By Jeff Fox
Okay, I admit it. I was one of those folks screaming for the head of Mark Richt during some of those awful UM performances. He looked clueless, he looked lost. He still had five years left and more than $20 million left on his contract, he could have stuck around a lot longer gotten a lot richer and we may have sunk a lot deeper as a program, or maybe not. Who knows?
Thank God Richt did some soul searching following last Thursday night’s humiliating loss to Wisconsin at the Pinstripe Bowl. I am sure heard the roar from the legendary alumni at The U. This was not who we are !! No way somebody had to go !!
So, Mark Richt, an honorable man did a most honorable thing. After 18 years as a head coach, he decided that his time had come. He chose to hold his head high and simply walk away.
As a die-hard Canes fan, the memory of a number 2 ranking and a 41-8 beatdown of Notre Dame on national TV was a distant memory. It seems after that 10-0 start in year two, the Canes hit a wall.
ALL WE DID WAS LOSE AND EVERYBODY NOTICED. No more talk of the Canes being back. Miami sits at No. 42 right now in the Rivals Team Recruiting rankings which means the once proud program where every kid in America once wanted to flash The U was reduced to the likes of….um…Temple?
The boos got louder and there was a stench in the air. We stunk and that brash, cocky Miami fanbase was forced to acknowledge we were not in the same class as even some mid-level schools. The quarterback play took me back to Kirby Freeman, Frank Costa, and Kyle Wright. Actually, we made those guys look pretty damn good.
Good move Mark Richt, thanks for being such a stand-up guy. He knew the buck stopped with him.
He held himself accountable and the change was made at the top.
This was not about character, you would be hard pressed to find a guy with more class than Coach Richt. He even donated 1M of his own money to the $41 million Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility. The Paradise Camp? Oh, that was all him, it’s just that something, somewhere went terribly wrong.
In comes Manny Diaz who had just departed for Temple, but thanks to some of that extra cash left on the table by coach Richt we were able to get our guy Manny back !!! I think this is the beginning of the return to glory for The U.
I love Manny Diaz, he is the energizer bunny that this program needed. The innovator of the Turnover Chain, he will bring us back to where we want to be. There is much work to be done, however, I think Coach Diaz is up to it.
Miami football will be just fine. A lot of good things happened under Coach Richt, much-improved facilities, ticket sales, booster support all trending in the right direction. Coach Diaz is going to take the baton and run with it from here.
We were heading down a dead-end street as a football program, by having the decency to step down after such a disappointing season. Mark Richt may have saved The U. Now the rebuild begins.
By Jeff Fox