Kyle has done the digging over at Dawg Sports to get to the bottom of Mark Richt’s contract and the associated buyout clauses. I agree with his ultimate conclusion that Mark Richt will end his coaching career in Athens. We’d be very fortunate for that to happen.
Something tells me though that the end of Richt’s career will come sooner than we think it will. He won’t be one to hang on until he dies in the job or stays on out of hubris in pursuit of immortality. Given his already-impressive involvement in his church and community, I could almost picture a “career change” – a moment years down the road where Mark Richt steps away from coaching several years before the norm to devote his energy to his family, faith, and faith community while he is still able.
Clearly Richt sees coaching as a position where he can make a positive impact on others, and I’m sure that’s a big part of what fires him up each day and each year. As he said in 2005,
I coach because I love these players; I want them to succeed in life, and I hope that I can make a positive impact on their lives to where they can become a very good husband, a very good father, a very good employee, a very good citizen.
No one knows if the time will ever come, but it’s possible that Richt might one day conclude that his talents and time could make a bigger impact in a different type of service. If his coaching career continues on the same trajectory, the Bulldog Nation will be as simultaneously proud and heartbroken as it was the day Herschel Walker left for the USFL.
I don’t suggest that such a time is imminent or even foreseeable or that I want it to come any sooner than you do. Selfishly, I want the Richt era to last as long as possible. I just don’t see it ever getting to the point where we’re asking whether or not the game has passed by a 75-year-old Mark Richt.