Richt's raise moves him to $2.8 million

ATHENS – Georgia is more than keeping pace with its SEC competition on the football field, and now the man guiding the Bulldogs is back near the top third of the race for the league's top salary.

Head coach Mark Richt was given an $800,000 annual raise on Thursday, bumping his yearly salary to $2.8 million effective immediately. The move makes Richt the fifth-highest paid coach in the conference behind LSU's Les Miles ($3.8 million), Florida's Urban Meyer ($3.4 million), Arkansas' Bobby Petrino ($2.85 million) and Auburn's Tommy Tuberville ($2.83 million).

"In looking at everything, I felt that this salary was where it needed to be in the market place and deserved of what he has done for our institution," athletics director Damon Evans said. "This had a lot to do with what he's done. It also has to do with the market, but Mark has had a good track record. He's done an incredible job with his job."

The move was made official Thursday afternoon in a special meeting of the Athletic Association's executive committee. The meeting was held with a conference call because most of the committee members, including Evans and UGA president Michael Adams, were out of town.

Evans and Adams attended the first round of the SEC women's basketball tournament in Nashville, Tenn., on Thursday. Georgia played Alabama at 7:30 p.m.

The move comes two years into an eight-year deal that Richt signed in 2006 and does not change the length of that deal. The two sides still are contractually bound for six more seasons.

Richt, who guided the Bulldogs to an 11-2 record and a No. 2 national ranking last year, is 72-19 in seven seasons in Athens. He is one of only nine coaches in Division I-A history to win 70 or more games in his first seven seasons.

"I've always been excited about being at Georgia," Richt said. "I feel like I have been treated extremely well. I have never felt like I was being mistreated in any way, and I am thankful. The money really does not drive me, but a strong contract is good stability for the program and our coaching staff. The stronger the contracts are the stronger the stability is, and that's my goal."

The deal announced Thursday will include raises for Georgia's assistant coaches, but the terms of those deals were not released.

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