Rumors circulated on social media prior to Georgia’s game against Louisville in the Belk Bowl, that no matter the outcome, Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt will retire after the game.
In his post-game press conference, Richt laughed when asked of the rumor. “That’s the plan,” Richt said when asked if he was returning in 2015. “You can go ask the team,” he directed towards Nick Chubb jokingly. “Nick, did I retire?” Chubb shook his head no.
With the 34-17 win against the Cardinals, the Bulldogs finished 10-3 this season, Richt’s ninth 10-win season since becoming head coach in 2001. Since then, he has climbed up to fourth on the list of winningest active coaches with a 136-48 record. In the history of NCAA DI football, Richt is one of five coaches to win at least 115 games in his first 13 seasons.
Georgia AD, Greg McGarity, sent out an email to top donors confirming an extension and a raise for Richt. Although no details have been released yet, Richt will stay past his 2017 contracted season and receive a raise from his current $3.2 million annual salary.
“I look forward to working alongside Mark in the future and in helping him move our program forward in all areas,” McGarity wrote. “We will be working on a contract extension with Mark over the coming days. I know Mark is focused on completing his coaching staff and recruiting,”
Richt is not the only personnel on staff receiving an extension and raise. First-year defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt added on another year and a $450,000 (65%) raise to his contract. He will stay with the Bulldogs until the 2018 season with an annual pay of $1.3 million.
“Our defense has performed overall at a very high level this season and much of it is due to Jeremy’s leadership,” Richt said. “It’s important that we solidify his tenure at Georgia and continue to build our defense in all areas including recruiting, coaching and player development.”
Under Pruitt, who has three national championship titles — one with FSU and two with Alabama, Georgia’s young defense has improved very much, especially in the secondary. Georgia’s pass defense went from No. 59 nationally in the 2013 season under Todd Grantham to No. 5 this past season. Georgia’s turnover ratio also jumped 97 spots, improving from 101st to 4th in the nation under his coaching.
With the departure of offensive coordinator Mike Bobo and O-line coach Will Friend, Richt and Bulldogs are looking to fill their positions to complete their staff for the 2015 season. Bobo accepted the head coaching position at Colorado State as the head coach and brought Friend along to be his offensive coordinator.
A lot of names have been thrown around in speculations but no details have emerged. Tight-ends coach John Lilly, who called the offensive plays in place of Bobo in the Belk Bowl, is a prospect in for the position. The Bulldogs hope to fill the two positions soon with National Signing Day just under a month away and with one of the top recruiting classes in the nation verbally committed.
*Section Photo credit to Scott Cunningham, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Kim Klement, USA Today Sports