CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) — The Miami Hurricanes will wait another day before making the official announcement that Mark Richt will be the next Hurricanes head football coach.
Richt touched down in South Florida Thursday and was greeted by University of Miami Athletic Director James Blake.
— Blake James (@CanesAllAccess) December 3, 2015
However, the soon-to-be 24th head football coach in school history is keeping a low profile until UM holds the official introductory news conference Friday at 10:00 a.m.
That news conference will be streamed live right here on CBSMiami.com.
Richt will be going back to where his college career began after it was widely reported that he reached a tentative agreement to be the new head coach.
Richt is a South Florida native and played for Howard Schnellenberger at Miami, graduating in 1982 when the Hurricanes were just becoming the program that would win five national championships in a 19-season span.
It’s now his job — or, technically, soon will be his job — to get the Hurricanes back to that elite level. Richt takes over a Miami program that hasn’t won more than nine games in a season since 2003, and hasn’t won a bowl game since 2006.
As Georgia’s head coach for the last 15 seasons, Richt averaged nearly 10 wins a season and led the Bulldogs to a pair of Southeastern Conference championships.
But are those accolades enough for the hardcore fans on campus?
“I think it is a great hire, but then again Miami wants national titles. His reputation in Georgia was he could not win the big one. That being said, I am extremely excited,” said UM student Matt Bunsa.
Bunsa might find solace from Miami Dolphins safety Reshad Jones who played for Richt at Georgia.
“He is a guy that is passionate about the game. He is soft spoken. He gets his point across without yelling at different things like that. I think they have a great one,” Jones said.
Richt was mentioned as a potential fit for Miami almost as soon as the Hurricanes fired Golden in October, with five games left on this year’s regular-season schedule and one day after the Hurricanes endured the worst loss in school history — a 58-0 defeat to Clemson.
The Hurricanes finished the regular season 4-1 under interim coach Larry Scott, who is still slated to coach Miami’s bowl game. The Hurricanes are not expected to learn their postseason destination before Sunday, but the Pinstripe Bowl is a top choice of Miami’s players.
“We need to finish this strong for coach Scott,” Miami offensive lineman Hunter Knighton said Wednesday. “And we want to be the team that wins a bowl game again.”
When it became known that Richt and Georgia were parting ways, speculation immediately centered on him being Miami’s front-runner even though other candidates were in the mix. Many fans campaigned for months with hope that Miami would hire Butch Davis, who left the school in 2000 and went 52-59 in his subsequent stops with the Cleveland Browns and North Carolina.
Other names were mentioned, including Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen and former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano. Among some trustees not directly involved in the search process, Scott had some support as well.
But in the end, it was Richt — who earlier this week suggested that he might not coach again.
Miami didn’t need long to change his mind.
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