Mark Richt is officially the new head coach of the Miami Hurricanes.
Athletic director Blake James announced Friday the hiring of the former Georgia coach and Miami alumnus as the 24th head football coach of the Hurricanes.
"I'm very excited to be home. This is home," Richt said at his introductory press conference at Miami's Shalala Student Center. "I understand the proud traditions at the University of Miami ... I know what it's about.
"I don't want to make any promises. I want to promise we're going to get to work and earn a right to victory. My goal is to finish my coaching career at 'The U' and I'm very excited about the possibility of that."
Richt, 55, returns to his alma mater after leading Georgia for the past 15 years, compiling a 145-51 overall record and an 85-40 mark in Southeastern Conference play, winning two SEC championships, six SEC East titles and nine bowl games and finishing the season in the Associated Press Top Ten rankings seven times.
"Coach Richt embodies the competitiveness, the integrity, the passion, the abilities, and the experience to lead our young men to ACC and national championships and help them become men of character and success long after," James said in a statement Friday. "His passion for the game of football and for his student-athletes is evident in everything he does and we could not be more excited to welcome Mark and Katharyn and their family to Coral Gables."
"We are blessed to have the opportunity to come to a world-class institution and world-renowned city and play a role in the life of the campus and community," Richt said in a statement Friday morning. "Returning to The U is truly an honor and I am humbled by the responsibility of leading our storied program. I can't wait to get started."
Richt interviewed with the Hurricanes on Tuesday and was immediately considered the frontrunner for the job after parting ways with Georgia last Sunday. Miami also interviewed former head coach Butch Davis, Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen, and former Miami assistant and Rutgers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Greg Schiano. Interim coach Larry Scott, who led the Hurricanes to four wins in their past five games after Al Golden was fired, was also interviewed.
Richt is considered a strong hire for a Hurricanes program that has largely floundered for more than a decade. He starred at Boca Raton (Fla.) High before attending Miami.
Richt has recruiting ties in South Florida, which was considered a major point of emphasis for the program's next coach. He began his coaching career as an assistant under Bobby Bowden at Florida State in 1989. He ascended to offensive coordinator before leaving for Georgia.
Richt inherits a team that went 8-4 in the regular season. Miami has a solid nucleus of young talent, beginning with sophomore quarterback Brad Kaaya, who is already fifth on the program's all-time passing list.
The Hurricanes moved into the ACC 12 seasons ago and still are looking for their first league title.
"Football is not part of what we do here," Miami president Julio Frenk said. "It is part of who we are."
Richt was considering taking a year off after his firing at Georgia, but he reconsidered.
"I knew this job wouldn't be open again next year," Richt said. I've been saying no for 15 years. It was time to be interested."