Georgia football coach Mark Richt is getting the first boost to his salary in nearly five years, bringing his total guaranteed compensation package to $3.2 million annually.
The Georgia Athletic Association Board of Directors on Tuesday evening approved the raise of about $400,000 from $2.81 million and extended his contract one year through the 2017 season at its regular winter meeting.
Richt agreed to the changes a day earlier in his annual postseason meeting with Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity and UGA president Michael Adams. It comes after a 12-2 season and a second straight trip to the Southeastern Conference championship game.
“It was time for us to do something in a preemptive way without him or anybody representing him to have to come to us,” Adams said after the board meeting “Just a statement of our support for and respect for him. …He seemed very happy.”
Richt becomes the fourth-highest paid football coach in the SEC. New Arkansas coach Bret Bielema also will make $3.2 million. They are behind Alabama’s Nick Saban ($5.32 million), LSU’s Les Miles ($4.3 million) and South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier ($3.55 million), who have all won national titles.
Richt and Bielema are the 10th-highest paid coaches in the nation, according to USA Today’s annual salary survey.
McGarity said the $3.2 million figure came about after looking at the changing salaries in college football.
“I think you’re always concerned where your coaches stand in the hierarchy,” McGarity said. “Someone that is the dean of the SEC coaches, yeah…we’re all in a good place.”
Before the raise, Richt’s was the sixth-highest paid coach in the conference behind newly hired Tennessee coach Butch Jones.
“I’ve never been very moved by what other people and other schools were doing,” Adams said. “We want to be competitive, but we think we need to make long-term commitments as much as possible to head coaches and we want them to do the same for us.”
While Richt got a new contract last year, it came without a raise in guaranteed total compensation, but doubled the maximum performance bonuses from $400,000 to $800,000. This season, he received $150,000 for winning the SEC East, $100,000 for reaching the Capital One Bowl and $100,000 for finishing with a top five ranking.
“Mark hit a lot of those marks this year, we hope he hits a lot more in the future,” McGarity said.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo is also in line for a salary increase. There has been talk between McGarity and Richt about a multi-year contract for Bobo as well, McGarity said. Bobo has worked under one-year contracts.
“We’ve talked about that in broad terms.” McGarity said. “Mark and I just haven’t finalized all that yet.”
Assistant coaching salary increases don’t require board approval.
“We’ll move forward in the next few days and talk about that, too,” McGarity said.
Richt’s deal keeps him under contract for five years.
That’s important to recruits Georgia is recruiting who are now juniors, McGarity said.
“Even though we know how coaches jump, sometimes those numbers don’t mean much,” McGarity said. “In the case of Mark, it does.”
The buyout terms were not changed, McGarity said.
Richt, who turns 53 on Monday, can leave any time during the length of the contract without having to pay anything to Georgia.
This is Richt’s first raise—not including cost of living increases–since March 2008, after Georgia finished the season ranked No. 2 in the nation in the AP poll.
Richt is 118-40 entering his 13th season.
He felt questions about his job security after a 6-7 season in 2010 and an 0-2 start the next season, but the Bulldogs rebounded with a 10-4 record in 2011 and 12-2 record this past season, reaching the SEC title game for the second straight season.
Georgia finished five yards away from reaching the national title game.
“The trend is going the right way,” McGarity said. “We felt good about that.”
Adams said he met with McGarity several times about Richt’s contract—starting at the Capital One Bowl in Orlando–and McGarity had some “preliminary conversations,” earlier with Richt.
The board’s executive committee met Tuesday in a meeting room across from Richt’s office before the full board meeting met in the football program’s multi-purpose room.
Richt stopped by to greet executive committee members and talked to them about his hip replacement surgery.
“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 in a statement released by the school. “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 off-season conditioning program and paying the price necessary
to be successful in the fall.”
— Please follow me at Twitter.com/marcweiszer