The University of Georgia and Mark Richt finally completed a process that began way back during the week of the SEC Championship Game. Richt finally had his new deal approved by the athletic board and will remain the coach of the Bulldogs through the 2016 season.
Most of the terms of the contract haven't changed. The new deal runs through the 2016 season with no change in base salary although there are performance bonus increases. The biggest change came in what either side would owe should the University or Richt decide that he no longer should be coach of the Bulldogs.
The new contract eliminates a clause where Richt would have owed the school a minimum of $2 million. Now he is free to walk away with no penalty and no buyout. Georgia's obligation to Richt has also been lowered should he be fired. If terminated after the 2012 season Richt would be owed $4.8 million but that drops to $2.4 million every season thereafter.
While observers may read into this new deal that it is now much easier for both sides to part ways with one another, athletics director Greg McGarity doesn't see it that way.
"At the end of the day, I've always believed that money should not be a determining factor in people staying. That should not be an anchor behind somebody's neck. Life's too short. ... There's no question that Mark Richt wants to be at the University of Georgia. He and I are in a good place here."
Richt added that the the changes to the buyout were not something that he specifically asked for but were something that was suggested and he accepted. He reiterated his commitment to Georgia.
"I think that the bottom line is for me is gosh I think I've been here long enough for people to understand, and if anybody was here at my first press conference at Georgia, that Georgia's my home. Georgia is where I want to be. Georgia's the only job I want, the only job I have ever wanted as a head coach.