Mark Richt is no longer the head football coach for the Georgia Bulldogs. The media is calling it a firing, while the school is calling it a mutual decision:
"Coach Richt and I met Sunday morning to discuss the status of our football program," said UGA J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics Greg McGarity, "and we mutually agreed that he would step down as head coach and would have the opportunity to accept other duties and responsibilities at UGA following the bowl game."
We've known for a little while that Richt's job was in serious jeopardy. After the loss to Florida, there were media reports of forces moving against him around the program. Not long after, reports said DC Jeremy Pruitt was a big problem within the athletic department, suggesting a level of instability that didn't bode well for Richt. Around the same time, the USA Today reported that Georgia AD Greg McGarity wanted to fire Richt after last year's top ten finish but was overruled by the president, which again, didn't speak well for Richt's future.
Richt finishes as the second winningest head coach in UGA history, behind only Vince Dooley. His record today is 145-51, and one of those columns will get incremented by one after the Bulldogs' bowl. Despite his long record of success, he hadn't won an SEC Championship since 2005, and he had only made two SEC title game appearances in that decade of drought.
It's early, so it's unclear whether or not the 55-year-old Richt will seek another coaching job or retire from the grind to work in the UGA athletic department and/or run his Paul Oliver Network charity full time. SBN's Steven Godfrey reports that UGA will target Kirby Smart, the Bulldog grad who is currently defensive coordinator at Alabama. With Richt's 15-year tenure at an end, the new dean of SEC football is Les Miles, who's been serving in Baton Rouge since 2005.