DN Roundtable: Richt's contract

Georgia’s head coach Mark Richt and defensive coordinator Todd Grantham finally got their new deals from the athletic association. Athletic director Greg McGarity took time to point out that Richt did not get an extension of his old contract; rather he received an entirely new one that keeps him at Georgia until 2016. It took six months to get the two contracts finalized after they were announced in December. That long wait, plus the newly released details, are the basis for this week’s roundtable discussion:

“What do you think is the most interesting element of the new contracts for Mark Richt and Todd Grantham?”

David Ching: The most interesting element of Richt's new contract is not just that they removed the monetary penalty if Richt opts to leave before the contract ends -- it was previously a minimum of $2 million -- but that athletic director Greg McGarity was apparently the one who proposed the change.

McGarity said he sees no reason to burden a coach who has been at a school as long as Richt has been at Georgia with a penalty for deciding to do something else. Richt said the alteration was fine with him, although he seemed fairly indifferent to the change when discussing it Thursday evening.

Richt is certainly not the only head coach who has the ability to leave his school with no penalty, but that's a lot of faith for the school to show in its coach. Obviously it's merited, as so many members of Richt's family have moved to Athens and he has never openly lobbied for other jobs. He's a genuine guy, and when he says Athens is home he means it. Nonetheless, he won't do this forever. It's exceedingly fair for Georgia to allow that he can leave at any time if he decides coaching the Bulldogs is something he no longer wants to do.

Radi Nabulsi: When I read David’s breakdown of the Richt contract I was immediately struck by the fact that Richt is not getting a raise. I cannot recall many instances of a new coaching contract that did not include increased remuneration. For example, Grantham is getting a new deal and his has a raise in it.

That is not to say I did not agree with the idea. Richt is paid handsomely, and if he wins like he did last year he will be able to afford many meals at Waffle House. Going into last season, Richt’s posterior was squarely on the hot seat and, after losing the first two games, many were thinking he might not be the Bulldogs' coach at the end of the year. Richt went on to win 10 games in a row and the SEC East, but that hardly requires showering him with additional millions. Two years ago, Richt’s team went 6-7. Last year they beat the teams they were supposed to and went 0-4 against teams ranked in the final AP Top 25. Nothing in that screams raise to me.

Winning an SEC East crown got Richt a new contract and removed the heat. Good recruiting and improved personnel will likely help him do it again. McGarity designed a perfect win-win scenario. He couldn’t make the case that Richt deserved more, but he expects big things from Richt and his team. If all goes as planned, Richt’s increased bonus structure will handsomely reward the coach. McGarity will be able to afford the bonuses, as winning increases money flowing into the program.

Kipp Adams: Nothing stands out as being out of the ordinary. Richt has never really been vocal about wanting more money, and he has always maintained his desire to stay in Athens for as long as the administration would have him. He's the longest tenured head coach in the SEC, and Richt and his family -- including his mom, dad, brother and two sisters -- are not leaving Athens anytime soon.

With its strong fan base, support and ability to tap into the deep recruiting hotbed that is the Peach State, coaching the football team at the University of Georgia is considered one of the best jobs in the country, and McGarity knows that. So in the incentive-laden contract, McGarity is giving Richt a chance to be rewarded for the kind of success that he feels Georgia is capable of achieving on an annual basis.

Grantham gets a much-deserved $75,000 raise through the next three years, after the Bulldogs' defense ended last season ranked No. 5 nationally in total defense and No. 3 in third-down conversions. Because of his success in Athens, Grantham's ability to leave without penalty for a college or NFL head-coaching position, as well as an NFL coordinator position, would likely exist regardless. But his potential earnings could skyrocket from $825,000 to $1.05 million were Georgia to win the BCS championship, giving him plenty of reasons to want to stay for the foreseeable future.

In both contracts, the most interesting aspect is that McGarity made sure that the coaches know they are valued in Athens, but that the expectations for a program like Georgia are to compete for national championships.

GoDawgsSECchamps2005 To me it's the incentive bonuses that Richt would get for winning championships and the lack of a raise in salary. It seems McGarity is saying to him, “You've been a good coach and we would like you to stay around a while but, you need to be winning more championships.” If I had any say about it that is the way I would approach it. As for Grantham, he gets a raise for his excellent coaching -- forming a defense that is one of the best in the country -- plus he too is getting some incentive bonuses. I see him deserving more in salary due to the projected quality of the 2012 defense. I think he deserves $1 million dollars a year and a longer contract.

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