Mark Richt hadn’t been on the job very long at the University of Miami, when a photo surfaced of him standing outside of his new office with a recruit. There the two held their hands in the shape of the university’s famous a�?Ua�? logo.
There was just one problema��Richt’s wardrobe. Zooming into the photo showed very clearly that while Richt’s polo had Miami’s logo on it, his belt was that of the Georgia Bulldogs. You see, Richt had just a�?mutually agreeda�? to leave the University of Georgia, where he spent 15 seasons and won a pair of SEC championships, just a few weeks prior to the photo being taken. It seems like he hadn’t made a complete wardrobe change.
Fast forward a few months, Richt has his wardrobe complete and he’s now just a few weeks away from his first season as the head coach with the Hurricanes. Miami is one of 26 Division I-FBS teams which will have a different head coach than at the start of the 2016 season.
Among the new coaches include some, like Richt, who have previously been head coaches, and others who are getting their first crack of being the main boss.
Richt’s stop in Miami is his second head coaching gig, and it also symbolizes his return to his alma mater. He played quarterback for the Hurricanes in the 1980s. Richt isn’t the only coach making a return to the place where they were a playmaker on the gridiron.
Kirby Smart was hired as Richt’s replacement at Georgia, where Smart played safety in the 1990s. Smart is also one of the head coaches facing some of the most pressure. After all, the school a�?mutually agreeda�? to separate from Richt, a coach who won 145 games in 15 seasons. Richt’s downfall was his inability to win a�?the big games.a�?
Smart has said all the right things, especially coming over from Alabama where he was part of three national championships on Nick Saban’s staff. But, if Smart ends up losing the same games Richt lost, the Georgia faithful won’t have a hard time getting rid of him. The end result is the Georgia Bulldogs want Smart to deliver something Richt didn’t: A national championship.
Some notable coaches set to lead new teams in 2016 include:
Lovie Smith (Illinois)
The former Chicago Bears and Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach was hired at Illinois on March 7. It will be Smith’s first job at the college level since serving as the defensive backs coach at Ohio State in 1995. Since then, Smith has made a career in the NFL, most notably leading the Bears to the Super Bowl in 2005.
Bronco Mendenhall (Virginia)
Mendenhall went 99-43 in his 11 seasons as BYU, including 10 wins in 2015. He leaves for a possible greener pasture in Virginia, which has been the doormat of the ACC for many seasons. A lot of positives have come out of Virginia since Mendenhall was announced as the new coach.
Jim Grobe (Baylor)
Grobe is the interim coach at Baylor for the 2016 season, after Art Briles was let go in the offseason amid scandal. Briles turned the Baylor program around, finishing with a 10-3 record in 2015. In his time at Baylor, the Bears became one of the most prolific offensive units in the nation. It’s now Grobe’s job to carry that tradition on, at least when it comes to on-field actions. Grobe previously served as the head coach at Ohio and, most recently, Wake Forest.
Justin Fuente (Virginia Tech)
Fuente replaces Frank Beamer as the Hokies coach. Big shoes to fill, considering Beamer won 280 games during his 29 seasons in Blacksburg. Fuente does inherit a team that has been consistent over the years, even when they were considered down. The Hokies have appeared in 23 straight bowls, have 11 bowl victories and even appeared in a national championship game. They also have plenty of fan support, as the Hokies sell out their 66,000-person stadium on a regular basis.
Clay Helton (Southern California)
Clay Helton was named the interim coach at Southern California after former coach Steve Sarkisian was fired in the middle of last season. Helton led the Trojans to the PAC-12 championship game with a 5-2 interim record. That led the school to remove the interim tag and make him the permanent head coach. Since then, the Trojans are 0-2. Helton faces the task of turning around the USC program, which has almost become second fiddle in the Los Angeles area to the UCLA Bruins.
Will Muschamp (South Carolina)
Muschamp went just 28-21 in his tenure as the head coach of the Florida Gators. That’s not good enough to win SEC championships. Muschamp admits that his offense was the problem in Gainesville, something he vows will be better in Columbia. With that said, the Gamecocks are likely to start a freshman quarterback this season, and are picked to win just a handful of games in 2016. The expectations aren’t as high for Muschamp at South Carolina as they are for his friend, Kirby Smart, at Georgia.
Here’s a list of all teams that will have new coaches in 2016…
Ball State: Mike Neu
Baylor: Jim Grobe
Bowling Green: Mike Jinks
BYU: Kalani Sitake
East Carolina: Scottie Montgomery
Georgia: Kirby Smart
Georgia Southern: Tyson Summers
Hawaii: Nick Rolovich
Illinois: Lovie Smith
Iowa State: Matt Campbell
Louisiana-Monroe: Matt Viator
Maryland: D.J. Durkin
Memphis: Mike Norvell
Miami (Fla.): Mark Richt
Minnesota: Tracy Claeys
Missouri: Barry Odom
North Texas: Seth Littrell
Rutgers: Chris Ash
South Carolina: Will Muschamp
Southern Miss: Jay Hopson
Syracuse: Dino Babers
Texas State: Everett Withers
Toledo: Jason Candle
Tulane: Willie Fritz
UCF: Scott Frost
USC: Clay Helton
UTSA: Frank Wilson
Virginia: Bronco Mendenhall
Virginia Tech: Justin Fuente