Part 2: Georgia football coach Mark Richt shares his parenting philosophies

Dad Days of Summer: While Momania’s Theresa Walsh Giarrusso takes a vacation, local dad and sportswriter Andy Johnston will be filling in. You can e-mail him at ajcmomania@gmail.com.

Mark Richt is entering his 11th season as the football coach at the University of Georgia. He and his wife Katharyn were married in 1987 and had two boys – Jon, 21, and David, 16 – before adopting Zack, 15, and Anya, 14, from the Ukraine in 1999. He took some time to talk to me about his philosophies on several aspects of parenting.

Part 2 (Read Part 1 here)

On adoption:

Andy and his son Ty.

Andy and his son Ty.

When we adopted, Jon and David were very much in the decision process. We wanted them to be for it, also. Once we all decided that we were going to do this, there was enough time in the adoption process to begin to pray for the siblings who were coming in and to get used to the idea that a brother and sister were on the way. So I think that was helpful, that we didn’t just spring it on them. David was the one who had to live with Zack and Anya more. Jon was of a different age, and of course, was out of the house sooner, too. David’s world was changed more than Jon’s was. Jon had his older buddies and just didn’t do as much with the little kids, but David was right alongside them.

On introducing an adopted girl to a family with two boys:

She was so young. It really didn’t make a big difference. We went from man-to-man to zone coverage. That’s what changed the most. She’s just part of the gang. She didn’t get any special treatment. She’s just one of the gang.

On taking care of the kids when Katharyn is gone:

Dairy Queen is (usually) part of the day. They probably eat a little more junk food when I’m in charge. I think that would be one of the biggest differences. I will say this, anytime I’ve had to do that sort of thing, (Katharyn) does a phenomenal job of writing out the agenda for the two-day period, or whatever it might be. So and so has got to be here. So and so is picking him up. You give this note to Zack to give to the teacher because he’s leaving early, whatever it might be. She has it spelled out. If there is any medicine involved. Even down to feeding the dogs. She lays it out pretty good.

On grandchildren:

I think (Jon, who plays quarterback at Mars Hill College, and his wife Anna) will try to wait until their college days are over. There are two more football seasons for him and at least a year-and-a-half of school. I think they’re trying to plan it out where they don’t have children right away.

On making time for family during busy football seasons:

Every morning we get up together. We have breakfast together and have a family devotion together. For years, I took the kids to school, and now David is in position to drive, and he takes them to school. At least every single day, during the school year, we spend some time together in the morning. On Sundays, we’re able to go to church and have some lunch. During the season, there’s a family night where we’ll eat dinner with our families (at the athletic complex).

On involving his children with the football program:

Over the years, in season, I had Jon at one time, would be a water boy at the game. He’d travel with me. David had his time and now Zack is my traveling buddy. Zack, after school last year, came over to practice and help with the video. He does a good job with that.

- By Andy Johnston, for the Momania blog

44 comments Add your comment

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shaggy

July 13th, 2011
7:27 am

This blog is getting weird. It’s like a sports blog with moms.
I am a confirmrd dawg, but really, all of the Richt worshipping needs to be on Bradley or Schultz.

Jeff

July 13th, 2011
7:57 am

I think it’s an awesome change of pace to liven up the blog. I don’t have an opinion about UGA one way or the other.

The thing that pops out for me is they truly act like a team and they are all committed to the success of the team.

Father Jane Goose

July 13th, 2011
8:07 am

No more football, Andy…. as evident via the lack of posts can you take a hint???

Jeff

July 13th, 2011
9:03 am

I’m extremely disappointed in this blog community for failing to contribute. I hope it’s not a gender thing because I thought we were all past that.

motherjanegoose

July 13th, 2011
9:08 am

Am I missing something here?

Andy is a sportswriter and a Dad. He is able to interview Mark Richt, whom he seems to admire. He shares things from a Dad’s perspective and can ( to me) tie things together nicely. He is not auditioning for this job but merely taking over for TWG while she is gone. I do not think ratings, on topics here, play a huge role in what he discusses. Maybe they do.

This is the second day on this topic and he already mentioned there would be two parts.

I could care less about football…I am ducking now :). I know this is simply WRONG for many other people. It is hard to have 2 kids connected to UGA and live in a neighborhood with oodles of
alumni /die hard fans and feel this way but I manage. I do care about families and thus appreciate those who are committed to being good parents and doing what they think is best for their families. I respect those who look out for their family.

FYI…I think Part 1 of this blog had more posts than the Slip and Slide post yesterday but is it really a contest?

Techmom

July 13th, 2011
9:17 am

I don’t have anything against Richt and I think bringing a dad’s perspective to the blog is fine but it’s nothing earth shattering and if you’ll notice in today’s blog, there are no questions to seek response.

DB

July 13th, 2011
9:25 am

@Jeff: Well, to be fair — what kind of comments are we supposed to make? What is there to agree/disagree with? Or to have an opinion on? And why do people feel cheated if there’s no comment required? Let’s face it, Andy’s reporting Richt’s thoughts on parenting — he seems like a nice guy, with a nice family. What’s to discuss? Discussion on his football program is not really apropos to the topic.

This is a blog — a “web log”, and some blogs are just to get thoughts out there, not to stir up controversy or dissent or discussion. I found the information to be interesting, especially the fact that his wife has to write everything out in minute detail whenever she leaves him in charge — that made me laugh!

The past two days gave me insight into someone that I hear about on a regular basis. While there may not be a lot of comments, that doesn’t mean that people aren’t reading it. It’s a change of pace — and I got a chuckle out of it, knowing Theresa’s antipathy towards Michael’s devotion to UGA football during the season. :-)

Becky

July 13th, 2011
9:41 am

I haven’t posted because I have been up to my nek in paper work..

With that being said, I don’t know that much about Mark Richt..Based on what I have read about him, he seems to be a wonderful husband, father and person..I think it’s great that Andy is able to share this with us, as techmom said, just because I haven’t responded, that doesn’t mean that I haven’t read the last couple of topics..

Like Jeff, I don’t have an opinion one way or the other on GA football..If my husband is watching the game, I watch also, if he’s not, same for me..It’s that way at our house for any type of sport..

HB

July 13th, 2011
9:55 am

I’ve enjoyed reading these two posts. Kudos to Andy for reporting on a celebrity parent by conducting a thoughtful interview with a well-known father in the region (after all, this is a local paper) rather than copying and pasting gossipy excerpts from People or TMZ about “reality” show freaks.

shaggy

July 13th, 2011
10:06 am

Sorry Jeff – As a father, and a dawg, I do tend to refrain from making a football coach any thing other than, a football coach. I liken it to celebrity culture. I like to separate my athletes, coaches, actors, actresses, musicians, etc… from actual life. I am sure Richt is an exceptional man, but I just want him to coach dawgs to national titles.

Andy Johnston

July 13th, 2011
10:26 am

Thanks for the comments and your passion for this blog.

As a dad/sportswriter, I’m writing from that angle, and as I said yesterday, I thought it would be interesting to provide a different side of a “celebrity” dad than what you normally see. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that every post from now on will be about sports or football. Although that would make it a little easier for me.

And for those who miss Theresa, she’ll be back in a couple of weeks.

LM

July 13th, 2011
10:33 am

Like Becky, I have been overwhelmed with work and just have not had time to post. I don’t have an opinion on football, but as a father, Mr. Richt seems to enjoy being an involved dad. kudos to him and any parent who is involved, no matter what their occupation is.

Kathy

July 13th, 2011
10:57 am

Andy…..I personally would like to see you stick around. : ) I have enjoyed your blogs.

I enjoyed reading about Mark Richt. Although it does not surprise me that his wife has to write down every little thing. Other than the mornings, I can’t imagine that he is around much other than that during football season (or any other time during the year…..the job does not stop when the season ends), so he probably doesn’t know that much about the kids’ schedules. I have no doubt that he is a great father, but he IS the coach of an SEC D1 l football team. I would suspect he spends more time on football than anything else.

catlady

July 13th, 2011
11:14 am

He is also an involved member of his church, as is his mentor, Bobby Bowden. I have been to church with both of them and they are both ready to serve. I respect that.

Producer

July 13th, 2011
11:20 am

Wow! Can someone pass the Kleenex? Do you think Hollywood might consider casting him in Charleton Heston’s role in the remake of The Ten Commandments? I mean, the wisdom of Solomon, living right here in Athens!! Who knew? I wonder if he were to thrust his arms skyward, if waters might part? I’m wondering if he might grace Georgia with his presence on an actual football field any time soon? On second thought, no, it isn’t necessary, football is sooooo beneath a man of such Godliness.

DB

July 13th, 2011
11:45 am

@Producer: Well, do you feel better now that you got your daily dose of sarcasm out of the way?

Frankly, I’d be happy if he thrust his arms skyward and the opposing team’s defense would part — not as showy as the Red Sea, perhaps, but infinitely more satisfying on game day :-)

Becky

July 13th, 2011
12:00 pm

@Kathy..It doesn’t surprise me either about the list..My husband is the same way..He has what I call CRS..lol..

Producer

July 13th, 2011
12:08 pm

DB, be careful that your comments about parting an opposing team’s defense might be be construed as blasphemy here. Parting a great body of water is a more acceptable task for the Great and Saintly Richt. Working His magic on an opponent is more in line with his secondary job as football coach. Mr. Johnston can you please, please, please, puh-leeeeeeeze give us a glimpse into tomorrow’s part 3? Who needs Dear Abby, Robert Schuler or Billy Graham when we’ve got Richt?!

Jeff

July 13th, 2011
12:14 pm

I guess I can make it a little more simple for you. Some of you (not all) like to complain about how the dad/husband/father should be more involved, help around the house, be more of a partner, follow his faith more closely, blah blah blah. Here you have a good example of a man doing that and you’re dead silent.

I’m not saying he’s perfect or my hero or anything because he’s still a human no matter what. But GD, you would think moms on here would be coming out of the woodwork praising this guy as a good example. Instead we get some snide comments about what ELSE he should be doing differently.

shaggy

July 13th, 2011
12:26 pm

“Frankly, I’d be happy if he thrust his arms skyward and the opposing team’s defense would part — not as showy as the Red Sea, perhaps, but infinitely more satisfying on game day :-)”

I wasn’t going to make any more posts on this, but I must compliment DB on getting a good one in. Plus, as evidenced in my previous post, that is all that I want out of Richt…and will accept divine intervention to get there.

MomsRule

July 13th, 2011
12:37 pm

Jeff, I enjoy reading all of the Dads (and male) perspectives on this blog. I really do. I have read yesterday’s and today’s topics and have zero comment. Zero.

I don’t like football and I have no idea who this guy is…so….the topics have been a light read but nothing that generated any need to comment for me. Actually, I’m surprised I even read them as the headline spelled out football.

I did giggle about his wife having to make an agenda for when she is gone. I do the same thing for my hubby. :)

Kathy

July 13th, 2011
12:54 pm

@Becky and MomsRule……I used to be an agenda maker when my daughter was tiny. I was militant about the nap schedule and feeding times. As she got older (she is 6 now), I relaxed A LOT about her schedule. I have also really worked on “parking the helicopter” and letting my husband take the reins when I am gone. I don’t leave lists or reminders anymore. Before I go anywhere I tell them to have fun together. He is a great dad and I trust that he will take great care of her when I am out.

Becky….is CRS kind of like DLTFTS (Didn’t Listen The First Time Syndrome)? hee hee hee

ssidawg

July 13th, 2011
12:59 pm

I think Coach Richt is a great role model and enjoy reading about how he and his family deal with day-to-day issues.

And I think Andy is doing a great job!!

motherjanegoose

July 13th, 2011
1:17 pm

Re: the agenda

I wrote an agenda out for years. One day, my husband told me : “I never read that thing.”

Problem solved…I can just walk out the door now. I do text my flight number, in case the plane crashes and also where I parked my car.

motherjanegoose

July 13th, 2011
1:23 pm

Kathy…good points. When I left, it was anywhere from 3 days to a week. If you are just going somewhere for the day or two, they will survive!

Becky

July 13th, 2011
1:24 pm

@Kathy..I just wish that I could be a little better at making & following a schedule..I was never one that made the kids when they were smaller follow a schedule to a T..We went one time with my stepson and his ex..She had their baby on such a tight schedule about eating that the baby cried for almost 15 mins. because it wasn’t her normal feeding time..WTH ?? Needless to say, I did not make any brownie points toward being a good MIL at that meal, because I told her just what I thought about her schedule..

That is one thing that I never worried about with my husband, he might not do things like I would do, but I never worried that the kids weren’t ok when he had them..They might not be the cleanest when I get home and it never fails that the girl tells me everyday that Poppy didn’t feed them anything all day long, but all in all, they are in good hands..

Yes, CRS..Can’t Remeber Sh*t..

@Andy..Yes, we miss Theresa, but you are doing a great job..When Theresa gets back, hope that you will still pop in for a visist every once in a while…

MomsRule

July 13th, 2011
1:52 pm

@MJG – that’s funny about the agenda. :)

My husband asks for one…we bring different strengths to the relationship and he knows and embraces it. He’s a great Dad and wonderful husband but I am the household organizer and the one that is on top of the children’s schedule. If I didn’t leave a list of the scheduled events and commitments…he’d be lost and the boys would be missing practices, etc. I’m not talking about meal times, what to cook, chores to be done, etc, that’s all on Dad. But who needs to be where and when…that list he appreciates.

jmb

July 13th, 2011
2:31 pm

Like MomsRule, I have absolutely no interest in football and also have NO idea who this guy is. I respect his family values but it’s really no differant than if the mailman told me the same about his family. I totally lost interest in blog once the sports fans starting weighing in as well. To some of the regulars here, it was sorta like opening the door to a lot of strangers and sports fans that we have nothing in common with. I do however enjoy Andy’s topics for the most part and it’s a nice breather from Theresa’s helicopter parenting ways.

catlady

July 13th, 2011
3:17 pm

MJG–loved the “text the flight number and where the car is if the plane crashes”. I mean, that tells all that is needed, right?

catlady

July 13th, 2011
3:17 pm

I’d love to share with Mark my football ideas!

motherjanegoose

July 13th, 2011
3:31 pm

@jmb…WE were all strangers to each other before the blog and some still are. I have enjoyed interacting with strangers. I have eaten meals, several times, with strangers and had fun.

@Momsrule…I am the organized one here, although lately I have become lax about lots of things.

@catlady…that about sums it up…except which banks I use and where my life insurance policy is.
FYI…if you want any of my stuff you can come over and get it….LOL.

Once, I put down my flight number and arrival at ( say) 7:42 p.m. As I am walking off the plane, my phone is ringing….

WHERE ARE YOU?
Uh…in the airport.
I THOUGHT YOU WOULD BE HOME AT 7:42

Really? I am somewhat precise but could never predict that one!

I have several stories about how things went down, while Mama was away.

DB

July 13th, 2011
3:36 pm

@Jeff: “Here you have a good example of a man doing that and you’re dead silent.”

Maybe . . . silence is golden? If we’re not bitchin’, then we must be happy, eh? I like the change of pace that Andy has provided — it rounds out the column nicely, and gives food for thought, even if we don’t think outloud.

However, given the lack of interest that many of the “regulars” have in football, I think jmb said it best: To them, it’s as if their mailman was telling them the same thing. It doesn’t intersect with their lives in any way, it’s just . . . interesting.

DB

July 13th, 2011
3:41 pm

@MJG: ROFL! I wasn’t a big list-maker for my husband, but was highly (and quietly) amused when I came back from a weekend trip with friends to find my daughter in her Sunday shoes, frilly socks, a sweet hair bow — and pajamas with a ruffled top. That’s how she went to church :-) When I innocently asked, “Oh, ready for bed?” when I saw her, my husband looked at me like I was crazy, and then I, still stumbling through the confusion, said, “But she’s wearing her pj’s, I thought . . . oh, never mind . . . .” I still smile at the memory of her in her PJ’s and patent leather Mary Janes :-)

April

July 13th, 2011
3:42 pm

Jeff is right. This is simply a different perspective and the chance to look into how someone else does things. To discount what Richt has to say simply because he is a football coach or because you “have no idea who this guy is” is narrow minded. If he were a mailman who also happened to be an example of a good or different type of parent, we should welcome that interview, also.
It is disappointing that some (not all) posters in this community can not be more open to ideas, opinions, and people who fall outside the tiny box in which they themselves operate.

DB

July 13th, 2011
3:44 pm

@April: What ideas, specifically, are we supposed to be discussing?

April

July 13th, 2011
3:48 pm

@DB Some people automatically put up a block concerning this interview simply because Coach Richt is a football coach.

motherjanegoose

July 13th, 2011
3:51 pm

RE: the mailman…anyone CAN bring something interesting to the table!

I once ate breakfast in a small town in Tennessee with a Mail Lady, whom I did not know 5 minutes prior. We had been waiting in line in a very busy place and the hostess did not have 2 tables to spare. I invited Brenda to join me and we had a nice time and I learned some new things.
My clients asked me what I did for breakfast,
“oh, I had a nice breakfast with Brenda!”
“who is Brenda?’
“Your Mail Lady.”
WHAT?

DB…love the PJ story!

April

July 13th, 2011
3:59 pm

@mjg – I admire the way you are always open to new things and new experiences. Everyday seems to be a new adventure for you – which is great.

motherjanegoose

July 13th, 2011
4:10 pm

@ April…thanks! My sister went with me to the beach last week. Her comment:
YOU TALK TO EVERYONE! Yes, I meet some of the nicest people and learn things too!
We had a cute waiter who was planning to be a family therapist. He was starting grad school.
I asked him if he wanted to meet us at our condo later and ask us any practice questions. We have
weird things in our family. He bent down near the table and talked quieter to us. Another waiter stopped and said, “Are you proposing to them?” We all got a kick out of it and even spoke with the manager. It was fun!

MomsRule

July 13th, 2011
4:21 pm

Narrow minded? Cool. I’ve never been called narrow minded before today.

jmb

July 14th, 2011
10:37 am

MJG, are you Taurus by chance? My husband and boss both are and they never meet a stranger either. Me, I the one that doesn’t speak unless spoken to and often get a little embarassed at the hubby sometimes but I have to say HE has made us some great freinds everywhere we go.

motherjanegoose

July 14th, 2011
3:42 pm

Not much into astrology but my husband and I are both Virgos. We are as different as night and day.

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