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

dawgster

May 25th, 2011
6:32 pm

Well it didn’t take long for the classless idiots on here (SSlgator and others) to make negative comments about Coach Richt…SSlgator, you especially I just don’t get…Can a person really be as classless of a “Jerk that you are” ..You hid behind the comfort of your computer and spew out out negative comments at every word…How you can sleep and post some of the stuff you do is beyond comprehension…Maybe you lead such a sad life that this is all you have….I do feel for you and others that seem to be angry or just plain hateful to others for no apparent reason…

This is not about football wins or loses and I can promise you that our good Lord cares nothing about wins or loses on the football field…but thats your choice to live with….AS some others have noted, I also know the man and his family and see his father-n-law quite often…If want to question his Coaching, thats fine, but when you attack him and his family for their beliefs, says something about the person making those remarks…Think about that before you send out a blog comment..Would you want the same for your family, and please don’t bring up the amount of money he makes, the article is about a Man that feels led to make a difference in lives where he can…Many more of us should consider how fortunate we are and do more, and I include myself in that too….go dawgs and Coach Richt

BG

May 25th, 2011
6:33 pm

All I can say is wow. Coach Richt is a fine man and a heck of a ball coach!

cletusdawg

May 25th, 2011
6:33 pm

“Enemas for Christ” has to be an “unforgiveable sin” or close to it. No one gets to heaven except through Jesus Christ. It’s gonna be hot where you’re going my friend.

51WTGW50

May 25th, 2011
6:36 pm

Coach Richt buy a bunch of Ipods and Cellphones. You can have a recruiting weekend. Just watch all the poor players you are thinking about giving a scholarship too steal all the GIFTS. You will be helping the POOR, and the NCAA will not call them Gifts.

buzzDawg

May 25th, 2011
6:36 pm

The Dawgs are truly blessed to have a coach like Mark Richt. He is absolutely correct in his priorities. Winning is important but it can never be the number one goal. I have never doubted Richt’s ability as a coach and I believe this is going to be a great year for the Dawgs. It sounds like a great book so I just ordered one off Amazon.

I don't think so

May 25th, 2011
6:38 pm

He will be lucky to get 700k for his Lake Hartwell home. I live a few houses up from his and let me say that selling price is way off. On the same street, with a similar home on 40 acres just sold for 1.9 million. Mark’s home is on maybe 2 acres. But not to worry…he was given the land by a local man and most of the building materials were donated. He should walk away with a wheelbarrow full of cash that he can donate.

art

May 25th, 2011
6:39 pm

Another religious freak. Didn’t they learn anything from the rapture that didn’t happen? I have lost a lot of respect for Richt and didn’t have much to begin with.

GOLDNWIHITE

May 25th, 2011
6:45 pm

Love Mark Richt and hate uga, but he makes it hard to root against them. Well, except for one Saturday in November :) He’s a fine man. UGA has a good one. He loves Jesus and that’s fine with me. Go Jackets!

I don't think so

May 25th, 2011
6:45 pm

My bad…That similar Harwell lake home on 40 acres actually sold for 1.1 million not 1.9 million….it tough even on the lake..

Todd Cripe

May 25th, 2011
6:49 pm

y’all are missing the point of the story. Read the Hole in our Gospel, it’s about the portions of the Bible we’d like to pretend aren’t there, because they interfere with how we want to live our lives. Powerful stuff to make you think about how you view the world around you.

Bullgator

May 25th, 2011
6:50 pm

All of this means nothing! Richt can not win the big one. No Nat champ in over 30 years, SEC champ only every 10 years. The SEC top tier all have recent Nat Champ but no UGA. UGA, Richt is going to take you all of the way down to the bottom!

Nick

May 25th, 2011
6:54 pm

One correction, Mettenberger finished his 12 months of probation on May 5, 2011, and was completely cleared of all charges, his record is 100% clear. No charges are currently against him.

Jake

May 25th, 2011
6:55 pm

That is one good man. God bless him.

SugarHillDawg

May 25th, 2011
6:55 pm

buzzdawg, you couldn’t be more WRONG.He is/was hired to win games PERIOD!Let him go work with FCA and leave the coaching to someone who has his priorities in order.

Nick

May 25th, 2011
6:58 pm

Also, Ealey wasn’t liked by his fellow players? Cite proof. Never heard that one before. Also, where did Richt say Mettenberger “lied’ to him? cITE THE PROOF. Why did Saban & Miles offer Mettenberger a scholarship if he had “issues”? You make no sense. And imply Saban & Miles are dumb, and you’re smarter.

Return to Glory

May 25th, 2011
7:02 pm

Good man, makes all this football talk look small minded.
Go CMR and Go Dawgs.

Art the fact you have little respect for CMR speaks volumes about your ( lack of) character.
The large majority of Christians knew the rapture date and time claim was a hoax. Scripture plainly states no man knows the day or time.

jdawgs34

May 25th, 2011
7:02 pm

Having been going for 47 yrs to games, and now to most all of them, Mark Richt has shown me that he is a class act. I was reading about Jake Scott and the tie with Houston, and really over the years does it really matter. Yes, I want to win, win, and win big. Not much on here about Graduation rates and the big picture. I promise, whether he leaves or stays, he is at the top of my list….

JAWJeRDAWG

May 25th, 2011
7:02 pm

This article pointedly shows how the best in one man can bring out the worst in others. .. Go Dawgs!

Bill B

May 25th, 2011
7:04 pm

To “Not a real coach, is he?”: You say that “Richt represents mediocrity. Saban and Miles and Spurrier and other represent excellence and championships. Richt simply isn’t in their class, nor will he ever be. Richt would have to be incredibly lucky to win the division, and the odds against him winning the SEC championship would be at least 100:1.

Saban cheats, Miles is a lucky buffoon, and Spurrier has averaged 6 win seasons since he was run out of the NFL and started coaching at SC. That’s you definition of excellence? And I don’t know where you get the 100:1 odds of his winning the SEC. The oddsmakers have him between 30:1 and 50:1to win the NC.

gernblanski

May 25th, 2011
7:05 pm

Surely Brooks Melchior would know better than 2 suggest that a potentially firing is not the only possible reason that Richt could be selling the house? After all it he is not unfamiliar with the program – he went to UGA and walked on the team as kicker. He even took Coach Hartman’s advice to heart!

Class of 93

May 25th, 2011
7:06 pm

Not a real coach is he?

Are you giving odds on us winning the SEC at 100 to 1? I’ll gladly take that action.

don bozeman

May 25th, 2011
7:22 pm

I am a dyed-in– the wool yellow jacket, but I applaud Coach Richt for his efforts to alleviate suffering around the world. Would that more would follow his example.

Poopdawg

May 25th, 2011
7:22 pm

Techster , Buzzdawg good posts. I can remember during my days at UGA there was 6 friends watching Tech play the Soviet National basketball team. Needless to say we were pulling for the Soviets. I tried to explain to my friends how wrong we were. Not one understood my argument. Go Dawgs and go Tech.

Saint Richt

May 25th, 2011
7:26 pm

now that’s funny………

Poopdawg

May 25th, 2011
7:26 pm

Nick , Mett did not tell Richt about groping the chick in Valdosta. Sounds like he probably did not remember it among other things. Sexual misconduct charge sunk Mett. Initially only the underage drinking and false ID were known.

Pennski

May 25th, 2011
7:27 pm

I hate UGA, but Coach Richt is a class act. Great job Coach.

Buster

May 25th, 2011
7:29 pm

I think eventually you bloggers are going to have to eliminate the Comment sections!

5 stars equals 7 losses and 11 arrest

May 25th, 2011
7:37 pm

there will be a for sale sign in his house in Athens come December

BigEC

May 25th, 2011
7:38 pm

SSI gator – Is that where you live or what you draw?

He's a goner

May 25th, 2011
7:41 pm

He’ll be gone by December, but he’s still a good man.

resolutewealth5

May 25th, 2011
7:44 pm

I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, http://BidsWork.com

KSUAlum

May 25th, 2011
7:49 pm

If you want to preach, Mark, go preach. If you want to do mission work, fine, go do it. More power to you. But we Georgia fans would love it if you’d put as much effort into making this football program better as you do being a good Christian. For $3 million a year, it’s the least you could do for us.

UGA 93

May 25th, 2011
7:53 pm

KSUAum……. I could not agree more

Nick

May 25th, 2011
7:53 pm

Poverty is a much more complicated issue than sending a check to World Vision and spending a few days in Honduras. In most countries, poverty will remain as long as infrastructure (lie roads/electricity) lacks or corruption in government lingers (Dictators do not like for people to start new businesses as they prefer monopolies). Then all you need is the know how, there is enough know how in the U.S., that other countries could dramatically improve just by emulating the U.S know how. U.S., Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark, all have infrastructure and a generally not corrupt government, and all have plenty of know how. But they are unusual.

UGA 93

May 25th, 2011
7:57 pm

Like I said before he can have a huge Christian influence on his own players and staff. Furthermore if he spent more effort on the X’s and O’s of football and life with the team he would win more games and championships and his message would be ten fold stronger.

dawginduluth

May 25th, 2011
8:02 pm

If only he knew how to coach….

Nick

May 25th, 2011
8:04 pm

7:26 May 25 poster

If you continue to falsely slander Zack Mettenberger on this blog, I will report you directly to the AJC Editor.

Mettenberger was given 12 months of probation over a year ago and 80 hours of community work. Once those 2 were fulfilled, ALL CHARGES against Mettenberger are CLEARED. Mettenberger has NOTHING on his record.

Stop slandering this kid.

drbasic1

May 25th, 2011
8:08 pm

KSUALUM

you sir are a moron and you certainly do not speak for all us DAWG fans

USMC DAWG

May 25th, 2011
8:09 pm

I appreciate Richt and his principals and beliefs, but I’m almost willing to accept Satan reincarnate if it means getting us another SEC Championship and BCS title shot.

brock

May 25th, 2011
8:09 pm

I do not share Richt’s religious beliefs, but that does not stop me from admiring his sincerity in his own. Great story about a great man.

West Coast Dawg

May 25th, 2011
8:09 pm

I don’t have a problem with Richt the man. With Richt the coach, I have a ton.
Please, keep the two separate because they are. Would it make him a better coach if he contributed more money to charities? I don’t think so. Why do you guys? Come up with another poor season and his being a good man and one who contributes to charity won’t be a factor. Lack of an SEC E championship at the least will figure heavily in whether Richt has to sell his other home.

UGA 93

May 25th, 2011
8:10 pm

drbasic1 all we are saying is stay home and spend your efforts her. Spread the good word here to the players who you know need it. Do not go on mission trips every summer while other head coaches are making game plans and studying film. Send as much money as you want to overseas. I know it is needed. But wait until you are done coaching to go save the world. His time is best spent coaching the players and mentoring them to be better men.

bad brad

May 25th, 2011
8:11 pm

I could add, God bless you Mark Richt, but He already has.

[...] was actually compelled to do this much earlier," Richt told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I made the decision to do it a while ago but I didn’t want to do it during the season [...]

don't trust world vision

May 25th, 2011
8:16 pm

be careful with this charity…they prey on old folks – Richt can tell the difference but some can’t.

Actually

May 25th, 2011
8:22 pm

Wow! It amazes me how many people can turn a wonderful act by a wonderful family into hateful, negative, crap. If more people had just a smidgen of the heart that the Richt family had, the world certainly be a lot better place. We’re talking about a family that adopted two children, one with a deformity. Of course, the world has always had it’s share of haters and losers. After all, the son of God was crucified! Anyone who can criticize Richt on this needs to look in a mirror. You just might see the Devil!

truthbetold

May 25th, 2011
8:22 pm

Richt promised to study more football! WTF

Chip is an agitator

May 25th, 2011
8:25 pm

Shame on you Chip Towers for using such an emotionally charged lead in to your column. I do not like Richt as the head football coach at UGA because I do not believe he has the desire to win the big games. But, Chip you wrongly characterized your conversation with Richt and created ill will toward the man for no good reason.

The title of this article is misleading. Nowhere is Richt quoted as saying his listing of his property for sale has anything to do with religion or being a christian. Richt simply says he wants to downsize his expenses allowing him to donate more to charity.

Change the title to “Mark Richt says decision to sell Lake Hartwell property was philanthropy motivated” and this blog would not have degenerated into such a cesspool………….well, hopefully at least not quite as quickly as it did.

dragon

May 25th, 2011
8:25 pm

As a GT fan, all applause to Coach Mark on this call….although i wonder how it takes any Christian that long to get to that perspective. It reminds me of that adage, “He’s smart enough to be a football coach, and dumb enough to think it matters.”

NewbombTurk

May 25th, 2011
8:31 pm

Richt represents mediocrity. Saban and Miles and Spurrier and other represent excellence and championships.”

Saban, Miles, and Spurrier may represent championships, but they damn sure don’t represent excellence or class. I’ll take Richt’s heart and class over the championships of those a-holes any day of the week.