Miami Hurricanes Hiring Mark Richt Over Butch Davis Was Right Decision


When Blake James finally fired Al Golden last season, many Miami Hurricanes fans were calling for Butch Davis to return to Coral Gables. When Mark Richt was fired from Georgia, it only took James two days to hire Richt to return to his alma mater.

One of the criticisms of Davis was his age.  Davis will turn 65 on November 17. Sixty-five is the age associated with retirement, not taking on the task of rebuilding a football program. Fair or not, Richt is 56 and will turn 57 in February. That gives him eight years on Davis.

Davis has also been out of coaching since being let go at North Carolina in July 0f 2011. Davis was let go for his part in an academic cheating scandal at UNC. Richt has never had any allegations of wrongdoing in his programs. James could not take a chance on another scandal. The Hurricanes just got off probation October 28.

One of the tricks along the recruiting trail against rival coaches is to tell a potential recruit no one knows how long a coach at another school will be there. One of the biggest reasons is age. At the age of 65, it frequently would have been used against Davis.

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  • Steve Spurrier‘s tenure at South Carolina was a perfect example. Spurrier is one of the best coaches we’ve ever seen but he didn’t recruit wasn’t as well as he did at Florida. The uncertainty with how long Spurrier would stay was likely a part of that.

    The Ole’ ball coach finished 86-49 at South Carolina, the winningest coach in Gamecock history.  South Carolina finished 11-2 in each of the seasons between 2011-13. Those are the three most successful seasons in program history.

    Spurrier last season and a half their success dropped significantly. So Caroling finished 7-6 in 2014 and were 2-4 when he announced his resignation six games into the 2015 season. Spurrier was 70 at the time of his retirement.

    In spite of his success and a .637 winning percentage, he was far more successful at Florida. The Gators had a winning percentage of .817 under Spurrier.

    Davis expressed interest in Miami’s head coaching vacancy the day after Al Golden was fired:

    "“Obviously, I’d love to be considered for that opportunity and time will tell if whether or not that’s the direction the school would like to go,” Davis said during his weekly radio segment on 790 The Ticket Monday morning. “The relationships with the players, you spend 11 years there, you’ve got an awful lot invested in the community and hopefully, maybe, my name will be one that will get an opportunity to be considered.”"

    Recruiting has changed drastically since Davis’ tenure on the Miami sidelines. He did help lead the ‘Canes out of the Pell Grant scandal during the Dennis Erickson era and re-build the Hurricanes into a National Power.

    Richt is an experienced coach who discussed that he has a particular ways of doing things. Davis’ experience getting the Hurricanes out of the hole of probation could help, but Richt clearly has his own vision.

    The Hurricanes did the right thing hiring Richt. They needed to start fresh and he was the best coach available at the time of his hiring. Bringing Davis back would have been reaching for lightning in a bottle.

    Next: Redwine and Elder have Ceased Opportunities

    Richt has been clean in 15 years as a head coach. Davis’ infractions at UNC would have been too much for a school with decades of their own infractions to take on. Richt is also what you can call a “Miami Man” He grew up in Boca Raton and was Jim Kelly’s backup in the late 1970’s and early 80’s