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

Jennifer

April 8th, 2010
11:56 am

@ Master “Jennifer, how does having a blackout make him classless?”
If you have to ask, you won’t understand, but I’ll try. Using such a silly gimmick shows no sense of decorum or sportsmanship. The Black Out is the equivalent of painting one’s chest in team colors.

Winning on fundamentals with a disciplined team, while showing respect for the other team and for the tradition of the game, is how one demonstrates class.

@Gator Eater: I have never, ever said that Urban Meyer had class. Ever.

Ever.

kevin

April 8th, 2010
11:56 am

I am UGA fan and I want a NC. Richt has been good, not great. And at times, I think what defenders of Richt call “class”, I would simply call too passive. And you can have the whole religious bit–can’t stand it–agree with Kim and Jennifer. However, I also agree that Richt handles the media better than any coach in football and represents his team well. Also, despite a disappointing season last year, Richt finally showed some balls made some much needed moves this off season.

Spokesman for the SEC East

April 8th, 2010
11:58 am

kevin, if he would of fired them a year earlier he might of had a better record last year.

kevin

April 8th, 2010
11:59 am

A little late…I completely agree Spokesman.

bamaguy

April 8th, 2010
11:59 am

I believe Florida has been a national power under Meyer and some guy named Spurrier.
I believe Alabama has been a national power under Saban, Stallings and some guy named Bryant.
I believe Georgia has been a national power under Dooley and . . . . . . .

Minnesota Dawg

April 8th, 2010
12:00 pm

Jennifer, you don’t know your facts. Bill you are right on! I put Richt up there with Dooley and that’s saying alot! How long did it take Dooley to win a National Championship? 15 years or so? Richt will get his if he’s given a chance. Developing character in players is far more important than just winning! Don’t get me wrong, I like to win, but not at the expense of losing your good name. I’d take Richt over Saban, Meyers, and any other coach around. I don’t lose sleep over Georgia not winning a National Championship. There’s more to life than that! I love the dawgs and I love Saturday afternoons in the fall! Dooley’s teams were great memories and now we’ve got a keeper in Richt with many memories in the making.

bruce mac

April 8th, 2010
12:01 pm

Reader, and the jackass Florida fans don’t ridicule CMR, right? Nobody displays more “in your face” than Tebow and that is what gets old. I know you don’t see it because you are in love but it is tiresome to others. CMR is low profile with his faith IMO. Gators and Dawgs don’t like each other, leave it at that.

POAD

April 8th, 2010
12:01 pm

cantondawg

April 8th, 2010
12:02 pm

Goosedawg,

I agree with you. Being a jerk doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a good football coach. However, i do think that blind loyalty to friends has been a problem with Richt. Instead of getting the most qualified DC in 2005, CMR chose to hire his friend CWM. When you hire your friend, you tend to hold on to them for way too long and not hold them as accountable as you should. That’s been the only fault i’ve seen with Richt but he has corrected it now. I don’t think there’s anybody who’s a Dawg fan that doesn’t realize that we’ve made some serious upgrades with CTG, CWB and CTL

kevin

April 8th, 2010
12:03 pm

bamaguy “Georgia without Atlanta is Mississippi”…Okay, but Bama is Mississippi.

Minnesota Dawg

April 8th, 2010
12:04 pm

Kevin, when it’s all said and done with life, what will you have? A National Championship! What will Richt have? A National Championship and a lot of former players who will thank God for a man like Richt who had high standards! I’d rather have a coach like Richt for my boys!

Dean

April 8th, 2010
12:04 pm

To answer the question. A coach with class that puts others first. Go Dawgs and Richt is our man.

Alabamadawg

April 8th, 2010
12:06 pm

POAD

April 8th, 2010
12:07 pm

You want Class and a Multi-cultural college life go to TECH or Georgia State. UGA is Barbie Doll U–Fake blonde Chicks. 57% female student body of 26K+ students and only 2679 Africam American students, 2800 Asian students, 1K hispanic students( Athens Banner Hareld Feb. 27, 2010 article.) Why do Black players want to go to this school. When a crime happens and a Black male is involved guess what people think?

Billy O

April 8th, 2010
12:07 pm

Hey Mike….politics kept us out of the NC game that year. We were the highest rated SEC team in the polls.

Hey Jennifer….UGA is not mediocore…..no team that averages 10 wins a season for the last decade is mediocore.

I know….I know…. I shouldn’t confuse the issue with facts.

Ron Roberts

April 8th, 2010
12:07 pm

Those “hasn’t won a national championship” detractors can’t stuff it; Mark Richt has TWO 1-loss campaigns that, under MOST circumstances since he arrived, would’ve been enough to win a national championship. His detractors need to look at his resume here under those regards. Winning a national championship often requires a little bit of luck, especially for an S.E.C. squad.

It’d be easy to dominate a weaker (Pac-10, Big Ten) conference and be there come BCS time, but we don’t have that luxury, so it is what it is. If there’s one knock on Richt, it’s that we haven’t competed better against Florida than we should have. The last time Moreno and Stafford had a shot at ‘em – that game was ugly, and should’ve been a closer-fought campaign. It got out of hand once the turnovers racked up; but I was there, and before INTs and fumbles, we were matching them.

Two 1-loss campaigns, and a 2-loss season where we were ARGUABLY the best team in the nation at the end of the season cannot be overlooked; neither can it be eschewed that in one of those 1-loss seasons, the one loss came to Florida without our starting QB at the helm.

The guy’s a class act, and has made this program a viable SEC and national title contender. I imagine these same “detractors” are the anti-Bobby Cox-like contingent, as well. I’ll take Cox and Richt every year, because you can’t win a title without being in the hunt, first, and they both get their squads there.

POAD

April 8th, 2010
12:08 pm

Hire a BLACK Coach and then who is your MAN?

Dean

April 8th, 2010
12:08 pm

And, if you study your Judeo-Christian history you will see that the Lord always tests those closest to him. Richt continues to persevere while his detractors pile on. We at Georgia are blessed to have him and regardless of what others say, we it’s more important to influence these young men and help mold them into good men than it is to win a few championsips.

Spokesman for the SEC East

April 8th, 2010
12:09 pm

If Richt is all class, etc. then why hasn’t filtered down to the criminals?

BG

April 8th, 2010
12:09 pm

Richt is more strict on his players than any other coach in the SEC. If Montez Robinson played for UT,UF,Bama or Auburn he would still be on the team.

OldDawg

April 8th, 2010
12:10 pm

Jennifer and Kim especially, and the other “haters”…thanks for your contributions to this blog.

And more specifically thanks for providing PERFECT examples as to class vs NO class!

Minnesota Dawg

April 8th, 2010
12:11 pm

Spokesmen for the SEC East, have you ever heard of free will? With your reasoning, Richt should sleep in the same room and go with them to class and everwhere just to make sure they won’t slip up! Try again and make some sense next time!

kevin

April 8th, 2010
12:11 pm

Minnesota Dawg,

Hope you’re right–that Richt will have a national championship. And I agree that Richt is a stand up guy. I just think at times (perhaps too often) Richt is afraid to hurt people’s feelings. Willie Martinez should have been fired a year ago. Bobo should have been fired this year. All in all, I like Richt and would rather have him than many other coaches.

BG

April 8th, 2010
12:12 pm

POAD what you smoking dog??

Spokesman for the SEC East

April 8th, 2010
12:12 pm

BG, no he should of been kicked off after the second arrest. Richt is just like Bobby, he delegates and looks the other way.

POAD

April 8th, 2010
12:12 pm

Ron read before you post. And Bobby Cox only has WHITE players. Richt has Thugs and beating Hawaii ain’t Crap to make you #1.

kevin

April 8th, 2010
12:13 pm

Great points Ron Roberts!

Dawg 39

April 8th, 2010
12:14 pm

Not only do I agree totally with the article (It makes me proud to be A Dawg Fan) but I disgree totally with the naysayers. 20 years without a SEC title until CMR came along (I had given up).
We are currently enjoying the best 10 year run in the history of Dawg Football. Only CMR could have done that at UGA. He will win more SEC titles & as far the NC, who knows. ESPN will do whatever it can to keep the Dawgs out of the NCG. The next 4 years look extremely promising to me

david

April 8th, 2010
12:15 pm

Jennifer…it’s as if we were at the same UGA/Bama game…i completely agree with your observations and believe you are spot on! As i left The Blackout Game, carefully stepping over the self-inflicted litter on the trashed quad, I was proud about my team, its coach, and the fans…

roll tide

John

April 8th, 2010
12:15 pm

Most SEC coaches have class with the exception of gone Kiffen and Meyer, The new Auburn coach has it as well as Saben. I watch Saben very close last year and he is a class act too. It’s important to me.

Spokesman for the SEC East

April 8th, 2010
12:15 pm

POAD, but they did look good wearing black against Hawaii.

POAD

April 8th, 2010
12:15 pm

BG the same Crap your Players are smoking because we both know I and your players will get many chances to get away with it. Check my facts and get back to me. UGA is not Black friendy if you don’t play with a BALL. Check the facts.

Spokesman for the SEC East

April 8th, 2010
12:16 pm

How does ESPN keep the dogs out of the NC game? What an inferiority complex!!

Minnesota Dawg

April 8th, 2010
12:16 pm

Kevin, I can understand what you are saying but most of the time we don’t have all the facts. We don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. Have you not ever been falsely accused or misjudged? It happens all the time in College Football. Rumors and gossip and spin. Now I’m not a blind, yes man, but Richt did deal with the problem. He did it in his own time. He makes mistakes and never will be perfect. Don’t you agree?

Moore

April 8th, 2010
12:18 pm

Name a program that doesn’t have any off the field issues? All of these programs take kids with difficult backgrounds and give them an OPPORTUNITY. Some kids get it, take advantage of the opportunity and appreciate the faith the coaches placed in them. Some kids don’t get it and fall back into bad patterns. Try as we might, we can’t save everyone from themselves. Point is that Mark Richt gives them a shot and in examples given here helps kids beyond the point of where it benefits him or UGA.

There comes a point where a good influence is not enough, opportunity is not enough and some kids make bad decisions anyway. Sometimes that’s on them.

KimZ's Package

April 8th, 2010
12:18 pm

Richt has so much Class he sat on the Bench so Kelly could Lead the U to a title!

kevin

April 8th, 2010
12:21 pm

MD,

I agree. It’s hard to have an educated opinion in this instance. As you point out, there is plenty going on we know nothing about.

Humper hater

April 8th, 2010
12:21 pm

You would get more bang for your dollar if you hired Billy Graham as your HC and then a genious for an offensive coordinator and a maniac for a D coordinator.

wheres my

April 8th, 2010
12:21 pm

Ring??????????????????

RandyBogartGA

April 8th, 2010
12:22 pm

I was reading this same writer last year and all of you dawg fans were screaming for coach Richt’s head because he was a christian !!!!!! Can’t you people make up your minds????????? Now give us an answer.do you want him or not want him???? For crying out loud make up your minds and get on with it.

kirby

April 8th, 2010
12:23 pm

OK Dawgs…so u rank number 1 in the country every year in class. That record will probably never be broken! I love to watch Uga play football (and dance on the sideline). I bet u guys r preseason no. 1 again this year in “class”…keep up the good work!! Bow Wow Bulldogs Bow Wow

Fred

April 8th, 2010
12:23 pm

He sure gets paid a lot of money to be a sunday school teacher………….. I thought the goal of a coach was to WIN……….

Old Dawg

April 8th, 2010
12:24 pm

Face the facts; we hired Richt because at the time Spurrier was the coach at UF and the only program that had success against the gators was FSU and UGA hired their #1 assistant to end the domination by Florida. He has not succeeded. period!!!

$750K

April 8th, 2010
12:24 pm

So classy to take millions of dollars for coaching football when the education budget is being slashed. So classy, indeed.

John

April 8th, 2010
12:25 pm

Nice column. You hit the nail on the head. Richt is the best coach in the SEC. Great job!!!!

Bama Jammer

April 8th, 2010
12:25 pm

Class? Keep it, Bama, Florida, LSU, and Tennessee will keep their BCS Titles. 100 years from now when somebody is looking at past champions there will be no asterisk next to Bama’s or Florida’s NATIONAL TITLES that says……that Mark Richt had a lot of class. He may have class but a lot on his team do not. That endzone dance against the Gators was the most class-less thing I have ever seen and Florida will use that as motivation for years to come, maybe that’s why they have beaten the Dawgs 90-27 in the last 2 games. RTR

#2 BAMA FAN

April 8th, 2010
12:25 pm

Mark Richt is a great man and very good coach, but the question is has he won any NC’S NO. I hope
he does one day at Georgia or some where else. Richt has gone to beat Urban Meyer this year to get
the heat off his backside. Saban is no angel but he does a lot of charity work in Alabama for his Nick
Kids corporate. If you could mix and match Saban and Richt in to the same coach you would have a great coach and human being!! RTR and GO DAWGS!!

Old Dawg

April 8th, 2010
12:26 pm

Money comes from “private” athletic association and not from the university dumb ass $750K!

ilikeyourearlobe

April 8th, 2010
12:27 pm

I am proud to have such a grounded, Christian man to be the leader for the dawgs. People can bash him for being a Christian and doing things the right way, but in the end all that matters is a mans morals and integrity. Thank the Lord for coach Richt!

Debose

April 8th, 2010
12:27 pm

Yes, Mark “2-7″ Richt has class, Congrats!