Mark Richt: ‘The thing I enjoyed the most was the celebration in the locker room’
Take me out to the ballgame...
The football game, that is.
The Pinstripe Bowl had its news conference on Tuesday to introduce the coaches in its Dec. 27 bowl— Mark Richt of the Miami Hurricanes (7-5, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) and UM athletic director Blake James, and Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers (7-5, 5-4 Big Ten) and athletic director Barry Alvarez— and all four seemed pleased to be part of the Yankee Stadium hoopla.
The game, a rematch of last year’s Capital One Orange Bowl (Wisconsin won 34-24), will kick off at 5:15 p.m. Dec. 27 at Yankee Stadium, which has been converted to a football stadium since the bowl began in 2010.
“People love it,’’ UM athletic director Blake James said. “The opportunity to come to New York.. You want to give the students in your program the opportunity to get experiences. And to have this opportunity here with the greatest organization in sports, the Yankees...”
A couple hours earlier on Tuesday, Richt spoke about the bowl on WQAM., and was asked by Joe Rose how surprised he was to land in the Pinstripe. The Canes were expected by most to head to Jacksonville for the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
“We didn’t really know,’’ Richt said. “I think it was kind of a big battle. I think a couple places wanted us, and everybody tried to position themselves for what they thought was best. I’m talking about all the bowls. I don’t even understand completely the politics of it and the process of it. I think there are times they all work with each other in any given year — ‘Hey, help me out this year and I’ll help you out next year.’
“...I know there was a lot of discussion and at the very end we landed in New York. We’ve talked to some people. And when I say we, some of our coaches that know friends around the country that have been to this bowl. They say it was an awesome bowl experience for their players.”
James was asked how he’d evaluate the current state of the program.
“The program is continuing to build,’’ James said. “I don’t think it’s a secret to anyone, this year didn’t go necessarily as we would have wanted. You never want to lose games, but that’s part of building something. We’re building something special. And ever since Mark has come on board in December of 2015, he’s been building the foundation.
“We’re going to use this season to continue to build for the future.”
New York Yankees president Randy Levine: “Coach Richt, Coach Chryst, I gotta tell you, every game has come down to the last quarter— every one we’ve had. And the whole event, I say this all the time but it’s really true: There’s no place like New York during the holiday season. Still, to this day, they write songs about it. They write movies about it, make plays about it. This is the place to be.’’
Some of the events the Canes will experience include visiting the 1 World Trade Center observatory and the National Sept. 11 Memorial & Museum, as well as a contingent ringing the New York Stock Exchange opening bell.