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Miami Hurricanes coach Mark Richt announces his retirement

Mark Richt is retiring from his job as head coach of the Miami Hurricanes.

Richt announced his retirement in a statement released by the university on Sunday, saying he feels stepping down "is in the best interests of the program." He added that he informed James Blake, Miami's athletic director, of his decision on Sunday morning.

The decision comes on the heels of a 7-6 season that ended with the Hurricanes' 35-3 loss to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday. Richt coached for only three seasons at Miami after coaching 15 seasons at Georgia.

Richt, 58, leaves the college coaching ranks with a 171-64 career record. He went 26-13 at Miami.

Here is Richt's complete statement on his decision to retire:

Dear Hurricane Family:

A few hours ago, I informed UM Director of Athletics Blake James that it is time for me to retire from coaching so I am stepping down as the Head Coach of UM Football. The decision came after a great deal of thought, discussions with my family, and prayer. This was my decision.

The University of Miami has been a part of my life for more than three decades. It shaped me as a young man and provided me with the coaching opportunity of a lifetime. My love for The U is simply great. My true desire is for our football program to return to greatness, and while terribly difficult, I feel that stepping down is in the best interests of the program.

I want to express my sincere appreciation to the entire Hurricane Family for welcoming me back home and for supporting the outstanding young men in our program. I only wish that we could have achieved greater things in return. I also want to thank President Frenk and Blake for their incredible support, as well as the outstanding men and women in UM Athletics. Most importantly, I want to thank the incredible coaches, staff, and their families who gave their all to The U each and every day, and our student-athletes, who wore The U jersey with pride and who worked hard towards their degree.

*Katharyn and I will be cheering on the Canes in the years to come and The U will never leave our hearts. *

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