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The Religious Affiliation of Football Player, Coach
On advice of our nephew, Paul Seybt, Betty and I watched the Georgia-Auburn football game on 16 November 2002. We were on a weekend get-away in Charleston, S. C. and watched the game on TV. UGA made a tremendous come-back to win the game in the last minutes. The sports person hurried up to coach Richt immediately post-game, "Coach, what is your reaction to your team's great come-from-behind victory?" "It's great! But first I'd like to give thanks to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ." Wow...I sat up...who is this man? Not knowing anything about Mark, I couldn't wait to get home and do an internet search in hopes of finding his testimony. Here, from Atlanta Christian Weekly.com is a start: [see article below]From: Kyle Watson, "UGA's Mark Richt is a Head Coach with a 'Higher Calling'" (http://poptop.hypermart.net/testcmr.html; viewed 7 November 2005):
The University of Georgia not only has a fine football coach. They have a man who has his priorities in the right place. Last Thursday, July 19 at First Baptist Church of Snellville men's dinner, Mark Richt shared his testimony before almost 900 men. After speaking with him and listening to his testimony, I learned that he is very sincere, humble, humorous and stern. He spoke of struggles after his first dreams didn't come true. He told us how his quarterbacking days in college were stalled by Jim Kelly, a star quarterback. His days at the Denver Broncos were ended by young John Elway's arrival at football camp. Later he tried his chances with the Miami Dolphins, only to have Dan Marino show up on the team. "This must have been God's way of showing me what a good quarterback looks like," said Richt, who later became a quarterback coach at Florida State University. Before becoming a quarterback coach, he coached a high school team that ended up with a 0-10 season. His struggles had gotten so bad that when he attempted to be an insurance man, he showed up on his first day of work only to see cops arresting and taking away his new boss. Some time later, he gave his life to the Lord Jesus Christ after becoming a graduate assistant coach/quarterback coach. An incident where a FSU football player was murdered during a confrontation caused a meeting by Head Coach Bobby Bowden, where he spoke to the players about Christ. After that meeting, Bowden led Richt to the Lord. Although his parents divorced when he was a teenager, it is amazing how God has made him into such a loving family man. He really loves his wife and children. He works hard to divide his time between them and football. Richt spoke of how time consuming his position as Head Coach is. He praised his wife for being such a supportive spouse. With some of the off-season problems involving players getting in trouble, Richt spoke of how his goal is to be a role model for them. He doesn't just want to coach them on the field, he wants to teach them principles and disciplines. He hopes to teach them life lessons so that they will become better men. He strives to prepare them spiritually by his own example. He really cares for his players and wants them to "be great fathers one day." Coach Richt really loves Jesus. He seeks Christ in decisions by constant prayer and fasting. His motto is love and obey God. This coach spoke from his heart. As he said it best he wants to "serve the people instead of himself."