Coral Gables, FL — In possibly one of the most relaxed environments, filled with optimism and laughter, former University of Miami quarterback Mark Richt was introduced today as the school’s 24th head football coach. Richt comes to Miami after spending just over a decade at the University of Georgia as a head coach and a significant amount of time at Florida State as an assistant prior too. He left Miami in 1982 just before they won their first national championship the following season.
“I’m just very excited to be home. This is home. I’m just very thankful. I understand the proud traditions at the University of Miami – academically and athletically, football in particular. I know what it’s about. I came close to being on a national championship team. I left in 1982 and that 1983 season obviously was the one. It was Don Bailey who made it happen, quite frankly [laughter].”
The playful jab at Bailey was part of the banter that made today’s press conference so unique. It felt like Miami had truly brought back a favorite son. Coach Richt’s relationship with Don Bailey, a color broadcaster for each football game on WQAM 560, was evident the way the two bounced back and forth with each other throughout the press conference. Bailey played center during Richt’s time at Miami.
Throughout the conference, Richt had a demonstrated ease. A very professional but veteran approach to everything, clearly showing he’s ready for the job at Miami because it probably doesn’t compare to the washing machine life of coaching in the Southeastern Conference. Or maybe it was just the comfort of finally getting a chance to enjoy being home. A place where he had gown, matured and played the sport he loves to coach.
“I have not been here for a long time. The biggest reason was I became a Seminole. When you’re a Seminole, you’re really not welcome around here, and I understand that.”
Now Richt turns his attention to staff building and recruiting. Things he was asked about immediately during his introductory and celebratory welcome to the university this morning.
“Hiring a staff is huge, and I’m going to be deliberate. I’m going to take my time. I’m going to be careful that I do the right thing. What I’ve told the staff at Georgia, and what I would tell the staff here, is that my goal is to assess everything that I can possibly assess in trying to determine what’s going to be the best for this football team and for this University. I have not made any promises to anybody, in that regard, and I’ve got a little time to do it. I’d rather be right than fast.”
As for recruiting, he’s in love with the bevy of talent in South Florida but said that it only presented one problem.
‘We can’t take everyone.’
Richt said his wife was unable to attend the presser because she was studying for an examination as she’s currently in school. But he did say that he intends to make a home in Miami and has no designs on doing anything but retiring as the head coach at the University. Everyone seemed to be completely comfortable with that notion, a positive sign for the outset of the Richt era at Miami.