ATHENS - Mark Richt's assistant coaches got raises. Now he gets a considerable bump as well, along with a longer contract and a professed faith in 'the direction' of the Georgia football program.
Georgia on Wednesday extended the contract of its head football coach for two more years, through the 2019 season, and increased his salary to $4 million, effective this season. Richt's previous salary was $3.2 million, under a contract signed prior to the 2012 season.
This comes after a season in which Georgia finished 10-3 and ranked ninth in the final AP and coaches polls. Next season will be Richt's 15th season at Georgia, and his new contract would take him through his 19th season.
“We are very pleased with the direction of our program under Mark's leadership,” Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity said in a statement. “Mark and his staff are making significant strides in all areas of our program, and we look forward to great things in the years to come.”
Based on available figures, Richt is now tied with South Carolina's Steve Spurrier for the fifth-highest paid coach in the SEC. Those earning more are Alabama's Nick Saban, Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, LSU's Les Miles and Ole Miss' Hugh Freeze.
"I appreciate the confidence that Greg McGarity has in the direction of our football program and how we represent the University of Georgia," Richt said. "Our staff has an outstanding work ethic and we are committed to the development of our student-athletes on and off the field."
The contract was approved Wednesday afternoon after a teleconference meeting of the UGA athletic board, which went into executive session (meaning media couldn't listen) for nearly 15 minutes.
UGA has already announced a massive increase in the salary pool for Richt's assistant coaches, increasing from $3.22 million last year to at least $4.45 million. That's based on contracts for the new offensive coaches (Brian Schottenheimer and Rob Sale) and raises for holdover assistants Jeremy Pruitt, Tracy Rocker and Bryan McClendon.
There could also be salary adjustments coming for other current assistants. New contracts for assistant coaches don't have to go to the UGA athletic board, but head coaches' contracts do.
But at minimum, UGA is set to pay its coaches $2 million more than it did in 2014.
Georgia is also planning to expand its support staff: It has posted openings for five quality control staffers, as well as two jobs that would involve player welfare and relations.
No other terms of Richt's new contract were released on Wednesday, with president Jere Morehead saying they will be available upon request through the Georgia Open Records Act. Richt's previous contract lessened the buyout on both sides to a nominal amount. So unless that changes with the new deal, if either Richt or the school decided to part ways, money still doesn't figure to be an object.