addressed the crowd at halftime of Wednesday night's Georgia-Georgia Tech basketball game as the Bulldogs were recognized for their most recent championship. Georgia beat LSU 34-14 on Saturday in the Georgia Dome to win the conference.
Richt was not available for comment on his honor and did not attend the ceremony because he is on the road recruiting. He is scheduled to make an in-home visit with California tight end Na'Derris Ward today.
The only coaches to win two SEC titles in their first five seasons before Richt were Alabama's Frank Thomas, LSU's Bernie Moore and Nick Saban, Florida's Steve Spurrier and Georgia's Vince Dooley. Richt's 32-11 record in conference game is sixth-best among all SEC coaches by percentage.
"To say I didn't think about it would be lying, but (Cutler) is well-deserving," Shockley said.