Mark Richt says decision to sell Lake Hartwell property was Christian motivated

Mark Richt said the decision of sell his second home on Lake Hartwell was in order to be able to give more to the less fortunate. (AJC photo by Curtis Comption)

Mark Richt said the decision of sell his second home on Lake Hartwell was in order to be able to give more to the less fortunate. (AJC photo by Curtis Comption)

I had to laugh earlier today when a colleague at work pointed out that the independent blog “SportsByBrooks” was reporting that Mark Richt had placed his Lake Hartwell home up for sale.

Predictably, “Brooks” — aka freelance journalist Brooks Melchior, 43, of Los Angeles — makes the leap that Richt selling off his property surely must mean that Richt is in real trouble as the head football coach of the Georgia Bulldogs.

Writes Brooks: “Normally, I don’t subscribe to a coach putting a home up for sale as a sign of anything, but in this case, it might be applicable. . . . Richt doesn’t strike me as a guy out to flip houses, so I think it’s reasonable to surmise that last year’s 6-7 record — and the subsequent outcry emanating from Athens — may have something to do with the coach making over his real estate portfolio.”

I found this funny because Richt told me several weeks ago that he and his wife had decided to place their second home on the market and he told me why. He revealed that to me in an off-the-record meeting we had shortly after I had been placed back on the UGA beat. Actually, I initiated the discussion when I told Richt that my wife and I were considering downsizing but were afraid we would take too much of a financial hit with the economic times being what they are. Richt told me then what he and Katharyn were doing and actually predicted what the reaction would be if and when it went public.

With the cat out of the bag, so to speak, I called Richt Wednesday and asked him to explain again — this time on the record — what he and wife were thinking when they decided to sell the lakehouse. I’ll just let him tell it:

“Within the last year, I read this book, “The Hole in Our Gospel,” written by Richard Stearns. He’s the president of World Vision, U.S. I think people understand who World Vision is but, basically, they help the poor. Through their organization, you can help children, you can help build wells, you can buy them donkeys, whatever people need. World Vision helps people across the world. Well, anyway, there was a lot of statistical data in there about the amount of people that live on a dollar a day around this world. Billions of people. So I’m reading this book and it really affected me. It helped me realize that what we have is way more than we need and that our ability to give is hindered by this property. I guess that’s the best way to tell you. We just wanted to be in a better position to give and bless people that don’t have anything. We felt like this was one way to be able to do that.”

The house and surrounding acreage was listed for $1.99 million on May 17. Richt had the Hart County home built in 2009, about the time his oldest son Jon Richt signed a scholarship to play football at nearby Clemson University. Jon Richt transferred to Mars Hill College shortly after Tommy Bowden was dismissed as Clemson’s coach.

Richt makes more than $3 million a year as Georgia’s coach and has earned more than $25 million in income from UGA since being hired in 2001. So it’s not like he can no longer afford it or is concerned that, without the Georgia job, eventually won’t be able to.

“Our ability to own this home, to have this home, that’s not an issue,” Richt said Wednesday. “It has absolutely nothing to do with anything that has to do with football. It has to do my wife’s desire and my desire to give.

“I was actually compelled to do this much earlier,” he added. “I made the decision to do it a while ago but I didn’t want to do it during the season or during recruiting because I knew it would be blown out of proportion. But it’s been on my heart for a long time, so we’re just going ahead and doing it.”

As for the book that served as Richt’s inspiration, you can read about it HERE.  Stearns writes that 40 percent of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day and 15 percent of the world’s people, about 1 billion people, live on less than $1 a day. The United States, on average, lives on $105 a day, the book claims.

“I’d challenge anybody to read this book and not be affected by it, Richt said. “We just live in such wealth here in America. And I’m talking about everybody. Anybody who’s making 30 grand a year is extremely wealthy compared to rest of the people in the world. These kids, these families will walk two or three miles, half a day or more, to get water that’s really not healthy. They’re drinking stuff that’s not safe for them. Then children die of AIDS, they die of malaria and they die of dehydration. Kids end up dying or the parents die and they’ve got nothing.

“This book just talks about how much of that is going on around the world and, if it was sitting right outside our door, what would we do about it? It’s a very compelling book. Compelling enough for me to say, ‘you know what, I don’t want to pour money into a home like that when I can use it for better things, for eternal things.’ It was just very alarming to find out what’s going on out there and we need to do something about it.”

As has been Richt’s style, he’s doing more about it than selling off his property. He and his family are taking a trip to Honduras this summer with World Vision to observe and assist in the construction of water wells.

As for the SportsbyBrooks report and the predictable assumptions made by it, Richt laughed and said “maybe some good will come from it.”

“If this situation gets people to read this book and gets people more interested in helping the poor, then I’m happy about it,” he said. “I hope other people respond. It’s a very compelling book and if people read it, I think they’ll understand where I’m coming from.”

398 comments Add your comment

Dennis

May 25th, 2011
4:27 pm

Gotta love Coach Richt..he is a man of principle and when push comes to shove, he’ll do what’s right, regardless of the consequences. He is a true Christian. The haters will say what they want, but he’s a really good guy who lives what he believes. While I’m a UGA fan and want to see them win so badly, there are bigger things in life. Kudos to you coach Richt.

And first?

DCJohn

May 25th, 2011
4:31 pm

That’s awesome.

timthebrave

May 25th, 2011
4:32 pm

It’s great to be a Georgia Bulldog! I’m glad Mark Richt is our coach

SSIgator

May 25th, 2011
4:34 pm

“Writes Brooks: “Normally, I don’t subscribe to a coach putting a home up for sale as a sign of anything, but in this case, it might be applicable.”

The bigger clue will be when the Mayflower truck shows up at his house in Athens this November.

General Sherman

May 25th, 2011
4:35 pm

Why are people concerned about his property,he earned it and can give it away if he so desires. You people need to get a life!

Trojan

May 25th, 2011
4:38 pm

CMR is a fine man. Character..

Just The Facts

May 25th, 2011
4:38 pm

It’s his business. Lay off the man & tell the goober in L.A. to find something on the left coast to write about. Richt’s a fine man. I wish people would lay off of trying to judge him os much. He doesn’t care about these comments because he lives by faith.

lapdarg

May 25th, 2011
4:41 pm

$3 million a year and his ability to give to charity is limited? Must make some hefty donations.

Will

May 25th, 2011
4:42 pm

If you knew Mark as I do, you would not doubt for a moment his commitment to his beliefs.

That is also why I know how much all the arrests and bad publicity brought upon UGA by a few of his players has hurt well beyond anything to do with football. The disconnect between this sincere gentleman and the behavior of some of his football players has been gut wrenching.

I will not be surprised in the least if Mark eventually walks away from coaching because partly due to this disconnect. Mark and his wife have much bigger and more important “fish to fry” in their world than being a coach and making a lot of money.

Truth Shall Prevail

May 25th, 2011
4:42 pm

Amen Dennis.

Better Dawgs!

May 25th, 2011
4:43 pm

Great Story! Not sure that it needs to be a blogged story, I am sure the dead beats will follow up with some crazy negative blogs. CMR will be the coach at UGA for years to come, mark it down! Football in the big picture of life is nothing. And too, how often do you really use a lake house? They are like pool tables, swimming pools, boats, and motorcyles. Never used.

GBR

May 25th, 2011
4:44 pm

I think Mark Richt has it figured out. I’m not sure about the rest of us.

robodawg

May 25th, 2011
4:44 pm

Bless you, Richt. Proud to have you as our coach. That’s a good book with an important message.

Lee Weber

May 25th, 2011
4:44 pm

Cool post, though. Kudos.

Truth Shall Prevail

May 25th, 2011
4:45 pm

Not a real coach, is he?

When this life is over, he’s going to wear a crown because he cares about God’s least.

D BAG TROLLS!

May 25th, 2011
4:46 pm

Really? All of the above coaches cheat, lie, and steal. That will come to a head soon enough. You missed the point of the story d bag!!!!!! I would guess that you only take from society and never give, there for you would not know what it is like to be humble.

RAMtOUGH

May 25th, 2011
4:50 pm

yOU’D THINK $25 MILL WOULD PUT RICHT IN A ‘POSITON TO GIVE”???????

GATA

May 25th, 2011
4:50 pm

Thank God for CMR! He is the finest coach in America. A true Christian that turns these boys into men.

Einsteindawg

May 25th, 2011
4:54 pm

Just liquididating assets prior to his firing in December. A good man, yes…a $3M coach, no!

bulldog bubba

May 25th, 2011
4:56 pm

A fine coach and a great person.God bless him and his family! GO DOGS – SIC’EM

D BAG TROLLS!

May 25th, 2011
4:57 pm

RAM: I bet you have one friend and you smell weird. Now get back to gaming.

GT79

May 25th, 2011
4:59 pm

I am a Tech alum and fan through and through, but I have always admired Mark Richt and reading this makes this feeling even stronger. Of course, I hope Tech wins on the field, but UGa has a winner as a coach and a man. Nice story out of Athens that is certainly better than reading the latest police blotter on athletes and athletic directors, for that matter. Way to go, Coach.

Jacquigzz

May 25th, 2011
5:01 pm

Unbelievable book that Richt referenced. Well worth the 10-15 bucks you’ll have to pay for it. Nice Job Coach.

JAWJeRDAWG

May 25th, 2011
5:02 pm

Good grief! The negativity towards Coach Richt for wanting to sell his lake house to further allow he and Katharyn to financially contibute to the welfare of humanity and those less fortunate is amazing.

Would that all you who so negatively pose on this blog follow his example in life, the world would be a much better place in which to live.

May God bless you, Richt family, as He has us through them.. Go Dawgs!

DAWGLOVER

May 25th, 2011
5:02 pm

Not a real coach, is he?

You are a complete loon. Georgia is a 50:1 bet to win the BCS next year. Same as the reigning NC Auburn Tigers. Don’t worry, your team still has a shot at 125:1.

Odds to win the 2012 BCS National ChampionshipTeamOdds Oklahoma7/2 Alabama15/2 Florida State10/1 Boise State12/1 LSU12/1 Oregon 14/1 Florida 15/1 Nebraska 18/1 Penn State 20/1 TCU 20/1 Ohio State 20/1 Texas 20/1 Stanford 25/1 Virginia Tech 28/1 Wisconsin 28/1 Notre Dame 30/1 Oklahoma State 30/1 West Virginia 30/1 Arkansas 30/1 Texas A&M 35/1 Michigan State 40/1 Auburn 50/1 Miami 50/1 Mississippi 50/1 Mississippi State 50/1 South Carolina 50/1 Georgia 50/1 Iowa 60/1 Missouri 60/1 Cincinnati 75/1 Michigan 75/1 North Carolina75/1 California100/1 Clemson100/1 Pittsburgh100/1 South Florida100/1 Tennessee100/1 Utah100/1 Arizona100/1 BYU 125/1 Oregon State125/1 Texas Tech125/1 Washington 125/1 Arizona State125/1 Georgia Tech125/1 Kansas State 150/1 Boston College150/1 UCLA 150/1

Monroe

May 25th, 2011
5:04 pm

God bless him. Somebody wake me up when he gives something.

I’m sure most of you people are “glad to have him as your coach.” At least until the next time he has a losing season.

Don4654

May 25th, 2011
5:04 pm

Bama fan here,Coach Richt is a fine man and I hope he is successful at UGA.

tom

May 25th, 2011
5:05 pm

Thanks, Jim. I noticed that too. Not once, but twice.

Sam

May 25th, 2011
5:07 pm

Best coach in the land… He understands his job is about more than wins and loses.

RAMtOUGH

May 25th, 2011
5:07 pm

PERHAPS A SECONDARY REASON RICHT SOLD HIS HOME IS IN CASE HE GETS FIRED?

wally

May 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

As a UGa fan I too have lost respect for Coach Richt when he used the language that he did in Macon. Mark not only needs to ask forgivennss from God, but to all the Bulldog nation. If he is the Christian he says he is he needs to renew his fellowship with God or better said to rededicate his life. I can only wonder if he is a babe in Christ or not even be a Christian at all. I enjoy sports, but all the jargon that goes with it makes me want to give it up altogether. The longer i live I realize there is something greater than winn and loses.

Big Orange

May 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

He’ll probably have to sell another house come November.

UF86

May 25th, 2011
5:08 pm

No like Dawgs, like Richt.

Jeff

May 25th, 2011
5:09 pm

DGD CMR. A shining example for us all.

UGAalum

May 25th, 2011
5:09 pm

I’ve rarely read the UGA blog entries on AJC in over a year due to the Techies, Gators, AU Tigers, etc. that turn tese blogs into sewers. Now I’ve had it with you so-called Dawgs supportes as well!! I’ve had my same 2 season tickets since 1974 and will until I’m gone.

Each one of you can KILO/MIKE/ALPHA!!!!!

Jeff

May 25th, 2011
5:10 pm

You glass house dwellers judging CMR for his getting frustrated and speaking up for himself in Macon need to get a life and drop the rocks.

BuzzGT

May 25th, 2011
5:10 pm

If he thought he was in real trouble he would be selling his home in Athens and keeping the one on the lake. People have trouble relating to someone with his level of faith and desire to share his blessings with others. Maybe this year he will find it in his heart to share some of GA’s top recruits.

Einsteindawg

May 25th, 2011
5:11 pm

@Sam, I disagree. He was hired to win football games, period!

Barkin'Dog

May 25th, 2011
5:12 pm

give it up, wally… give it up

TommyP

May 25th, 2011
5:19 pm

Is “wally” talking about when Richt told the guy, “I know what the hell I’m doing.”??????? That’s “cussing a fan out?”

Wow….wally is an idiot. He used a curse word, he didn’t cuss someone out. And then he apologized for it. (which I wouldn’t have done but Richt felt convicted)

Barkin'Dog

May 25th, 2011
5:20 pm

Get over it, folks. CMR did not curse anyone out, nor use a word that is even considered a curse word anymore. Hell, it’s even in the Bible… many times… what words are there that are considered cursing. Coach was simply making his point in a way most people today need to hear it in order to pay attention. I say, God bless Coach Richt for the man and servant he is, and good luck to you who doubt him.

Tech Fan

May 25th, 2011
5:21 pm

Wow- Good man, ok coach.

ga gator

May 25th, 2011
5:22 pm

He has some haters no doubt but this man is a quality human being that jackasses like Enemas for Christ won’t appreciate until they are begging for water in the after life!

Ace

May 25th, 2011
5:22 pm

5-8 next year, dawggies will call him a bum…

RAMtOUGH

May 25th, 2011
5:23 pm

bE SURE TO GET BY AND VISIT WEST BAY BEACH IN HONDURAS, VOTED TOP 5 BEACH IN THE WORLD, ALSO GREAT SCUBA DIVING.

Barkin'Dog

May 25th, 2011
5:24 pm

Einsteindawg
May 25th, 2011
5:11 pm
@Sam, I disagree. He was hired to win football games, period!

If you’re such a ’smart’dawg, you need to show the world where CMR’s contract states, “win football games, period.” I personally guarantee it is not there… but it does, in fact, state many other responsibilities expected that are far and away more important than just “win football games.” Like graduation, building character, recruiting ethically (within NCAA guidelines), etc. It’s crazies like you who have simple-minded expectations of just “win football games.”

Worm

May 25th, 2011
5:25 pm

Chip, I actually looked at Coach Richt’s brothers’ house in Athens a couple of weeks ago..he’s downsizing as well.

Matthews Dawg

May 25th, 2011
5:25 pm

Wally….I would be careful questioning anyone’s faith! If that is the worse thing CMR has ever done and you question him as to is he a Christian or not, I’m glad you don’t know me! Plus, do you really know Christ yourself? I’m not saying you don’t, but the God I serve forgives all. I would hate to live under legalistic “law” that seems to be what you believe. I’m thankful that I live under grace! God Blesss Mark and his family and I hope he is our HC for years! Go Dawgs!!

Hendu

May 25th, 2011
5:25 pm

His job is to lead and hire men to help him lead 85 scholarship players to a NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. 13 ARRESTS IN 2010. I can find 2000 good Christian men between Lawrenceville and Athens that could do better. There is a preacher in Dacula that has 15,000 people in his congregation and I bet less than 13 got arrested and he did it for far less than 3 million.

It is amazing that God only asks for 10% but Adams and Richt want their followers to be taxed more.

Can’t wait to get a “sinner” that wins some games.

Lamer

May 25th, 2011
5:26 pm

Do you know why they’re called “curse words”? Because people used to believe certain words caused curses. It’s 2011. Time to move past old superstitions. Words are just words. Combinations of letters that forms sounds that hold mutually agreed upon meaning.