While the Butch Davis talk grew louder over the weekend, another former Hurricane has emerged as a serious possibility for the University of Miami coaching vacancy.
Former UM quarterback Mark Richt, 55, one of the most successful coaches in the game, was let go Sunday after 15 years as the Georgia Bulldogs coach.
Both spoke Monday, former Canes coach Davis on a South Florida radio station and outgoing Georgia coach Richt at a Georgia news conference.
Richt’s soon-to-be departure has broadened the alternatives at Miami, and he is expected to be interviewed as early as this week.
“I think 15 years is a long time,” said Richt, who finished 145-51 (.738) at Georgia — including a 9-3 regular season in 2015. “The expectations have been built to the point where if you don’t win a championship, it’s kind of miserable around here.”
Richt said during the news conference that he expected to “have a lot of options to weigh.” Later Monday, during his weekly radio show, Richt said he had already been contacted “about five’’ times, according to a report on CoachingSearch.com.
In late October, two days after UM coach Al Golden was fired, Richt, who played at Miami with star quarterback Jim Kelly and was mostly a backup from 1978 through 82, was asked about the UM vacancy.
“I don’t think of it really,” Richt said then in a report by the Athens Banner-Herald. “I love my alma mater, the U. No doubt about it, but there’s been nobody calling or writing or texting or anything like that. So I’m sure they’ll find a great coach.”
At that point, the Bulldogs were 5-2, and Richt was facing pressure from inside and outside the program.
Richt knows South Florida. In addition to having recruited here, he graduated from Boca Raton High School.
“For now, Richt would be a slam-dunk hire in South Florida,” CBS college football analyst Dennis Dodd wrote. “Proven winner. Knows the recruiting landscape having mined Dade and Broward counties for years.’’
Since 2011, Richt’s records at Georgia: 10-4, 12-2, 8-5, 10-3 and 9-3 this season going into a bowl he said he will coach, which begs the question about recruiting until then. He is known to run a squeaky-clean program.
Richt said Monday that he said he wants to be more “hands on’’ wherever he coaches next.
“I miss coaching quarterbacks,” he said. “I miss calling plays. I miss that part of it. Whether it’s in the role of head coach, coordinator, quarterbacks coach, whatever. I’d be really excited about coaching quarterbacks again and getting in the middle of coaching offensive strategy.’’
Former Canes coach Davis, 64, who would be ready to recruit immediately, is seemingly the vocal fans’ choice. Davis interviewed with Miami athletic director Blake James on Saturday, multiple sources familiar with the situation told the Miami Herald.
Davis brought UM through some of its darkest days — a loss of 31 scholarships (seven self-imposed and 24 imposed by the NCAA for numerous infractions) from 1995 through 1997. He turned the program into a championship contender by the time he left to coach the Cleveland Browns after the 2000 season.
The Canes finished No. 2 nationally that year, then won the national title in 2001 under new coach Larry Coker.
Davis, out of coaching since he was fired from North Carolina in the summer of 2011, was on his regularly scheduled 790 The Ticket radio show Monday with Jonathan Zaslow and Joy Taylor.
“You know what Zas?” Davis said to Zaslow. “Obviously, it’s public knowledge that I’d love to be the head coach at [UM]. I’ve stated that pretty much emphatically for about the last month. But I think making any comments at this particular time is kind of inappropriate. People are going to have to live with rumors for the time being, and we’ll see how this thing plays out.”
Davis was asked how important it is for schools to fill their head-coaching vacancies as soon as possible.
“I don’t know if it’s necessary immediately to fill it as soon as possible,” he said. “Obviously, you don’t want to drag your feet. I think with all administrations, the most important thing is to get it right …’’
By Monday afternoon, the FBS college coaching vacancies were up to 14: Georgia; Maryland; Memphis; Miami; Missouri; North Texas; Rutgers; South Carolina; Syracuse; Toledo; Tulane; UCF; Louisiana-Monroe; and Virginia.
Other names that have been mentioned by UM insiders regarding possible candidates still include Texas coach Charlie Strong; former UM defensive coordinator and former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano; Mississippi State coach and former Florida offensive coordinator Dan Mullen; and former UM/current Indianapolis Colts offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
Miami Herald sportswriter Barry Jackson contributed to this report.