MIAMI – There was Mark Richt and no one else.
Don't let anyone fool you.
Yes, names like Butch Davis, Greg Schiano, and even Dan Mullen were out there, but anyone who has watched Miami football over the last decade knows that Richt was the only man for the job. He brings a resume from Georgia that should have Miami fans salivating: 145 wins in 15 seasons and multiple opportunities to win one of the toughest conferences in football. He won two SEC championships while running a well-respected and clean program.
But just as importantly, Richt brings something this program hasn't had in a very long time: stability.
Any coach who spends 15 years at a major program like Georgia in a tough conference like the SEC must be doing something right.
I can name the current college football coaches who I consider better than Richt on a few fingers. Richt can walk into the home of any recruit in America and demand immediate respect. That's something the Canes have sorely missed. He has gone head-to-head with the biggest coaches in college football and grabbed top players year-in and year-out.
Critics will say he never won a national title or didn't win big, but look at the overall resume. He won consistently in a difficult conference, playing regularly against teams that went on to win national titles. Do you know the last time Miami had a 10-win season? 2003. Do you know how many 10-win seasons Richt has had since then? Seven. The Canes have never even played for an ACC title.
Miami can only live in the past for so long. In the present and future of college football, you need a person in charge who has gotten it done and knows what it takes to win in the current landscape of the sport.
I give UM credit. It took a major financial commitment to take that step back into the group of programs that matter in college football.
Simply put, the Miami Hurricanes are relevant again. I am constantly asked when I think "the U" will be back? My answer isn't always about wins, but about respect and the ability to contend year-in and year-out.
Let's just say "the U" is back, because Richt is back to the place it all started for him as a college player.
The Canes couldn't strike out on another hire. They even admitted they needed a home run.
Well, they got that and more. They hit a grand slam.
Welcome home, Mark Richt, and welcome back to relevancy, the University of Miami.