The Georgia Bulldogs have extended the contract of their sometime under-fire coach, Mark Richt, the school announced today.

The three-year extension will mean that Richt – who still has two years running onto his contract – will stay with the Dawgs until the 2016 season – if he’s not let go (which is always a risk in the SEC).

Last year Richt led Georgia from a 0-2 hole to winning the SEC East. They played well in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta before dropped passes eventually got the better of them and LSU won handily.

Chip Towers at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted on Twitter that the biggest bit of the story is “is no buyout for him if he chooses to leave on his own”, while Gentry Estes of Georgia24-7 noted that Richt would be paid out $4.8m if he’s fired at the end of the 2012 season, a number that falls to $800,000 each season thereafter.

Estes notes that Richt would have had to pay Georgia $2m if he’d decided to walk to another school.

“Mark Richt is not only the dean of SEC coaches, he is a person who has represented the University of Georgia extraordinarily well since he arrived in December of 2000,” said Georgia president Michael Adams.   “He has compiled a very strong record of wins and losses over that period. I am glad we were able to work out this contract extension which I believe is good for the University, good for football and good for Mark.”

Also signing a deal was Greg McGarity, Georgia’s athletic director, until December 2017. He will make around $500,000 per year.

BOTTOM LINE: This year Georgia is loaded and has recruited well, making it one of the favorites for the SEC East crown – although South Carolina and Florida will push them all the way.

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