ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 3: Head Coach Mark Richt of the Georgia Bulldogs disputes a call against the LSU Tigers during the SEC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome on December 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
When Mark Richt's name began appearing in connection with the Texas A&M opening, I remarked on Twitter than I thought it was a result of his agent trying to get the contract extension process going. That comment sparked some good debate about Richt's status and whether the source of the rumors were his agent or misinformed A&M partisans.
I never thought Richt was going to leave Athens for College Station, so I assumed it was his agent. In fact, I assume all coaching rumors that obviously aren't going to happen come from agents this time of year. Given how ham-fisted the TAMU coaching search appeared from the outside though, it wouldn't have been outlandish if it was just chatter from Aggie boosters getting out of hand.
Now that RIcht's name is coming up in connection with the Penn State job, I am coming back around on the agent possibility.
Richt certainly fulfills the good character and success-at-a-high-level requirements for that place, but he also has zero ties to the area. Richt has spent all of his career from playing quarterback at Miami (FL) and on in the southeast. He's gotten Georgia back on track and has a great chance to keep that going with Florida and Tennessee rebuilding and Steve Spurrier closing in on the all-time South Carolina wins record (and the retirement that won't come too long after him taking hold of that record). Besides, why would Richt want to be the guy who follows Joe Paterno and be the outsider that many in the PSU community will reject?
In short, I don't think Richt will leave for Penn State. So why is his name being floated there? This could just be another case where it's completely one-sided, with only Nittany Lion supporters talking about wanting him to come. However, it's awfully suspicious that this is the second job Richt has been connected with in a little over a week. True, his stock has risen after winning 10 games, and the whole "hot seat" meme is dissipating. However, I don't remember Richt's name being tossed around like this after UGA's 11-win 2007 season or 10-win 2008 season.
Richt has been negotiating an extension since last Friday, which is around the time the A&M rumors were getting hot and heavy. UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said then that there is no rush because he and his coach on the same page. This whole thing just has me wondering if Richt's agent is also on that same page or if he's floating stories to get more leverage.
I guess the rumor mill can no longer exist without some kind of story about Richt leaving Georgia. If he's not going to get fired soon, then he's a top candidate for some other job. No matter what's going on with Penn State here, the only thing I feel certain about is that we'll see Richt on the sidelines at UGA for many more years to come.