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In Mark Richt, Canes have something they've never had when hiring a football coach -- a proven winner

(That's how Hurricanes players feel about Mark Richt and probably Hurricanes beat writers now that the coaching search appears to be over)

Go back and look at the history on your own if you want to.

Either way, I'm going to provide a quick lesson.

Mark Richt, assuming there are no hiccups in the final contract negotiations with Miami, is something the Hurricanes have never had before when its hired a football coach. It's called a proven winner.

Although most people up Athens, Ga. might disagree with that sentiment because Richt, 55, never won a national title as a head coach, he's about as close as you can get to a guarantee when it comes to finding someone to lead your program out of irrelevance. 

Richt's 145-51 record ranks seventh among all active head coaches in wins. Only Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer (237), Alabama's Nick Saban (193), Missouri's Gary Pinkel (191), Oklahoma's Bob Stoops (179), Cincinnati's Tommy Tuberville (155) and Ohio State's Urban Meyer (153) have more. Beamer and Pinkel are retiring after this season. 

Richt's career .7398 winning percentage, by the way, ranks 41st all-time. Only Meyer (.855), Washington's Chris Petersen (.815), Stoops (.7991), Saban (.7618), TCU's Gary Patterson (.7513) rank better among active coaches with at least 10 years of experience. Richt, by the way, is right behind Bobby Bowden's .7402 win percentage.

The point is Miami has never landed a coach with such a sterling resume.

The Hurricanes have always opted to go the cheap route and find a coach who was looking to prove themselves on the job.

That worked in the 1980s and 1990s with Howard Schnellenberger (he spent one-plus years as the head coach of the Colts 4-13), Jimmy Johnson (29-25-3 at Oklahoma State), Dennis Erickson (18-16-1 at Wyoming and Washington State) and Butch Davis (no head coaching experience when Miami hired him). But that was before college football really started to make money. 

That same, cheap approach really hasn't worked out since for Miami.

Larry Coker (no head coaching experience), Randy Shannon (no head coaching experience) and Al Golden (27-34 at Temple) were all inexpensive, we're-going-to-throw-our-hands-up-in-the-air-and-just-believe-our talent-will-carry-us-hires by Miami's administration.

Go back and look.

Want to know who landed new head coaching jobs in 2001 when Miami decided to turn things over to their offensive coordinator? Meyer at Bowling Green (they went from 2-9 to 8-3 in his first season), Gary Patterson at TCU, Les Miles at Oklahoma State, Pete Carroll at USC, Jim Tressel at Ohio State, Gary Pinkel at Missouri and some guy named Richt at Georgia. 

A year after Florida hired Meyer from Utah to a seven-year, $14 million deal in 2005, the Hurricanes fired Coker and signed Shannon to a four-year, $4 million deal. Who else was hired then? Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, Mark Dantonio at Michigan State and Brian Kelly at Cincinnati. 

In Dec. 2009, FSU hired Jimbo Fisher to take over for Bobby Bowden at $9 million over five years. A year later, when Shannon was fired, Miami spent less than $2 million to bring in a guy from Temple and then restructured his contract a year leater and extended him through 2019 because he was blindsided by the school's NCAA mess. In 2010, David Shaw took over at Stanford and Dana Holgorsen was named head coach at West Virginia.

Money doesn't always solve problems. But it doesn't hurt.

Richt, who was making roughly $4.1 million a season at Georgia before being fired Sunday, is expected to be paid at least $4 million a year by UM. And its almost safe to assume he would not agree to get to this point in the negotiations if he didn't believe the school would have enough money to pay for quality assistant coaches too.

Say what you want about Richt's record against Florida (5-10), his average record against ranked teams (39-36), but do you really want to go back and look at what Golden did against ranked teams and UM's rivals? I didn't think so.

What's happened between Miami and Georgia since Richt went from being Florida State's offensive coordinator under Bowden where he coached two Heisman winners in Charlie Ward (1993) and Chris Weinke (1999) to coaching the Bulldogs are two vastly different roads. 

Yes, UM won a national title under Coker in 2001. But the Canes have been on a downward trend ever since.

** Georgia has had 79 players drafted since 2002 including 12 first round picks. UM during that same time had 81 players drafted including 23 first round picks. Georgia went 145-51 including 9-5 in bowl games. Miami went 124-64 including 4-7 in bowl games.

** UM has been ranked once in the final Top 25 poll since 2006 (19th in 2009). Georgia has been ranked in the final AP poll six times since 2006 including as high as 2nd in 2007 and 5th in 2012.

** Georgia by the way under Richt was ranked in the Top 10 of the AP poll at one point or another in 11 of his 15 seasons. Miami has been ranked in the Top 10 twice in the last 10 years.

** The Bulldogs' recruiting classes since 2002 were ranked no worse than 15th every season by Rivals.com and were in the top 10 a total of 11 times. The Hurricanes have had just two top 10 ranked classes by Rivals since 2006 (2008 and 2012). 

You can say, well, Georgia is always loaded with talent. Of course Richt should have won. 

In the 15 seasons before Richt arrived, the Bulldogs only had two double-digit win seasons. That happened nine times under Richt in his tenure and could again if he ends up coaching Georgia in the bowl game.

The Hurricanes haven't had a double-digit win season since 2003. 

Now, Miami appears to have a coach who churns them out consistently.

That will get you in the Top 25.

That will make Miami relevant again.

That makes Miami a winner today.

***** 

By the way, he's a look at local recruits who have signed with Georgia since 2002:

2016
CB Malek Young, Coconut Creek, 3-star (commitment)

2015
ATH Shaq Wilson, Coral Gables, 3-star
LB Juwan Taylor, Hallandale, 3-star
DB DeAndre Baker, Northwestern, 3-star

2014
RB Sony Michel, American Heritage, 5-star
WR Isaiah McKenzie, American Heritage, 4-star
WR Gilbert Johnson, American Heritage, 3-star

2012
K Marshall Morgan, American Heritage, 3-star

2011
LB Kent Turene, Boyd Anderson, 3-star

2009
WR Rantavious Wooten, Glades Central, 4-star

2008
K Blair Walsh, Cardinal Gibbons, 3-star
DE Jeremy Longo, Cardinal Gibbons, 3-star

2006
DE Geno Atkins, St. Thomas Aquinas, 4-star
OL Kevin Perez, Killian, 3-star

2005
DT Jeff Owens, Plantation, 4-star
WR Mike Moore, North Broward Prep, 4-star
DB Donovan Baldwin, American Heritage, 3-star

2003
OL James Lee, Glades Central, 3-star

2002
OL Max Jean-Gilles, North Miami Beach, 4-star

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