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Richt, UGA hold extension talks

ATHENS, Ga. -- UGA athletics director Greg McGarity opened discussions with Mark Richt on Friday morning about extending Richt's contract as the Bulldogs' head football coach, McGarity told Dawgs247.

Mark Richt is in his 11th season as UGA's head football coach.

"Mark and I, we discussed for the first time today, moving forward," McGarity said Friday morning. "We've started that discussion, and I'm sure we'll talk further. We didn't have a lot of time today since he's got a huge (recruiting) weekend.

"But we are moving that discussion forward. He and I had a great discussion this morning. I know Mark wants to be here, and we want him here. There's just some things we need to work on moving forward."

Those conversations came amid a backdrop of rumors and unsourced reports that have linked Richt to current openings at Texas A&M and -- to a lesser extent -- Penn State.

McGarity gave no credence to those reports Friday.

Asked if there was anything to worry about regarding Richt's future at UGA, McGarity replied, "No."

Richt and McGarity traveled together Thursday to a function in Tampa, Fla., to help promote the upcoming Outback Bowl game against Michigan State. Asked if the Texas A&M opening came up at all during the course of their time together Thursday, McGarity again said simply, "No."

"I think Mark has said it before," McGarity said. "He wants to be our head football coach. We want him to be our head football coach. And that's kind of where we are."

McGarity said discussions have not yet started about contract extensions or raises for any UGA assistant coaches.

Greg McGarity: "I know Mark wants to be here, and we want him here. There's just some things we need to work on moving forward."

"It's just too early in that," McGarity said. "What you have to wait to do is let the market settle. There's so much change going on in coaching now with assistant coaches leaving, the data that we have on file now probably is not going to be accurate in a month's time. So at a point in time we'll review that, find out what the market is dictating and go from there."

Richt's current UGA contract runs through Dec. 31, 2013 (or the end of the 2013 season) and is worth an average salary in a range of $3 million per year when longevity bonuses are included. He will receive an additional $50,000 in incentives for winning the SEC East this season and reaching a bowl game.

Asked about his future prior to Saturday's SEC championship game, Richt said he wished to stay at UGA as long as the school would have him.

"I left a place that was awesome, Florida State," Richt said at the time. "Coach (Bobby) Bowden is one of the most influential men in my life other than my father, and to leave there it had to be a special place, and it had to be a place where I wanted to spend the rest of my career. I didn't want to go somewhere thinking it was a stepping stone to go somewhere else. ...

“It's too hard emotionally for me to recruit guys and look them in the eye and say ‘I'm going to be your coach’ and knowing deep down, maybe, if something better comes along I'm leaving. I just didn't ever want to operate that way. So Georgia's my home and my family's home.”

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