To outsiders, Jon Richt is best known for his last name. As the son of veteran head coach Mark Richt, Jon shares the same passion for football as his father. After a career that culminated in a stint as the quarterback at Mars Hill College, Jon began to make his way into the world of coaching. And contrary to the opinion of those who equate age with experience and talent, Jon Richt is ready for his role with the ‘Canes.
After graduating from college in 2012, Jon Richt did not hesitate to make his way into the world of coaching. In 2014, Richt joined his father on the staff at Georgia, and became a Quality Control Assistant for the 10-3 Bulldogs. From day 1, Richt simply showed an eagerness to learn, and worked as an unpaid coach just to gain the experience of working with the quarterbacks. Richt did a tremendous job at Georgia that season, and he was ready to step out of his father’s shadow and embark on his own career.
After just one season in Athens, the Buffalo Bills took notice of Richt’s accomplishments and hired him to be an offensive assistant in 2015. The young Richt learned the skills involved in being a part of the National Football League; but once his father accepted the position as Miami’s head football coach late last year, Jon couldn’t resist the opportunity to join him and coach quarterbacks.
"I thought I was never gonna get to do it," Richt said in a post practice interview during the spring. "When he got this job and this opportunity he was able to bring me along, and it’s a blessing, it’s awesome."
And despite the fact that Richt is the coach’s son, he is forging his own path as the quarterback’s coach.
"Coach Mark Richt is more like the head of our offense and the quarterback position, he is very specific," quarterback Malik Rosier said in a post practice interview during the spring. "Coach Mark Richt is more like structure and Coach Jon Richt is more compatible with us cause he is at that younger age. The way they are coaching balances off perfectly."
Rosier recognizes Richt’s relatability, and Miami’s quarterbacks know Jon’s youth is his advantage. Despite age differences between him and Miami’s athletes, Jon has demonstrated the work ethic of a veteran head coach. Later on in his interview, Rosier went on to mention that Jon willingly stays after practice to help the quarterbacks with their mechanics, and encourages them to "keep grinding" in practice.
With Brad Kaaya on the team, Coach Jon Richt definitely has a star quarterback to work with during his first year. But moving forward his success as a coach will become vital. Kaaya is most likely gone after this season, and Richt will have to focus on developing young quarterbacks such as rising sophomore Jack Allison, 2016 freshman N’Kosi Perry, and Cade Weldon. Rosier has more experience for the immediate aftermath of Brad Kaaya’s departure, but Jon Richt’s influence will be crucial towards the future of Miami’s passing game.
Jon has proven to his father and players he is ready to the job despite his young age, and now the only question is whether it will translate onto the field. Like most of Miami’s staff, Jon Richt’s early results are positive; but with the season still two months away, only time will tell if Jon lives up to expectations.
Despite Jon Richt's age, the Quarterback coach is making an impact so far in Miami.