ATHENS, Ga. - Students on the campus of the University of Georgia had mixed reactions to the news the football program will have a new coach next year.
Athletic Director Greg McGarity and Coach Mark Richt held a joint news conference Monday to address their mutual decision that Richt would step down.
"I was very surprised that they fired him," said Ramin Parsa, a sophomore from Marietta.
Parsa, however, said he understood the decision because the program has not lived up to fan expectations in recent years.
"It's really a question of why aren't we winning? Is it [be]cause of our coach? Because we have the players. Like, we have the talent," Parsa explained. "So, why like, year after year are we not winning championships?"
Parker Hicks, a sophomore from Gainesville, said the news made it clear that the Athletic Association has higher aspirations for the football team.
"That's obviously the expectation," Hicks said. "[To] win your division at least."
Some students, though, said Richt did more than just coach football.
"I've heard really good things about him being a great role model, a great like, father figure for the players and so, sports sometimes is more about--it's more than just winning games," reasoned Chandria Person, a senior from Columbus. "It's about being a good coach and being a good leader for your players."
Fellow UGA senior Tess Watson disagreed.
"I think that there's like a place for that on a football team, but I don't know if that's like the head coach's job," said Watson. "I feel like the head coach's job is to get us to the National Championship."
Students did seem to agree that Richt is not likely to stay at UGA, despite McGarity's offer to find Richt a different role.
"I think that would be a great idea, but to be honest, I think that would be kind of weird, I guess, for him. He used to be head coach and now he's doing a secondary job for Georgia? But maybe because of the person he is, maybe he'll decide to stick around," concluded Person.