Were I Georgia, I wouldn’t just “self-report” this “secondary violation.” I’d shout it from the mountaintops. I’d make it the first sentence in Mark Richt’s official bio, which would now read:
“Mark Richt, in his 11th season of coaching the Bulldogs, stamped himself the World’s Greatest Boss by paying staffers OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET!”
Excuse the capital letters, but sometimes major emphasis is required. This is one such moment. Some football coaches pay recruits. Georgia’s football coach dips into his personal finances to reward the guys who’ve worked for him. He committed a violation, all right. He showed the rest of us what it means to put (literal) money where your mouth is.
In so doing, Richt just made Georgia — unwittingly, but even unwitting actions have consequences — the program of choice should the Bulldogs ever have another opening for an assistant coach or a office go-fer. Richt felt so bad about firing Jon Fabris, a member of the defensive staff jettisoned in December 2009, that he gave Fabris $6,000 when he couldn’t find another job. Who does such a thing in this economy? Who does such a thing in any economy?
Some coaches have the reputation of being difficult to serve under. Richt just stamped himself as the coach you want to work for. We all knew he was a good guy, but this borders on sainthood. (”St. Mark of Athens, driver of Ford trucks and benefactor to unsung associates.”)
OK, it was technically a violation — a violation in the way that jaywalking to push somebody clear of a runaway bus is a legal misdemeanor. I think everyone can agree to let this one slide without penalty. Me, I’d consider giving Richt a raise for philanthropy, but that would kind of defeat the purpose, would it not?
By Mark Bradley