Miami Hurricanes former coach and QB Mark Richt discusses his recruitment

Sep 2, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA;. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 2, 2018; Arlington, TX, USA;. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Miami Hurricanes head coach and quarterback Mark Richt began his collegiate career during the last season under former head coach Lou Saban. Richt had to compete with Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly among other signal-callers for playing time during his Miami career.

In an interview with the Jackson (Tennessee) Sun, Richt spoke about his recruitment with Miami. Saban implied that Richt would be the savior for Miami. Saban and Miami finished 3-8 in 1977, the year before Richt signed with the Hurricanes. After leading Miami to a 6-5 season in 1978, Saban left to become the Army head coach.

Miami had its first winning season since 1974 and only the second in 11 seasons going 6-5 with Richt as a freshman in 1978. Richt was 11 of 29 for 139 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions. Richt played behind Kenny McMillian and Mike Rodrigue. The three QBs combined for seven TDS and 11 interceptions.

Kelly became the Miami Hurricanes QB in 1979 and held the position for most of the next four seasons, except for an injury-plagued senior year in 1982. Richt who went to high school in Boca Raton had his college football roots set in Coral Gables. It was a circuitous route that eventually led Richt back to Coral Gables.

"“When I was being recruited by the University of Miami, I was on a visit and was looking at a copy of the Miami Herald newspaper while I was in Coach Lou Saban’s office…And they had a story about everyone who’d committed to the team, and I was looking over the list.I asked about one player who was a QB/DB, and Coach said that one would be a DB. I saw another name who just had ‘QB’ next to his name and asked about him. Coach said someone had to be my backup, because he’d made it out to be I was going to be the quarterback to save the program because this was the early 1980s.They hadn’t become what they would be a few years down the road.”"

Following his Miami playing career, Richt had tryouts in the NFL with the Dolphins and the Denver Broncos who had future Pro Football Hall of Fame QB John Elway. Elway, Kelly and Dolphins legend and fellow HoF QB Dan Marino were all selected in the fabled 1983 NFL Draft. Richt discussed his path to coaching.

"“So in my mind I was the fourth-best quarterback in the world and no one knew it because I kept getting put with the three best,…But once enough people told me that I wasn’t as good at playing as I thought I was, that’s when I got into coaching.”"

Richt began his coaching career as a graduate assistant with Florida State in 1985. After leaving Tallahassee to become the offensive coordinator at East Carolina, Richt returned to the Seminoles to become the QB coach. Richt spent four seasons at the FSU QB coach before being promoted to OC from 1994-2000.

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Richt was hired as the Georgia head coach for the 2001 season where he remained through 2015. After being fired from Georgia Richt returned home to Miami. In three seasons at his alma mater Richt was 26-13. Richt oversaw several upgrades for the Miami Hurricanes. Richt contributed significantly to the Miami football program.