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Today's Presser: Blake James, Mark Richt Remarks

ACC Digital

Courtesy UM

Director of Athletics Blake James

“Good morning. Thank you President Frenk for your words, but more importantly, your support and great counsel during this process. If you didn’t know how passionate Hurricane fans are, you certainly [learned] how passionate they are over the last few weeks. Thank you all for coming this morning. I wanted to recognize Chairman of the Board of Trustees Stuart Miller and Chairman of the Athletics Committee and Board of Trustees member David Epstein. I also want to thank so many of our current and former student-athletes, our coaches, staff and supporters who are with us, and I want to thank my wife who lives with me, every day trying to make our program the very best in the country.”

“Additionally, there are a few more thank-you’s that need to be said before I introduce our new head coach. I want to thank the members of our football team, who despite midseason transition, represented The U the right way and led us to an incredible 8-4 season. I also want to thank interim head coach Larry Scott. Larry was a true leader the past seven weeks, and his future is bright in this profession. Thank you to our assistant coaches and support staff, who kept their eye where it should be – on the students in our football program.

“I relied on a small group of advisors during the search process, and I want to thank former Hurricane greats Vinny Testaverde and Jon Vilma, my Deputy Director of Athletics Jenn Strawley and board members David Epstein, Steve Saiontz and Hilarie Bass. They provided great counsel, feedback, and a lot of questions throughout the process, and were very instrumental in helping us bring Mark Richt home.

“Finally, thank you to every fan, alumni, season ticket holder, donor, student, parent, and - yes  - members of the media, for your solicited and unsolicited input and advice on what we should be looking for in a new coach, and who that should be.”

“With that said, today is a great day for the University of Miami, as we welcome home one of our own. Mark was raised in South Florida, played for Howard Schnellenberger at The U, honed his coaching skills under one of the greatest coaches of all time in that city up in North Florida, led Georgia to SEC titles and BCS bowl games, and did it with integrity, class, dignity and true appreciation for the student-athletes.”

“His accomplishments are well known, and his character even more so. But he is our coach today because I believe that Mark will put us win position to win ACC and national championships, he will have a lasting impact on our students, and he will be a tremendous mentor of young men. As all of you will soon learn, nothing is more important to Mark than his family. We welcome Katharyn, his wife, and Jonathan, David, Zach and Anya, his children, all new members of the Hurricane family. We are #BuildingChampions at The U, and today we are a great deal closer to our goal. Please join me in welcoming the 24th head coach at the University of Miami, Mark Richt.”

[round of applause]

Head Football Coach Mark Richt

“I’m shocked that the media didn’t stand up. I’m hurt. At least I know who you are now. I’m just kidding. [laughter] Talking about my family, Katharyn my wife would have loved to be here, but she was not able to come. She’s a nursing student back home – what used to be home. She has got an exam today, as we speak. It started at 10 o’clock. She also had an exam Monday. She’s really looking to getting here, and starting looking for a home and all of those things.”

“I’m very excited. First I would like to thank Dr. Frenk. I really appreciate the opportunity to be here. Blake [James], thank you so much. Stuart [Miller], David [Epstein], and the rest of the Board of Trustees, I’m so thankful for you to having the confidence in me to allow me to be here. I also want to thank all the lettermen that are here today. I’m really looking forward to spending time with the lettermen, getting a chance to get everybody together and have a good time.

“I’m just very excited to be home. This is home. I’m just very thankful. I understand the proud traditions at the University of Miami – academically and athletically, football in particular. I know what it’s about. I came close to being on a national championship team. I left in 1982 and that 1983 season obviously was the one. It was Don Bailey who made it happen, quite frankly [laughter].

“I know some of the guys that I came through [Miami] with, we felt like we were at least a part of building the program to the point where it was able to win that national championship that year, in 1983. What an exciting game that was. I do understand what is expected, and really I don’t want to make a lot of promises, other than I want to promise we’re going to get to work. We’re going to try to earn the right to victory. It’s a process.  It does take a lot of work. It takes a lot of people doing things the right way. There will be a lot of people that will have jobs to do, that if they do it excellent, and take care of their piece of the pie, we’ll have the greatest chance of victory. I’m going to ask our players to take care of business academically. I want them to behave socially. And I want them to do their very best in every area of their life and represent this university the right way, but also set themselves up for the future by growing into men that can become wonderful husbands and fathers, and leaders in their communities where they choose to live in when it’s all done.

“I do believe that football coaching at the collegiate level is more than coaching football. It’s about educating young men, it’s about preparing these young men for life, when it’s all said and done when football is over. There will be programs implemented for that as well, during their time here and post-eligibility. I’m very interested in helping all the lettermen, when their playing days are over, if they need help getting things going in their business life or whatever it may be, I want to be there to help in that regard too.”

“I don’t want to say too much other than my wife and I can tell you this: this is our home. We love it. This is where we’re going to finish our coaching career. I say ‘our’ because it’s a team effort no doubt. My goal is to finish my coaching career at The U. I’m very excited about the possibility of that. I’m very excited about my work these young men and future young men who will be a part of this program for years to come.”