When is a brand new contract not exactly a ringing endorsement of a coach?
When that coach, heading into his 12th season at the school and coming off that school’s first appearance in the SEC championship game in six years, doesn’t get any more guaranteed money in his new deal.
Some of the details of Georgia coach Mark Richt’s new contract started to trickle out Thursday following the UGA Athletic Association board of directors meeting in Greensboro, Ga.
The headline grabber was that Richt’s salary would essentially stay the same, according to Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity, although Richt’s incentives package will be sweetened.
Richt’s annual salary is right around $2.9 million.
These contract talks have been ongoing for nearly six months, and McGarity said Thursday that the deal, which will keep Richt under contract through 2016, was still not finalized.
McGarity also said that Richt’s buyout would be adjusted, and it will be interesting to see how that buyout is adjusted.
Extra years on a contract do not amount to much if there isn’t guaranteed money attached to those extra years.
If you’re looking at this whole thing from Georgia’s perspective, it’s understandable that they’re hesitant to load up Richt’s contract with a bunch of guaranteed money. After all, there was considerable rumbling prior to last season that Richt was teetering coming off the Bulldogs’ 6-7 finish in 2010.
It only got worse after the Bulldogs started 0-2 last season before reeling off 10 straight wins and playing their way into the SEC championship game.
So here we are, and the position of the Georgia brass is pretty clear at this point: They don’t mind paying more money to Richt, but only if he wins SEC championships and goes to BCS bowl games.
As McGarity was quoted as saying, it’s about “rewarding excellence.”
But it’s also a telltale sign that McGarity and the movers and shakers at Georgia aren’t convinced that Richt is their coach for the long-term future.
Otherwise, this deal would have been done a long time ago.