Now that Damon Evans is officially out at Georgia as athletic director, his settlement has been revealed and the search for his successor is underway, the next question becomes: What does it all mean for Mark Richt?
In the short term, it probably takes some of the glare off Richt. Of course, that all changes when Sept. 4 rolls around.
While it’s true that football coaches don’t usually like change at the top, in Richt’s case, I don’t think it really matters. Evans wasn’t the athletic director who hired Richt in the first place.
Granted, Richt will be as interested as anyone in the Bulldog Nation to see who his new boss is going to be. But whoever it is, the pressure-cooker on Richt isn’t going to be turned up any more or any less.
His survival hinges on winning football games and the right games (as in Florida, Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia Tech, etc.) and getting back to the SEC championship game.
It’s no different than any other head coach in the SEC.
And while this shakeup in the Georgia athletic department has everybody buzzing, Richt’s future will be determined more by how redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Murray performs and a retooled defense under the tutelage of first-year coordinator Todd Grantham holds up.
The biggest variable may well be recruiting, and judging by what the 2011 class looks like so far for the Bulldogs, the hope surrounding this program would seem to outweigh the concern.
Ultimately, I still say there’s a better chance Richt wins an SEC championship in the next two or three years than there is that he loses his job.
As for Georgia's search for Evans' successor, Greg McGarity is a name to keep in mind. He's Florida executive senior associate athletics director for internal affairs and was a candidate when Evans was hired. McGarity went to school at Georgia and played tennis for the Bulldogs.