There is a lot of talk out of Athens that Mark Richt, head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs, is on the hot seat because of the lumps his team has taken this season. Georgia is 1-4, fresh off a loss to Colorado. The Bulldogs only victory has come over Louisiana-Lafayette.
The team lost their star wide receiver, AJ Green, for the first four games, are breaking in a freshman quarterback and don’t have a stout defense like Georgia fans are accustomed to. So, fans are calling for Richt’s head?
Funny enough, Georgia welcomes Tennessee to Sanford Stadium this weekend, and if any fan base knows about chasing a coach out of town, it is Tennessee. Phillip Fulmer coached at Tennessee from 1992 to 2008 – when he was chased out after a few dismal seasons. Fulmer won two SEC titles and a National Championship at Tennessee. His program was one of the best in college football.
The University, boosters and fans were not patient through a few down years and ousted Fulmer. Since then, they got one year of Lane Kiffin before he bolted for USC and now have Derek Dooley.
When you are fed up with your head coach, it’s worth thinking about who the likely replacements are. Georgia fans can look across the field this weekend and see some Volunteer fans who would gladly take Fulmer back.
So for Georgia, who are the likely replacements?
› Will Muschamp – the Texas coach-in-waiting and Georgia grad. Not sure that he’d turn in the keys to the Texas kingdom.
› Kirby Smart – the former Georgia player is Nick Saban’s defensive coordinator at Alabama. Would Georgia take someone without head coaching experience?
› A non-BCS qualifier coach who has had success: Chris Petersen, Gary Patterson or Kyle Whittingham.
Are any of those names better than Richt? Hard to believe they would make a huge impact, plus fans would have to wait through a few rebuilding years where players and staff are installed and learn a new system.
How important is consistency for top programs? Extremely important. Another fan base that knows a thing or two about that is Michigan. They got rid of Lloyd Carr and now have a huge question mark in Rich Rodriguez. Let’s look at coaches in the USA Today Top 10:
1. Alabama – Saban – 4 years
2. Ohio State – Tressel – 10 years
3. Oregon – Chip Kelly – 4 years (2 HC, 2 coordinator)
4. Boise State – Petersen 10 years (5 HC, 5 coordinator)
5. TCU – Patterson – 11 years
6. Oklahoma – Stoops – 12 years
9. Arizona – Stoops – 7 years
10. Utah – Whittingham – 7 years
I could keep going down the list here, but I’ll stop at the top 10. What sticks out?
› 6/10 coaches have been at their school longer than 4 years
› 4/10 coaches have 10+ year tenures
› On average the Top 10 coaches have been at their schools 7 years
I’m not saying that you should keep the wrong guy steering a program, but maybe Universities should start thinking more about continuity than immediate results.
After Tennessee, Georgia has Vanderbilt and Kentucky. With Green back and new players becoming more comfortable in the systems, maybe things will take a turn for the better for Richt and the Bulldogs.
On a completely unrelated note, Tennessee is +12 at Georgia this weekend. I think Georgia wins the game but 12 points is too many – take Tennessee and the points!