I spent last week in Miami and in between running errands for the political candidate I was assisting I got to hear a good bit of Sports Talk radio. The folks in South Florida are saying (by and large) that Miami Hurricanes Coach Larry Coker is in trouble if he doesn’t deliver a BCS Bowl this year.
That’s Nuts! Or in South Florida parlance, Muy Loco!
Larry Coker has posted a 53-and-9 record in five years at “The U” including a National Championship in his first season. Coker would have coached the ‘Canes to consecutive titles were it not for a late flag in the end zone of their title tilt with Ohio State.
The “heat” on Coker stems not from the fast start to his UM tenure as the Head Coach, but from Miami’s failure to dominate since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Hurricanes have posted consecutive 9-and-3 record and have had to settle for Peach Bowl invites the past two years. Add to that a humiliating 40-3 loss to LSU in last year’s game in Atlanta and you have the partisans in South Florida more than a little cranky.
Miami is the pick to win its division of the ACC and advance to the ACC Title game for the first time. Failure to do that could result in a loud clamor for change in Coral Gables. Should that happen, look for Coker’s ex-boss and former Miami Coach Butch Davis to top many wish lists.
Making this a big year won’t be early with Coker announcing the suspensions of four players for the season opener with Florida State. The key guys that will be sitting out are tailback Tyrone Moss and receiver Ryan Moore. Moss was Miami’s top rusher last year with 701 yards and 12 touchdowns. Moore caught 28 passes, averaging 16.6 per catch with four touchdown catches. They will be missed.
Larry Coker’s 53 wins over the last five years is exceeded only by two coaches, Mack Brown and Pete Carroll who each have 55 wins. Only Brown (55-8) has a better winning percentage.
Over the last five years, Urban Meyer ranks 6th in winning percentage with his 48-and-11 mark and eighth in total victories.
Mark Richt – Similar Record – Different Reaction
You gotta believe that Coker is reading stories from the Atlanta Constitution these days and shaking his head in disbelief. While his 53-and-9 record has some critics nipping at his heels, Georgia Coach Mark Richt is finding that a 52-and-13 record plays much better in the Peach State. Richt is about to sign an eight-year contract that will pay him between $ 1.7 and $ 2.35 million dollars a year and could earn him close to $ 20 million.
The deal reflects Richt’s outstanding performance at UGA, which includes two SEC titles. It also reflects a recognition that nine and ten-win seasons in the SEC are not easy to achieve.
Richt’s new deal will leave him just one or two bonuses away from joining the $ Two million a year club. Also noteworthy, the deal has a very expensive buyout, covering all the remaining guaranteed money remaining on the pact. Thus if someone wanted to hire Richt after the upcoming season, the buyout would be in excess of $ Ten million.
Larry Coker is feeling the heat. Mark Richt is feeling the love. Such is life in the game of college football.