ATHENS, Ga. -- After enduring his first losing season as a head coach in 2010, Mark Richt seems to have Georgia's program pointed in the right direction with back-to-back SEC East titles and a 22-6 record over the past two seasons.
The Georgia Athletic Association's Board of Directors recognized that improvement at their quarterly meeting Tuesday by approving a raise and contract extension for Richt, who is entering his 13th season as the Bulldogs' head coach.
The board approved an increase in Richt's base compensation from $2.81 million to $3.2 million and added a year to his contract, taking him through 2017.
"We felt like the trend is going the right way, so we felt good about that," athletic director Greg McGarity said after the meeting.
Richt seemed to be on shaky ground after posting a 6-7 mark in 2010 and opening the 2011 season with back-to-back losses. But the Bulldogs closed the regular season on a 10-game winning streak to claim their first division title since 2005.
Georgia improved from 19th in the final Associated Press poll of 2011 to fifth in 2012, as Richt's team posted a 12-2 mark and came within an eyelash of upsetting eventual BCS champion Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC championship game.
That was apparently enough progress to convince McGarity to sit down with Richt and university president Michael Adams on Monday to discuss increasing Richt's base pay and adding another year to an incentive-laden contract they essentially rewrote just a year ago.
"Twelve wins, the manner in which he's done it, it's just something that we felt like we needed to do," McGarity said. "We met yesterday and talked about it and met with Dr. Adams late yesterday afternoon and all left the room happy, so that's where we are now."
According to a USA Today salary study last season, Richt's total pay ranked 14th among FBS head coaches and fifth among those in the SEC, trailing Alabama's Nick Saban, LSU's Les Miles, South Carolina's Steve Spurrier and Auburn's Gene Chizik.
Richt has been at Georgia longer than any of those coaches have been at their current schools, but they have also each won at least one national title in their head coaching careers.
"I think you're always concerned where your coaches stand in the hierarchy," McGarity said. "Someone that's the dean of the SEC coaches, we're all in a good place."
Richt admitted as much in a statement he released after the board's action.
"I'm honored and very thankful to Dr. Adams, Greg McGarity and the Athletic Board for their support in what we are working daily to accomplish," Richt said. "I look forward along with our staff to preparing this team for the challenges of another season. From what I've heard, our team is working hard in the offseason conditioning program and paying the price necessary to be successful in the fall."
The board did not approve any new facilty spending projects on Tuesday, nor did McGarity make salary increase requests for Richt's coordinators Mike Bobo and Todd Grantham. McGarity said he has discussed the issue with Richt "in broad terms," however.
"Mark and I haven't even met about it," McGarity said. "We've talked about it from a distance, but yesterday was the first time I was able to really get in front of him and talk about his situation. So we'll move forward in the next few days and talk about that, too."
Asked specifically about Bobo's contract, McGarity conceded that he expects to amend it in the offseason. Bobo is still on a one-year deal, while Grantham has a three-year contract that runs through January 2015.
But McGarity said he and Richt haven't finalized a plan on whether to lengthen Bobo's deal to be closer in line to that of his fellow coordinator.
"We haven't landed on anything, but [Richt] and I are talking about that," McGarity said of a possible raise for Bobo. "But I would expect there to be an adjustment there."