CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Mark Richt stepped down as Miami coach on Sunday, an announcement that caught the school off-guard and came just days after the end of an underachieving season.

Richt, 58, said he was not forced out, and that the decision to retire was his.

“My love for The U is simply great,” Richt said in a statement. “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.”

Richt said he informed Miami athletic director Blake James of his decision a few hours before the school sent out a statement shortly before 1 p.m. announcing the move. The Hurricanes held a news conference later Sunday to discuss the situation and where the program will go from here.

James told The Associated Press that he was stunned when he got the news Sunday morning.

“I wanted Mark to be our coach,” James said. “Last night, I thought he was our coach.”

Miami struggled to a 7-6 record this season, falling to Wisconsin in the Pinstripe Bowl on Thursday night. The Hurricanes have lost nine of their last 16 games going back to a 10-0 start last season, were horrendous on offense at times in 2018 – totaling just 100 passing yards in their last two games – and saw several recruits who were committed decide to either sign elsewhere or re-open their college decisions.

Richt was 26-13 at Miami, and 171-64 in 18 seasons between Georgia and the Hurricanes.

HOUSTON: The school fired coach Major Applewhite after two seasons.

Houston announced the move Sunday, a little more than a week after the Cougars were trounced in a 70-14 loss to Army in the Armed Forces Bowl.

Houston (8-5) lost four of its last five games after starting 7-1 and earning a ranking in the AP Top 25 for one week in late October.

On Dec. 22, the injury-plagued Cougars suffered their most-lopsided loss in their 27 bowl games, and their biggest loss overall since a 66-10 loss at UCLA during the 1997 regular season.

MICHIGAN: Head coach Jim Harbaugh said he doesn’t anticipate making changes with his assistants this offseason, unlike last year, which saw a major coaching shake-up.

“I think we’re going to take what we have and reload,” he said.

The Wolverines won 10 straight games after opening with a loss at Notre Dame, but then suffered a pair of humiliating losses: 41-15 against No. 10 Florida in the Peach Bowl as the eighth-ranked team in the country on Saturday and 62-39 at Ohio State last month.

Michigan will return most of its starters on offense, which struggled to move the ball on the ground against the Gators without running back Karan Higdon and tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty. Quarterback Shea Patterson said he’ll be back for his senior season, but he may have competition from Dylan McCaffrey and Joe Milton.

Tight end Zach Gentry said he would decide after the bowl whether he will return as a fifth-year senior or enter the NFL draft.

The Wolverines will have more holes to fill on defense, losing linebacker Devin Bush, defensive ends Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich, safety Tyree Kinnel and possibly cornerbacks Lavert Hill and David Long. Hill and Long have said they will decide after the bowl whether they will enter the NFL draft or return as seniors.

TELEVISION RATINGS for the College Football Playoff on ESPN dropped from last season, dragged down by lopsided games and not being played on New Year’s Day.

ESPN said Alabama’s 45-34 victory against Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl on Saturday night drew a 10.4 overnight rating, peaking at 11.8 early in the first quarter when the Crimson Tide jumped out to a 14-point lead. Alabama eventually led 28-0.

The network said Clemson’s 30-3 victory against Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl earlier Saturday drew a 10.3 rating, peaking at 11.2 when the Tigers scored with 2 second left in the first half to make it 23-3.

Last season, when the semifinals were played on New Year’s Day and Georgia and Oklahoma went to overtime in the Rose Bowl, the games averaged a 13.9 overnight rating.