The first thing a coach must do when accepting a new job is to put together a cohesive staff that understands his philosophy and is compatible to it. For the most part, Miami head coach Mark Richt has been able to do just that as he heads towards his first season.
Some of those on his current staff are familiar faces, coaches he’s known for nearly all of their professional careers. Others just seem to be a good fit for what Richt is trying to accomplish.
“It’s exciting,” Richt told the media at ACC media days, about his choices.
Thomas Brown is the Canes’ offensive coordinator and running backs coach. Richt recruited Brown out of high school at Georgia and coached him. He also went on to coach alongside Richt at Georgia. Brown began his coaching career as a running backs coach at UT-Chattanooga and held the same position at Marshall and Wisconsin before joining Richt at Georgia.
Todd Hartley also coached with Richt at Georgia for some time. Hartley is the Hurricanes’ special teams coordinator, who is also a Georgia graduate and last season was Richt’s director of recruiting with the Bulldogs.
Stacey Searels is also a familiar face. He, too, coached with Richt at Georgia. Searels is a veteran offensive line coach, who began his career in 1994 at Appalachian State. He coached at LSU before coming over to Georgia with Richt from 2007-10. From there he coached at Texas and Virginia Tech before rejoining Richt at Miami.
And they don’t get any more familiar than his own family. Jon Richt is the Canes’ quarterback coach. He was an offensive assistant with the NFL Buffalo Bills last season.
“I’ve been sort of coaching his whole life to some degree,” Richt said.
Ron Dugans isn’t that close, but Richt did recruit him out of high school and coached him while he was an assistant at Florida State.
“I know Ronnie really understood what we’re going to do, how we’re going to do it,” Richt said. “He actually lived it out. He played the position that he’s coaching. Thomas Brown did, as well.
“They know me, too. They know what they’re getting into. They know how I like to do things. They believe in that.”
There’s another good reason to have coaches on his staff that he knows well and knows what to expect from them. He’s going to be more hands-on with the offense and in particular with the quarterbacks. That was a stipulation for returning to coaching after Georgia let him go.
Richt will be calling plays. He will be immersed in the offense and won’t have time to baby-sit. He has indicated that if he has to motivate a coach, he’d be finding a new one.
“Not to be mean or anything, but everybody has to take care of their business,” Richt said.
“When you have everybody working together, you’re not always going to agree on everything, but when you truly do care about each other, you know if you do your job well, you bless everybody around you, or if you don’t do your job well, you’re hurting the team, it’s important.”
Richt was very particular in bringing in the type of coaches that will take responsibility for doing their jobs.
“I think I’ve done a really good job of hiring guys that are that type of people,” he said.