It doesn’t happen often, but it wouldn’t be the first time a former coach segued his popularity into a gig in the world of politics. If these reports are correct, there is a slim, but still plausible possibility that Mark Richt could be the next governor of Georgia.
Mark will be the head coach of the University of Miami for next year. However, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, there are other factors at play behind the scenes that are not only attempting to push Coach Richt away from coaching, but straight into the filthy world of state politics.
If Mark Richt decides not to return to coaching, some Georgia Republicans are eager to guide him toward a more rough-and-tumble sport.
The outgoing University of Georgia football coach is being recruited to run for Georgia governor in 2018, according to two people with direct knowledge of the efforts.
Both also hasten to add it’s a long-shot. Richt, who was fired on Sunday after 15 years as Georgia’s head coach, has already been contacted by several schools now that he’s a free agent. And his friends say he has expressed little interest in politics.
But Republicans seeking to shape the field to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal in 2018 say it’s worth a shot. Several GOP office-holders, including Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, are exploring a run, but the race for the state’s top job remains wide open.
Now, as I said, this is a long shot. He’d have to basically fail at The U incredibly fast, but just having the wheels in motion is more than most people ever get in regards to political considerations. Jumping from being fired from the sidelines of UGA to living large in the Georgia Governor’s Mansion is quite the leap, but some say that despite his rough ending at his longtime coaching gig, the state still largely supports him.
And Richt remains a popular – and eminently well-known – figure in Georgia who is used to speaking to crowds, navigating the media, dealing with personal attacks and crafting a message. Those close to him says his politics lean toward the right, though he’s largely avoided making political statements.
There’s nothing wrong with having options. Just don’t pick the wrong one..
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