As a fan of college football, I follow the programs across all conferences closely. I appreciate the good work that coaches at other schools do both on and off the field. One of those men is University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt who, over the last 13 years in Athens, has established his program as perennial contenders both in the conference and nationally, while also making a big impact in the community.
With a record of 4-3 heading into this weekend's rivalry game against Florida in Jacksonville, highlighted by a tight victory over No. 6 LSU and a thrilling overtime win at Tennessee, the Bulldogs are second in the SEC East, demonstrating Richt's characteristic resilience and focus on the field as the team enters the final month of the regular season.
But, what sets Richt apart from other winning coaches is the way he conducts himself on the sideline and in the community. Coach Richt is widely recognized as a man of immense character who lives by a strict set of ethics and a high standard which he imparts on those under his watch. He understands that while his job is to coach football, he also has a responsibility to be a mentor to his players and a leader in his community.
Much of the community and charity efforts Coach Richt, his team and family participate in are done quietly, with little fanfare. However, earlier this season Richt lent his name and time to the efforts around Childhood Cancer Awareness Month in September. And, in recent years, Richt has taken regular volunteerism trips with his family, including spending time in Honduras one summer to help construct wells for drinking water.
Richt continues to lead his team, inspiring to them to overcome challenges, teaching them the right way to do things and how to conduct themselves as well as the importance of giving back. While the Bulldogs may not challenge for a national championship this season, Richt is building the next generation of leaders who understand there is life beyond football and the measure of their own lives goes far beyond wins and losses on a fall Saturday afternoon.