One hundred and forty-five wins is a lot for a college football coach over 15 seasons, but apparently they don’t really count. That’s because those 145 wins do not include a national championship, rendering them meaningless. In his decade and a half as head coach at the University of Georgia, Mark Richt did a remarkable job. He led the Bulldogs to a bowl game every season. He is a man of high character. He churned out NFL talent. And now he has been let go because, and only because, he failed to win the title.
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What in heaven’s name is wrong with college football? Administrators seem to have lost their minds. They have determined that the sole metric of success is national championships, and every other seemingly worthwhile accomplishment is not worthwhile or worth the financial investment. When only one metric determines success and only one team can achieve it each year, it rules out the vast majority of good coaches can do.
Mark Richt is well known as a man of God and a man who loves and respects his players. He holds them to a high standard and is not afraid to discipline those who step out of line. He won. He improved and stabilized the Georgia program after an uneven decade. He developed quality young men and successful professional football players while many of his peers struggled to do either. All this explains why the University of Miami, a once proud but now struggling program, was so quick to hire Richt. None of it explains the sense of his firing.
It was nonsensical. The standard to which Richt, Miles, and other coaches are held is asinine, unrealistic, even harmful for the programs. Championships are a goal, the apex goal, but they are not the only measure of success. When administrators fire coaches for failing to win a championship they overlook the importance of organizational health and stability and the significance of people development. And the team often declines after such a firing.
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