Mark Richt’s abrupt decision to retire from Miami Hurricanes questionable

MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Head coach Butch Davis of the Florida International Golden Panthers and head coach Mark Richt of the Miami Hurricanes shake hands after the game at Hard Rock Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Head coach Butch Davis of the Florida International Golden Panthers and head coach Mark Richt of the Miami Hurricanes shake hands after the game at Hard Rock Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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The abrupt decision by Mark Richt to retire as the Head Coach of the Miami Hurricanes is questionable. The timing came less than two weeks after the early signing period for recruits and Defensive Coordinator Manny Diaz left for Temple.

Richt’s seemingly sudden decision to retire could have been influenced by many factors. There were rumblings that the board of trustees wanted Richt to hire a new Offensive Coordinator. A sizeable portion of the Miami Hurricanes fanbase also wanted Richt to fire his son Jon as the Quarterbacks Coach.

Miami’s offense had another abysmal performance in their 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl. The Hurricanes were 105th in total offense this season. The Miami Hurricanes had just 169 yards and six first downs against the Badgers. Quarterback Malik Rosier’s 62-yard run made up a sizeable portion of the total.

The annihilation by Badgers in the Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday night could have influenced Richt’s decision. Richt’s timing could potentially have long-lasting effects where the Miami football program goes from here.

Less than two weeks ago Diaz could have smoothly moved into Head Coaching job and the incoming recruits would have been reassured with the majority of the coaching staff being retained.

Safeties Coach Ephraim Banda and Outside Linebackers Coach Jonathan Patke were promoted to replace Diaz as Miami’s Co-Defensive Coordinators. If Diaz had stayed and replaced Richt, Banda and Patke’s promotions would have remained the same.

The announcement of Diaz taking the Temple job occurred right in the middle of the early signing period for high school recruits. The question is now what happens with them? Richt essentially bailed on those players and their families. Miami could be facing some of those recruits asking out of their National Letter of Intent.

Players sign with a school, not a coach officially. The majority of players go to play for a coach, not a school. Miami’s 2019 recruiting class is on shaky ground as it is. The Hurricanes Surge ’19 Class ranks 33rd in the country according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings.

Miami is also awaiting on a trio of prospects waiting to announce where they will sign next weekend during high school all-star games. Five-star and the nation’s top-ranked wide receiver in 2019 Jadon Haselwood, four-star defensive end Khris Bogle and four-star cornerback Tyrique Stevenson are considering Miami.

The likelihood is now that they will not wait for the Hurricanes to hire a new Head Coach. What was already a disappointing recruiting class is unlikely to a get a boost that many expected. Haselwood will likely sign with Oklahoma, Stevenson with Georgia and Bogle potentially Alabama.

Recruiting classes in college are short-term solutions. College sports are about the coaches and administrators for a university. Miami had a future coaching star in Diaz on their staff. Now it’s questionable if Miami Athletic Director Blake James and the Board of Trustees will or should decide to try and lure him back.

Diaz has been officially been the Temple Head Coach for less than two weeks. He has only been the full-time Head Coach for three days following Miami’s loss to Wisconsin. What will it say about Diaz’s loyalty and future as a Head Coach if he left that quickly to return to Miami?

If it didn’t work out for Diaz in Coral Gables his abrupt departure from Temple might make it difficult for him to ever get another Head Coaching job. After making Miami important again, Richt now leaves the program with more questions than answers.

Can the new Head Coach turn the recruiting class around? Can Miami rebound after their worst season since 2014? Can the Hurricanes compete in the ACC Coastal? Does Miami go after an established Head Coach or try and hire someone on the rise like Diaz?

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All of those questions will be key elements in determining who Richt’s replacement will be. This hire will define James’ tenure at Miami.