Richt has brought something more important than a BCS title to UGA

Mark Richt draws praise from outside the Bulldog Nation for the way he's handled recent events in Athens. (Associated Press)

Mark Richt draws praise from outside the Bulldog Nation for the way he's handled recent events in Athens. (Associated Press)

If you haven’t checked out MrSEC.com’s tribute to the kind of coach — and, more importantly, the kind of man — Mark Richt is, you definitely should. The headline sums it up pretty nicely: “RICHT CONTINUES TO SHOW THAT HE’S THE CLASS OF THE CONFERENCE.”

Knoxville-based John Pennington, who writes the blog, says that “for my money, there is no better representative of an SEC university than Georgia’s Mark Richt.”

Amen.

This testimonial from outside the Bulldog Nation is prompted by a couple of things. First, the restraint Richt showed in dealing with the media flap over incorrect claims that some of his football players had harassed a couple in an Athens taxi. As Pennington puts it: “Rather than bark about the media or point a finger at a writer, Richt kept his cool and discussed the dangers of rushing to judgment in our instant-media world.”

Drawing a comparison to Urban Meyer, Pennington notes: “There were no ‘we’d be going at it right now’ comments. No ‘be very careful’ warnings.”

And beyond the taxi affair, Pennington cites the way Richt handled the unfortunate need to dismiss Montez Robinson from his program after the linebacker used up all the second chances he’d been given. Rather than simply leave the former Bulldog in his wake, Richt visited him in jail and continued to try and counsel the troubled young man.

Says MrSEC: “Again, this kind of action shouldn’t surprise anyone. When linebacker Jamar Chaney was denied admission into UGA back in 2005, Richt helped convince Mississippi State’s Sylvester Croom to give Chaney a chance in Starkville. … ‘It didn’t surprise me at all that Coach Richt did what he did,’ Chaney said. ‘He’s a great man.’
”

Here the Richt detractors will say: Ah, but he hasn’t won a national championship. They would rather have someone along the lines of a Nick Saban or Meyer in Athens if it means a crystal football in the trophy case.

As if that’s the only criteria that matters in judging a college football coach.

Maybe in today’s results-oriented athletics scene, that puts Richt and UGA at a disadvantage. It’s easy to understand how 17- or 18-year-old kids coming out of high school might be more dazzled by BCS rings than repeated displays of character and stability.

I don’t agree with the way Richt does everything, but on the whole I’d rather have him as head coach than anyone else I can think of. And I happen to still think Richt can win a national championship at Georgia without turning into a ruthless, ego-driven jerk or an obsessive head case.

Still, even if that doesn’t prove to be the case, I’m glad he’s the way he is.

458 comments Add your comment

Inspector G

April 8th, 2010
10:10 am

norm peterson

April 8th, 2010
10:11 am

could be that everything starts and ends with his Christian values!

I’ll admit that I sometimes hate him but he is one of the finest and we @ UGA are lucky to have him.

BT

April 8th, 2010
10:13 am

I’ve always said he is pure class. He will bring a title! I’d rather have a Richt for 20 years with no NC than someone like Saban for 4 then have him bolt for more money!

Larvell "SugarBear" Blanks

April 8th, 2010
10:14 am

……..I couldn’t agree more, CMR addressed the Defensive issues this year when the heat was on. He did it in his own way and his OWN terms. For this I respect him so much……would I LOVE to see UGA win the NC. HELL YES, but I don’t want to sell our soul aka Sabin to do it.

Bo

April 8th, 2010
10:14 am

I agree 100%. You can be the best in in your profession or life without being a jerk or a egomaniac. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people who believe otherwise.

Bo

April 8th, 2010
10:15 am

Thanks again Coach Richt!

allan in texas

April 8th, 2010
10:15 am

Give that another Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!

dreamer

April 8th, 2010
10:18 am

By far the best article I ever read in sports in a long time.

There are more important things in life than wins and losses, even the championship. I agree that Richt can and will win the championship with Georgia, but more importantly, the class and the character he shows is beyond measurable. Great role model for our young people! Go Dawgs!

laurenzomac

April 8th, 2010
10:23 am

Amen and hallelujah!!

Chris Phillips

April 8th, 2010
10:23 am

Very well said. I completely agree. I have been frustrated with UGA and CMR over play calling and coaching decisions, but I’d rather have that man as a coach and a leader of my kids any day of the week than Saban or Meyer. In the end, a crystal trophy is incomparable with character quality.

Johnny DangerDawg

April 8th, 2010
10:24 am

I agree. Sometimes, the haters like to claim that Richt being a “nice guy” will prevent him from winning titles. But I’m pretty sure that advising Montez Robinson and being polite to the media doesn’t hurt a coach’s chances of winning titles.

Bryan G.

April 8th, 2010
10:24 am

Eh…I mean, yes, I agree with Mr. SEC. This is a tough one because I do really like CMR. However, I really wouldn’t mind him having a little more Saban in him.

Richt is a good coach and a great man. I’d be just fine with him being a great coach and a good man, too, though…

DirtyDawg

April 8th, 2010
10:29 am

I’m one of those guys that thought, along with Vince Dooley as I recall, that Jim Donnan deserved another year to ‘prove’ himself. Alas it wasn’t to be. But in retrospect, I can’t tell you how happy I am now that it resulted in getting Mark Richt. Just as Joel Eaves and Vince took Georgia to a whole new level of class and pride back in ‘64 – albeit there was not much way to go but up back then – Coach Mark Richt ‘makes us proud’ with everything he exudes and does. Glad we got him? You damn betcha!

Tallcarl

April 8th, 2010
10:32 am

Well that’s a step in the right direction for all, maybe if the media will concentrate on the positive? Naaa, won’t happen. Go Dogs

GooseDawg

April 8th, 2010
10:32 am

Great article Bill!

This was a well written & very refreshing article. It served as a much needed reminder about what great character CMR has & what a positive influence he has on the young men he coaches.

We are truly blessed to have Coach Richt in Athens & I hope he remains the leader of the men in Red & Black for a very long time!

island man

April 8th, 2010
10:32 am

Bryan G. U hit the “nail on the head”. I would take it another step and say CMR is a great recruiter and a good coach.

TuckDAWG

April 8th, 2010
10:39 am

Great article Bill we love CMR and am glad he is a great person that being said i do belive we will see more fire in him this year than we have in years past he seems to have a different bounce in his step this spring GATA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Johnny's Quest

April 8th, 2010
10:40 am

Winning at all costs isn’t everything. I can assure you Coach Richt & his staff want to win more than even most die hard Dawg fan. Being led & mentored by a man like Coach Richt will be what the players remember long after their playing days are over.

1eyedJack

April 8th, 2010
10:43 am

Thinking back it seems that most of the serious arrests and problem children (and personal fouls) on UGA’s football team seem to be on the defensive side. Could that be an additional reason for CMR to clean house on that side of the ball? Is Grantham’s, Belin’s, and Lakotas’ hiring a step toward putting some discipline on that side of the ball? Was Willie and company lax on discipline and recruiting the wrong kind of personality to play defense or simply a lack of due diligence in researching the recruits?

Under Richt and this new regime I expect to see profound improvement in not only discipline on defense but also on the athletes being recruited.

I wouldn’t trade CMR for CUM or Satan for 4 crystal balls and an oreo blizzard.

BobDog

April 8th, 2010
10:43 am

We only see the public side of Coach Richt. Inside the fence, he’s probably much more driven. He always exhibits poise and class and I like the image he projects for UGA.

The D

April 8th, 2010
10:47 am

I agree with this article and am glad you wrote it! I think CMR is the best thing to happen to the University besides the HOPE scholarship. UGA is beloved by the state, and I think we all would like a NC, but knowing we have such a sound leader for our young men to look up to is good enough for me. THANKS COACH

Dawg Days

April 8th, 2010
10:49 am

Coach Richt is a class act, and its sad that when the heat was on to chase WM out of Athens, many bloggers were critical of the coach’s deep Christian values and beliefs. But its his devote relationship with the Lord that makes him the special man he is. Recently there was an article questioning if Richt had lost control of his team, and if he is the next Bobby Bowden of the SEC. The irony is that his core belief in developing young men is paramount, and understands they will make mistakes, but if they show remorse and accept responsiblity, they deserve a second chance. That seems like more control to me than lack of control, guess it just depends on your perspective.
Regardless, I am proud of what Coach Richt stands for and glad he is representing UGA, go Dawgs!

Bryan

April 8th, 2010
10:49 am

As a Bama fan, I’ve always like Richt and the stand he has taken for his faith. I think he is a very upstanding person and I have a lot of respect for him as a man.

However, when it comes to a FOOTBALL COACH, I wouldn’t trade Saban for anybody else out there right now. Saban is paid to win football games and national titles and that’s what he does. People point to his coaching past and call him all sorts of names. However, every coaching change he has made he has had good reason to make that move in regards to the right choice for his family and his career. The move from Michigan State to LSU was a no brainer. He got to come to the SEC and to a school that had all the tools needed to compete for a national title and he did just that. After that, it was a move to the NFL.. something every coach in the game of football desires to take a shot at. No one can blame him for making that move in his career. After being in the NFL he realized this wasn’t what he wanted and he realized he was not cut out for the NFL and he missed one thing that wasn’t a part of the NFL game.. RECRUITING! People who claim Saban will go wherever the dollar leads him seem to forget the fact that he took a pay cut to come back to the college game and take over at Alabama…another school that had all the tools in place to win a title..and once again, he did just that. People claim he will leave Alabama when another offer comes up… well I can’t see the future, but I don’t see that happening. When he came to Alabama, some of those same people also said he isn’t as good as the bammers think, he ain’t worth 4 million and he’ll never win a NC at Alabama because they are a team of the past..blah, blah, blah. And we see how that worked out, didn’t we?

I think he’s the best coach in college football and his record backs that up…and I’d be willing to bet a few of you Dawg fans would love to see ‘Satan’, as some call him, strolling on the home side between the hedges….but I doubt many of you will be honest and just admit it.

Roll Tide!

Florida Dawg

April 8th, 2010
10:53 am

It’s about time we had a decent article talking about things that matter. Amen! Can’t wait for the G-Day game this weekend. My wife and I are driving up from Orlando just to see it. Should be a great day!

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!

GooseDawg

April 8th, 2010
10:57 am

Question for the TRUE Dawg fans,

When CMR brings UGA another SEC title & that elusive BCS aka Mythical Nt’l Title are yall STILL going to want him to be more like Saban? I understand his laid back demeanor makes some folks question his motivation, his intensity, his desire to be the best, but seriously, do yall think if he starts walking around like his ‘youknowwhat’ don’t stink (ala CNS), throwing visors (ala CSS), yelling at reporters (ala CUM), or taunting the opposition (ala Lame Lane Kiffin, not even worthy of being called a coach) that suddenly our football team will start winning more games?

Whatdayasay Dawg fans?

LSU_TIGER

April 8th, 2010
10:59 am

Class doesn’t win ball games!!!! Yes, Richt is classy and very nice…too nice!! The kids may respect him, but they don’t play well for him. I guess if you’re happy being in the middle to bottom of the SEC pack, good for you. I would rather have a hard ass that wins ball games anyday!

Just wondering

April 8th, 2010
11:01 am

Assuming Mark Richt is everything that he was hired for; which appears to be based on the comments above; like being an honest trustworthy Christian man who guides young men in the proper paths of life and NOT to win championships. Then why might I ask did he fire Willie Martinez. Martinez coached exactly like Richt wanted or else he would have fired him the previous season. Just wondering…

SEC observer

April 8th, 2010
11:03 am

Even the original EVIL GENIOUS, Stephen Orr Spurrier has said he is going to be more of a “jerk” quoting his own word in order to bring the longed for championship to Columbia.

George G.

April 8th, 2010
11:05 am

It’s a front.

Dbalcer

April 8th, 2010
11:05 am

Coach Richt does make me proud to be a DAWG. I believe he will win a NC. There are a lot of things that have to work together for that to happen and I see it happening in the near future.

stw

April 8th, 2010
11:06 am

Bryan: And Saban will be your coach UNTIL someone comes along and offers him more money.

Honest question to ALL DAWG FANS:

April 8th, 2010
11:06 am

Would you be content with Richt never winning another East Championship as long as he continues to be competitive and live his upstanding life style? How many wins does he need this year to keep his job or is any number ok?

NC_DAWG

April 8th, 2010
11:08 am

LSU_Tiger, one middle of the pack finish does not indicate a team mired at the bottom. Dawgs will be back and back strongly the next few years.

http://social.bioware.com/brc/14911

AlphG8r

April 8th, 2010
11:10 am

hahahahaha this is just sad… I’m sure Coach Richt’s name will be prominently displayed in the “class” section of the history books…right under all of the other great classy coaches with no titles like um… remember that one guy? you know the one I’m talking about

Dawg 39

April 8th, 2010
11:11 am

A great article that I totally agree with. I really enjoy this Blog. Keep It Up.

James

April 8th, 2010
11:11 am

Tech fan here.
I agree, and Richt always has exhibited great character. That said, if Dawgs get less than 9 wins this year, expect to hear “boot mr. nice guy” and “nice guys just can’t cut it in the SEC” as the folks on this blog are calling for his head. Hope that doesn’t happen though, he’s a great coach.

James

AlphG8r

April 8th, 2010
11:12 am

Would you rather have a “coach with class” or a “coach with championships”?

JoeV

April 8th, 2010
11:13 am

Leave it to an arrogant bama fan to change the subject to his team/coach.

From a Clemson alum, Richt is a class act and admired across the country for his actions. You guys have a great one in him.

knoxdawg

April 8th, 2010
11:13 am

I want to win a NC as much as anyone but you never lower your values to do so. If CMR doesn’t win one so be it. His integrity speaks for itself. Go Dawgs!

RAMMER JAMMER YELLOW HAMMER

April 8th, 2010
11:16 am

stw, i guess you think cmr would stay at uga if a team came calling w/ 4.5 mil a year. but we all know that wont happen dont we……. just saying… this will be year 4 for cns, so i guess we need to find us a coach after the bcs title game.

Mike

April 8th, 2010
11:16 am

Sounds like everyone above me has been drinking the Kool-Aid and attending the CMR love fest. It also sounds like everyone is ready and willing for a 2-3 loss season this year. Fact – Since CMR has been at Georgia, no NC. Not only no NC, but never even playing for one. The closest was the recent Sugar Bowl against Hawaii, and Georgia was the number 3 team in the conference that year. So, keep on drinking the Kool-Aid.

Dawg Man

April 8th, 2010
11:18 am

Bryan, no doubt Saban is a better motivator and i would argue a better college “football” coach than Richt. Keep in mind I am a die hard Dawg fan. But, I wouldn’t expect Saban to be there longer than 2 more years at best once he gets bored with Bama or more money comes calling from the NFL. On another note, if winning a National Championship is all that matters in College Football, then ALL classes for football players should only be subjects on football. Forget History, Math, Science, or any other useless stuff like that.

George P. Burdell

April 8th, 2010
11:19 am

Always choose a coach with class over championships. Championships will come and go. The legacy behind a man with class will last forever.

Jennifer

April 8th, 2010
11:19 am

Oh my God. Is this an April Fools Day joke??
You think the man whose team stormed the field after scoring a TD on Florida, whose team can’t keep its players out of jail and whose team commits penalties left and right has CLASS? Are you serious? Richt’s players don’t know the meaning of the words “sportsmanship” and “discipline.” They run around like a bung of entitled thugs both on and off the field.
Bill, I know that this team mired in perpetual mediocrity needs something to hold onto, but the myth that Mark Richt is a class act is laughable.

bamaguy

April 8th, 2010
11:20 am

There is no doubt that CMR is a man of character. But let me ask a question. How long would a CEO of Coca Cola stay on the job if he failed to keep Coke at the top, regardless of his character. In the end, the man is paid to compete for championships. If he doesn’t, he will eventually be let go.

I’ll take Nick Saban and a crystal football.

Dawg Man

April 8th, 2010
11:21 am

Your best article yet Bill

mexdawg

April 8th, 2010
11:22 am

Coach Richt leads by example and that’s something I’m sure his players respect.WE are very lucky to have Mark Richt as our head coach and I hope he stays with us for a long time.Keep up the good work coach.LET THE BIG DAWG EAT.

Jennifer

April 8th, 2010
11:23 am

I cannot believe I left off the Black Out. The Black Out!! That’s class???

This is shear insanity. Yes, he’s a Christian, and will tell anyone within 20 feet about it, but that does not equate to class.

Great post Jennifer

April 8th, 2010
11:25 am

His program is run just like his mentor (saint bobby) taught him, except he hasn’t produced a NC and the fans will tire of him just like the Noles did with Bobby.

Why dont the players reflect the coach?

April 8th, 2010
11:26 am

Isn’t that an appropriate question?