Mark Richt joins the ACC Network

The former University of Miami coach will serve as a studio analyst during football season.
In this file photo, Miami coach Mark Richt calls a timeout during the fourth quarter against Virginia Tech. (MONICA HERNDON   |   Times (2017)
In this file photo, Miami coach Mark Richt calls a timeout during the fourth quarter against Virginia Tech. (MONICA HERNDON | Times (2017)
Published July 17

CHARLOTTE, N.C. ― Less than seven months after suddenly announcing his retirement as Miami's coach, Mark Richt is stepping right back into the grind of ACC football.

Sort of.

Richt, 59, was introduced Wednesday as one of the studio analysts for the ACC Network, which launches Aug. 22. He’s set to appear on Friday night and Saturday morning pregame shows (and halftime spots) that mostly will be based from ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

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Former FSU quarterback E.J. Manuel also was among the network talent group introduced at the outset of the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte.

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” said Richt, who indicated he’s soon relocating to the Panhandle resort community of Destin with his family.

“I love the game and I think the experiences I’ve had in the league, and even going back to the Florida State days, that all could be helpful. Hopefully I’ll be able to give some insight to people that maybe they didn’t think of before.”

Richt had the ’Canes rolling with a 10-win season in 2017 and No. 8 preseason ranking in ’18 before the wheels came off, lowlighted by a four-game mid-season losing streak and 35-3 Pinstripe Bowl loss to Wisconsin.

Richt indicated neither a health issue nor a certain moment prompted his retirement.

“If I had kept going, you never know,” he said. “You only have one brain, you’ve only got one heart. You only have one body, you only have one mind, so you’ve just got to take care of yourself.”

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How Richt’s somewhat reserved personality plays in a studio setting more conducive to brash opinion remains to be seen. Can a guy known for his humility and deep-seated faith be critical when necessary?

“I don’t think I’m gonna sit here and say, ‘I disagree with that decision.’ I’m gonna say, more than likely, ‘Obviously that decision didn’t work out very well,’” Richt said.

“But I won’t have any problems saying I don’t agree with this or don’t agree with that. But I think how you say things is as important as what you say. I’m not looking to beat anybody up, but on the other hand you want to just say what you believe and try to do it in a respectful way.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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