Richt on leaving UGA: 'Thanks for letting me stick around for a while'

Richt on leaving UGA: 'Thanks for letting me stick around for a while'
Former UGA head football coach and former AD Vince Dooley was on hand for the press conference on Monday. (Source: WSB/CNN)
Former UGA head football coach and former AD Vince Dooley was on hand for the press conference on Monday. (Source: WSB/CNN)

ATHENS, GA (WTVM) - After 15 years as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldawgs, Mark Richt and the University of Georgia have parted ways.

During a more than 30-minute press conference held in Athens on Monday, Richt thanked the Bulldawg Nation for "letting him sticking around for a while."

"All of the Dawg walks – everything – has been so memorable for me and my family," Richt said.

"Days like yesterday are the most difficult in our profession, especially when dealing with someone who has the character of Mark Richt. And we sincerely appreciate Mark's professionalism at all times," McGarity said.

Richt said that he has not decided to take another role within the athletic department, a statement offered in the school's announcement on Sunday. He said, however, that staying in Athens is an "attractive" option, but he'd like to continue to coach.

"I'll say this - if and when I do coach again, I'm looking forward to coaching again in terms of being more hands-on," Richt said. "I miss coaching quarterbacks, I miss calling plays, I miss that part of it. Whether it's in the role of head coach, coordinator, quarterbacks coach, whatever it is."

The University of Georgia and head football coach Mark Richt made the official announcement on Sunday; it came following the Bulldogs' 13-7 defeat of in-state rival Georgia Tech in Atlanta on Saturday.

"I see where I am, Georgia sees where they are, and everybody is going to do what they think is in the best interest of having success in the future, so that's kind of how I look at it," Richt said.

When asked why the decision was made to part ways, McGarity said those decisions "would stay between Mark and I" and refused several times to answer the question directly.

"That remains to be between Mark and myself. We had a good, mature, adult conversation on Sunday morning, an hour, hour-and-a-half or so," McGarity said. "Those things will remain between Mark and myself."

Richt talked about recruits, including the 5-star quarterback recruit Jacob Eason, the mindset of current players and what will happen next for he and his family.

"I am really at peace that it was a part of His plan," Richt said. "I am going to continue to be as obedient as I can be, to the Lord, to God, and see where he has Katharyn [Richt's wife] and I, and we're both at peace. We have been blessed abundantly at Georgia. Let's face it: 15 years at a major institution, an SEC school - just to get this job to begin with is kind of a miracle, so we're thankful, we're blessed."

"I think that 15 years is a long time. I think that the expectations have been built to the point where if you don't win a championship it's kind of miserable around here. When we don't make it to Atlanta I'm miserable too," Richt said.

MOBILE USERS: You can view the full press conference by clicking here.

In a statement released by the UGA Athletic Department on Sunday, athletic director Greg McGarity said the school and Richt decided to part ways following the bowl game.

"I appreciate the opportunity of serving the University as well as considering any other options that may present themselves in the future," Richt said.

But many media reports first broke the news as Richt was fired from his job. According to ESPN's Mark Schlabach, who first broke the news, a family friend confirmed the dismissal on Sunday.

Richt is 145-51 during his 15 years as the Georgia head coach.

It was another disappointing season for Dawgs fans; another season with the Bulldawgs projected to win the SEC East during a season where the team lose to Tennessee, Alabama and Florida as they fell from no. 9 in the county to unranked.

It was the third season to see UGA not live up to expectations of winning the east, with Missouri and Florida taking the divisional titles in that timespan.

Georgia hasn't won an SEC title since 2005, and last won the SEC East in 2012. They were four yards shy of winning the conference in 2012 during a loss to Alabama on the Crimson Tide's way to a national title.

Richt has agreed to coach the Dawgs in their upcoming bowl game with a shot for his tenth 10-win season as head coach. Richt won SEC Championships in 2002 and 2005 at Georgia.

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