Over the coming weeks and months, the Maryland football program will search for a new head coach to replace the departed Randy Edsall. We know (roughly) who the candidates are, but who should Maryland pick? We'll state every coach's case, whether he wants the job or not, in 500 words or fewer.
Mark Richt, Georgia head coach
Possibility scale: 4/10
Richt has had a very strong run as the head coach at Georgia since 2001. Before that, he spent the better part of 15 years on Florida State's offensive staff, including six years as the coordinator under legendary head coach Bobby Bowden. He made a one-year cameo as the coordinator at Eastern Carolina in 1985.
Since Richt's been in Athens, he's been an absolute success. In 15 years leading the Bulldogs through the brutal SEC, Richt is 141-51. He was the league's coach of the year in 2002, and he's coached six consensus All-Americans. He has nine 10-win seasons in 15 tries. He's had a losing record exactly once, and that came via a 2010 bowl game loss.
But Georgia is a bit down this year at 5-3, and SEC football fans and administrators are not known to be the most patient bunch in the world. So there are serious conversations being had about Georgia either firing Richt or pressuring him into a more amicable divorce. So here we are, theorizing about Mark Richt, Maryland Head Coach.
We're not grabbing Richt's name out of thin air. About a year ago, Maryland hired former Georgia athletic director Damon Evans as its athletics CFO and associate AD to Kevin Anderson. Evans left Georgia on negative terms in 2010, but while he was there, he worked with Richt.
The two men seem to have been pretty close: "I do feel for Damon and his family," Richt told the Athens Banner-Herald after Evans departed that summer. "I've been working with Damon for almost 10 years now and had a very good working relationship with Damon and a personal relationship, too, with him and his family. I'm definitely sad for everyone in that regard."
Evans is widely believed to be involved on the front lines in Maryland's coach search. If Richt becomes available, Evans is almost certainly calling him. And Richt would be hard-pressed not to at least pick up the phone.
Richt also wins gobs of football games in the hardest conference in the country and has entrenched Georgia as one of the country's preeminent recruiting powers. No one should pretend getting him wouldn't be a coup for Maryland.
Richt might not be thrilled about coming to Maryland. He's 55 (not too old but certainly not young) and has enough money to take off as long as he wants if he leaves Athens. Richt would probably be expensive – he's making $4 million this year– even if he'd probably not be the most expensive person Maryland could hire.
Look, there are plenty of things that aren't perfect about Richt. The catch-all counterpoint: Georgia is Georgia, and Maryland is Maryland. For the Terps, Richt would be a leveling-up kind of hire.
In one sentence
Richt may well never want to come to Maryland, but his obvious connection to a high-level Maryland administrator might give the Terps the fortunate opportunity to woo him if he leaves Georgia.