CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Mark Richt is going back to where his college career began.
The former Miami quarterback has reached a tentative agreement to be the Hurricanes’ next head coach, pending the completion of contract talks, a person with knowledge of the negotiations told The Associated Press. The person spoke Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been signed and the university has not announced the hire publicly.
Richt spent the last 15 seasons as the head coach at Georgia, averaging nearly 10 wins a season and leading the Bulldogs to a pair of Southeastern Conference championships.
He is a South Florida native and played for Howard Schnellenberger at Miami, when the Hurricanes were just becoming the program that would win five national championships in 19 seasons.
Richt takes over a Miami program that hasn’t won more than nine games in a season since 2003 and hasn’t won a bowl game since 2006.
He was mentioned as a potential fit for Miami almost as soon as the Hurricanes fired Al Golden in October, one day after the Hurricanes endured the worst loss in school history — a 58-0 defeat to Clemson.
SMART REPORTEDLY SET TO TAKE JOB: Georgia’s coaching search could be headed for a swift end, but the school was tight-lipped Wednesday about its progress and scheduled no announcement about who would succeed Richt.
ESPN and the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported that Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart was Georgia’s selection.
Alabama coach Nick Saban, meanwhile, didn’t take any questions about Smart’s future on Wednesday. However, he did address the reports after Wednesday’s practice, saying, it’s not his “position to confirm any of this stuff, and I really can’t confirm it.”
After his comments, Saban held up the soft drink sitting on the lectern and said: “You can ask the bottle but don’t ask me.”
MICHIGAN ASSISTANT TAKES OVER: Maryland has hired Michigan defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin on Wednesday to be its head coach, taking a key assistant away from its Big Ten East rivals.
Durkin, 37, is in his first season at Michigan under Jim Harbaugh. He led a defense that ranks fourth in the nation in yards allowed per game. Before working at Michigan, Durkin was the defensive coordinator at Florida for two years.
COUGARS HEADED TO VEGAS: BYU has accepted an invitation to the Las Vegas Bowl.
BYU finished 9-3 with wins against Nebraska and Boise State. The Cougars were ranked as high as No. 19 in The Associated Press poll but fell out in Week 5 and never returned.
The bowl has a tie-in with the Pac-12 and is expected to announce the other participant Sunday.
BYU has played in the Las Vegas Bowl five times, most recently in 2009. This will be the 11th consecutive bowl for the Cougars under coach Bronco Mendenhall.