Brad Johnson was not shocked by Sunday’s news that stunned college football.
Miami coach Mark Richt – also Johnson’s brother-in-law – announced his retirement 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 in New York City. The Hurricanes finished the season 7-6.
“He has done his time,” Johnson said Sunday.
“It’s probably a little earlier than you might think. But at the same time he has been coaching since his early 20s, so I can see it. The strains of the profession and how it’s changed … It didn’t really shock me, but I am happy.”
Johnson knows Richt as well as anyone.
Richt, 58, was Johnson’s quarterback coach at Florida State (1987-91) and later became his brother-in-law when Johnson married Richt’s sister, Nikki.
Johnson, who quarterbacked 15 seasons in the NFL, still lives in Athens, Georgia. He crossed state lines from Tallahassee after Richt was named the coach at Georgia. Richt was fired after 15 seasons as Georgia’s coach in November 2015.
Three days later, Richt, a former Hurricanes quarterback, landed in Coral Gables, where he was hired to revive the UM program.
The Hurricanes climbed to No. 2 in the CFP rankings in 2017 and started this past season 5-1.
While they were unable to sustain their momentum, Johnson pointed to the standards and beliefs Richt followed.
“You look at what Mark has done in his profession,” Johnson said. “He has done it clean, never compromised his integrity, done what’s best for the kids. He has won at the highest level.”
Former FSU coach Bobby Bowden also wasn’t surprised by Richt’s announcement, pointing to the pressures of the profession. According to multiple media reports Saturday, Richt realized that changes needed to be made inside the program.
It appears Richt decided he would rather retire than make changes.
“I don’t blame him,” Bowden said Sunday. “It looked like he was going to have to restructure his whole staff. I feel like he didn’t want to go through that again. I think he was wise.”
Bowden hired Richt as a graduate assistant in 1985 and as his quarterbacks coach in 1990. Richt, who also served as offensive coordinator for seven seasons, helped the Seminoles win two national championships in 1993 and 1999 before leaving for Georgia.
Richt also accepted Christ into his life in 1986, praying with Bowden in Bowden’s office.
Bowden applauded Richt’s approach to coaching and life.
Richt has supported charity efforts and made a difference to those needing help over the years. In 2016, Richt also pledged $1 million of his own money toward construction of a proposed indoor practice facility at UM.
Richt’s wife Katharyn of Tallahassee earned an FSU economics degree in 1987 — the same year she and Mark married. The couple has four children – Jonathan, David, Zach, and Anya. Jon also is the UM quarterbacks coach.
“I think any player who played for Mark would come out a better person,” Bowden said. “He has his priorities in order. That starts with God, then family. … He always did it the right way.”
Added former FSU quarterback Charlie Ward, who directed the Seminoles to their first national title in 1993 and won the Heisman Trophy that season: “He is a great guy and had a great career. His value to young men is more than wins and losses. His impact changes men for eternity.”