Mark Richt has kept his coaching staff together yet again — this time against all odds.
University of Miami wide receivers coach Ron Dugans, who helped recruit three elite receivers that signed UM letters of intent Dec. 20, has turned down a widely reported offer to return to his hometown Tallahassee and his alma mater Florida State as the receivers coach there, UM athletic director Blake James confirmed to the Miami Herald on Monday night.
“He is staying,’’ James said in a text message.
The FSU overtures were from new FSU coach Willie Taggart, the former Oregon coach who was hired by the Seminoles last month to replace Jimbo Fisher.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Dugans, also the passing game coordinator for Miami, is close to Taggart and was the wide receivers coach under him at USF in 2014 and 2015. Dugans played on the Seminoles’ 1999 national championship team. He refused to elaborate about his status, regarding FSU, for at least the past month.
Taggart and Dugans met in Tampa last week “to further discuss the possibility of Dugans joining the Seminoles,’’ according to 247Sports.com.
This past weekend, CaneSport.com reported that it appeared that Dugans was staying at UM, and on Sunday, CanesInSight.com reported that Dugans was informing his players that he would remain with the Hurricanes.
On Thursday during a teleconference, Richt was asked by the Miami Herald about Dugans “possibly leaving for Florida State.’’
“No, no news on that,’’ the coach said, adding, “He’s, well, he’s still with us, so...’’
Warchant.com first reported on Dec. 21 that FSU wide receivers coach and co-offensive coordinator Lawrence Dawsey would “not be back for a 12th season as the Seminoles’ wide receivers coach in 2018,’’ though Dawsey, who confirmed the news to Warchant, indicated that he hoped he could stay on the FSU staff in another capacity.
The Hurricanes had a five-star receiver in Southridge’s Mark Pope, a four-star prospect in Brian Hightower of Bradenton IMG Academy and a three/four-star standout in Dee Wiggins of Southridge sign with the school on Dec. 20 during the NCAA’s inaugural early signing period, bolstering a program in need of pass-catchers.
UM’s receiving game was hit hard this season when former freshman All-American Ahmmon Richards, who broke Michael Irvin’s school receiving record for freshmen with 934 yards, sustained a severe hamstring injury in fall camp and other injuries during the season that hampered his playing time and performances. Then, to make matters worse, Richards sustained a season-ending knee injury Nov. 29, three days before the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Game.
The Saturday before Richards’ season-ending injury, senior tight end Christopher Herndon — a Mackey Award semifinalist and one of the best tight ends in the ACC — also sustained a season-ending knee injury.
The Canes finished 10-3 after falling 34-24 to Wisconsin (13-1) in the Capital One Orange Bowl.
On Nov. 22, two days before the final regular-season game at Pittsburgh, Richt told reporters he was “waiting to see what happens with everything’’ regarding his coaching staff staying intact.
“Staffs can change. I don’t want it to change,’’ Richt said. “I want everybody to stay. I think we’ve got a great thing going. I’m hoping everybody wants to stick around. If I knew 100 percent that everybody would stay, I would have a better idea of what I might do. Not knowing that, it may totally change the dynamic of what I need to bring in.’’