Miami coach Richt retiring after 7-6 season

Miami coach Mark Richt retired from coaching on Sunday, after compiling a 26-13 record the past three seasons at his alma mater.

Richt’s announcement came only three days after the Hurricanes lost to Wisconsin 35-3 in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl, which dropped their record to 7-6.

In a statement, Richt, 58, said he informed Miami athletics director Blake James of his decision on Sunday morning.

“The decision came after a great deal of thought, discussions with my family, and prayer,” Richt said. “This was my decision.

“The University of Miami has been a part of my life for more than three decades. It shaped me as a young man and provided me with the coaching opportunity of a lifetime. My love for The U is simply great. My true desire is for our football program to return to greatness, and while terribly difficult, I feel that stepping down is in the best interests of the program.”

Richt, a former Hurricanes quarterback, was hired to revive his alma mater shortly after he was fired after 15 seasons as Georgia’s coach in November 2015. Richt had a 145-51 record with the Bulldogs, leading them to two SEC championships in 2002 and 2005. Richt’s first two seasons at Miami were promising, as the Hurricanes went 9-4 in 2016 and then started 10-0 in 2017. But after climbing to No. 2 in the CFP rankings and introducing the college football world to the “Turnover Chain,” Miami lost its last three games in 2017, including a 38-3 defeat to Clemson in the ACC championship game.

This past season, the Hurricanes started 5-1, lost four in a row and then won their final two regular-season games, before their ugly performance in the bowl game.

Miami fans and former players criticized Richt for not changing his pro-style offense and juggling quarterbacks throughout this past season. The Hurricanes ranked 13th in the ACC in total offense (358.8 yards per game), 12th in passing (167.3 yards), ninth in scoring (28.8 points).

Miami’s defense was among the best in the FBS, allowing only 19.5 points per game. Hurricanes defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was named Temple’s new coach earlier this month.

Former Miami coach Butch Davis, who guided Florida International to a 9-4 record this past season, is expected to be among the candidates Miami could consider. Oregon’s Mario Cristobal, a former Miami player and assistant, might also be in the mix.

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