Bowden: Richt a fine man, coach, recruiter

Credit: Palm Beach Post

Credit: Palm Beach Post

When former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden heard Georgia had fired Mark Richt, he did not believe his protégé was getting out of coaching for good.

But Bowden then started hearing rumors that Richt, 55, was talking to Maryland and Miami.

“He’s too young to get out and I was thinking how wonderful it would be if he stayed in coaching,” said Bowden, who coached his final game at the age of 80. “Why? Because we need his kind of men in coaching.”

When reports surfaced Wednesday that Richt was expected to sign a contract to become Miami’s next coach, Bowden said it was a perfect fit.

“Miami was such a power in the ‘80s, the early ‘90s,” Bowden told the Palm Beach Post Wednesday night. “Florida was the same way when Steve Spurrier went there. We had our success at Florida State. Then it all fell apart.

“Now Florida State is back. Florida looks like they are one their way. Now Miami looks like they will be back.”

Richt was expected to finalize a contract Wednesday night to return to his alma mater. He coached Georgia to a 13-7 victory over Georgia Tech, on Saturday and was fired the next day after 15 years at the school.

Prior to taking the job at Georgia, Richt spent 11 years as Bowden’s assistant at Florida State, seven as the offensive coordinator.

FSU won at least 10 games and finished in the top 5 of the final poll in each of Richt’s 11 seasons as a full-time assistant.

“Miami is a unique job,” Bowden said. “It’s a private school, rather than a state school, it’s surrounded by good football players. Like when Howard Schnellenberger went there, if you can get the local stars to stay at home they can be as good as anybody.

“It’s always been the feeling of the coaches at Florida State and Florida that whoever controlled Miami (recruiting) controlled the state. That’s what Jimbo has done lately.”

Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has rebuild the Seminoles in part by poaching some of the best players from the Miami area, including running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Dalvin Cook.

Bowden said he believes Richt, who played quarterback at Miami from 1978-82 after starring at Boca Raton High School, is the right person to get the best players in South Florida once again excited to play for Miami.

Although Bowden had heard Richt’s job was in jeopardy he never really thought the school would fire a coach that finished the regular season 9-3, won 74 percent of his games (145-51) and made 15 consecutive bowl appearances.

“I thought it would be a replay of the LSU thing, as soon as the last game is over we’ll announce he’ll be back,” Bowden said, referring to the about face LSU officials had with Les Miles. “Then I heard after the game with Georgia Tech the athletic director didn’t show up in the locker room. Most of my games after the game the athletic director come into the locker room to congratulate you or commiserate with you.

“When I heard nobody came to him that wasn’t a good.”

But it turned out very good for Richt and Miami.​