Rewind: Mark Richt heads south on mission to Honduras


We have officially entered the dog days of summer as Georgia’s football coaches are trying to squeeze in a little vacation before the grind of recruiting evaluations and preseason preparation cranks up in earnest the first of July.

Georgia coach Mark Richt is putting his words into action this week. (AP photo)

Georgia coach Mark Richt is putting his words into action this week. (AP photo)

Georgia coach Mark Richt has, in fact, left the country. He and his wife Katharyn have embarked on a Christian mission to Honduras with the World Vision organization. You may recall my report late last month that Richt, after reading the World Vision book “The Hole in the Gospel,” decided to sell his $2 million Lake Hartwell property and use some of the proceeds to help the extremely impoverished. This trip is a result of that decision.

In the meantime, AJC reporter Steve Hummer is following the Richts on their five-day adventure to Central America. Hummer will be filing daily reports that you’ll be able to read here on and he will chronicle the whole trip in a story that will run in the Sunday paper. So stay tuned for that.

In the meantime, the Georgia football team remains in full grind under the watchful eye of strength and conditioning coordinator Joe Tereshenski Jr. Their voluntary workouts remain closed and Tereshinski is declining interviews until “sometime after July 4th.” But I happened to run into him over the weekend and I’ll just say he has been working the Bulldogs extremely hard and has some very positive reports about what they’ve been doing.

UGA golfers draw some notice

All eyes in golf have been on Rory McIlroy as the young Irishman annihilated the field in record-setting fashion at the U.S. Open. But some Georgia golfers were also making names for themselves this past weekend.

Recent UGA graduate Russell Henley made some new fans in the galleries at Congressional when he shot out to 4-under at one point on Saturday and made a run at low amateur on Sunday. He had some late struggles and wound up second among amateurs at 4-over, which tied for 42nd. But he pulled off some amazing shots and won the hearts of many golf fans in the process.

“Coming down the 18th, the sides were just filled with people and everybody stood up and clapped for me,” the 22-year-old amateur told John Boyette of the Augusta Chronicle. “It’s something I’ll remember for a long time. It was loud. Yeah, I hit some shots and had a decent tournament. But that was a beautiful moment.”

Also, former Bulldog and upstart pro Christo Greyling made the cut and got his dream pairing on Sunday as he played with Phil Mickelson. He finished in a tie for 68th at 13-over-par.

Meanwhile, UGA’s Bryden Macpherson won the British Amateur on Saturday and qualified for the British Open and The Masters in the process. He beat American Michael Stewart 3 & 2 in the 36-hole final.

Macpherson, a rising junior at Georgia, became only the second Australian to win a British Am. He joined Doug Bachli, who last did it in 1954.

“I can’t believe it just yet,” Macpherson said afterward. “It feels pretty good to bridge the gap of 57 years. I hope there are a few proud Aussies having a barbecue.”

Macpherson is the second Bulldog to win the British Am. Vinny Giles did it in 1975.

Big weekend for JT

Hope you got to see our coverage of Johnathan Taylor’s special weekend with the Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers at Turner Field. The Bulldogs’ injured center fielder was recently drafted by the Rangers and joined fellow draftee/teammate Zach Cone and another Texas selection for an introductory news conference at the ballpark on Saturday.

Cone is, of course, the teammate with whom Taylor collided while trying to catch a line drive early this past season. Taylor ended up with a broken neck and — for now at least — confined to a wheelchair. But according to a column by Jeff Schultz and a story by AJC reporter Meghan Rose, Taylor fully intends to play baseball again. As Schultz wrote, he has truly become an inspiration for us all.

‘Slon’ called in as Bulldog Club chief

Mark Slonaker was named the new executive director of the Georgia Bulldog Club by AD Greg McGarity this past Friday. I’ve known “Slon,” as he’s known to pretty much everybody, since he was an assistant for former UGA basketball coach Hugh Durham in the 1980s. And this is an exciting move for him.

Slonaker returned to UGA, his alma mater, in 2008 to work in the development office after he was dismissed as Mercer’s head basketball coach. Since then he has been raising money for the university on the West Coast. But this gets him back fully involved with athletic department.

Georgia actually hasn’t had a full-time director of the Bulldog Club since Loran Smith retired several years ago. Dave Muia, most recently, handled the duties therein as a special alumni relations consultant for the AD the past couple of years. But the position has been reactivated and broadened in scope under McGarity.

“I’ll be doing a lot of fund raising and friend raising,” Slonaker told me. “What I want to do is, I want all the people who support Georgia athletics to look at the athletic program and see value in it in their eyes and want to be invested in it. Whether it be a season ticket holder or a naming opportunity or whatever it is, I want them to look at the University of Georgia and say ‘it’s worthwhile and I want to support it.’”

It’s a perfect fit for Slonaker, who has also served as color commentator on Georgia men’s basketball radio broadcasts the last two seasons. Slonaker has always been active in the administrative side of athletics, serving as a de facto assistant AD for Bobby Pope at Mercer and even teaching sports management as an adjunct professor.

“I always envisioned that I wouldn’t coach until I was 65-70,” Slon said. “I always thought by my mid to late 50s I’d move into athletic administration. I’ve always prepared myself for that.

Slonaker doesn’t officially start until July 11 but he’ll get to wear his new Bulldog Club hat on Thursday when he M.C.’s a UGA Day event in Denver.

94 comments Add your comment

Ray Pugh

June 20th, 2011
12:26 pm

Ray Pugh

June 20th, 2011
12:30 pm

I am ready for some COLLEGE SEC FOOTBALL!!!!!


June 20th, 2011
12:45 pm

Joe T is going to bring back the Junkyard Dawgs…. I hope.


June 20th, 2011
12:49 pm

I think it’s great news. Richt need to get back to being who he is, and I believe THIS is a sign that the weight of carrying the last AD is being lifted.


June 20th, 2011
1:03 pm

UGA Alumnus is right. Honduras is in Central America. I’ve been there twice in association with Red Bank Baptist Church of Red Bank, TN and the Honduras Dental Mission. Coach Richt is doing a great service.

Ole Roy Barnes

June 20th, 2011
1:07 pm

Why didn’t you morons vote for me?
I want to be Governor again!

Indian Dawg

June 20th, 2011
1:18 pm

Paul Johnson will take that phone, Weiner. Lewd pics and all.


June 20th, 2011
1:19 pm

Why doesnt Paul Johnson go on mission trips? He might punch somebody in the face

Indian Dawg

June 20th, 2011
1:21 pm

Kudos, DAWG MAN. Kudos.

Barking Dawg 79

June 20th, 2011
1:27 pm

Have never understood why Richt and others go all the way to Honduras for Christian Mission trips when he could drive to poor areas of Atlanta and help so many kids in his own backyard.


June 20th, 2011
1:35 pm

How do you know he doesn’t?


June 20th, 2011
1:43 pm

Yellow Jacket89, since you’re playing grammar police today let me correct you. It’s journalism school not “journalist school”. But that’s okay. I’m sure you call it “doctor school” instead of medical school. THWGT

Dawg Gone

June 20th, 2011
1:50 pm

@Barking Dawg 79 I think it might have to do with the idea that in most of the “poor” areas of Atlanta there are a lot of opportunities for one to help ones self. In Central America not so much…


June 20th, 2011
1:52 pm

Actually it is a recruiting trip. Hush Hush top secret. A 450 lb. defensive tackle that eats quarterbacks has been brought to Richt`s attention.

Auburn has already offered 250,000 for the young man to the elders in the city.

Jan Kemp's Ghost

June 20th, 2011
1:56 pm

Correction….UGA does not have a Journalism School…only a small English/Literature Department. We teach English as a 2nd language.

UGA job is to produce Championship football teams. Currently they are failing in that also; nevertheless, UGA is light years ahead of GT.


June 20th, 2011
1:56 pm

It’s also possible that there are one or two wealthy areas in Atlanta. Hey, there’s an idea!

Roll Tide with Pride!!!

June 20th, 2011
1:57 pm

Richt is a good man – if you think the poor live in Atlanta – you should go to Honduras.

Our poor have access to medical, welfare, foodstamps, housing and an education if they are so inclined to pursue. As a matter of fact, it is so easy to exist in this mannner – there is hardly any motivation to move up. However, go a 3rd world central american nation – you will see what being poor is all about – not what seeing lifestyle choice is all about.

As for Richt – good for him – meanwhile, Saban is finishing up our target recruits from the state of Georgia. We target, we recruit, we pull them in – and Georgia and Auburn get whatever we do not need.

Actually – I wish UGA an SEC East Title this year – and hope to be playing against UGA in the Dome come December.

Bob Neal

June 20th, 2011
2:00 pm

Attention LarryvilleDawg,

I bet you thought that UGA degree would get you out of your parent’s basement. Too bad you did not decide to attend a true institution of higher learner and develop marketable skills.


June 20th, 2011
2:02 pm

Barking Dawg 79 A lot of people feel that way. Usually mission trips are spent building or fortifying churches in impoverished areas. There is a church every ten blocks in Atlanta. You don’t have to hike for miles to hear the gospel in the inner city.


June 20th, 2011
2:03 pm

don’t made fun of my skool. uga is fine school. i gaduated from there in 1978


June 20th, 2011
2:04 pm

Indian Dawg, I believe you were looking for the Geographers School. Right down from the Socialist School.

Chip Towers

June 20th, 2011
2:07 pm

OoltewahDawg, UGA Alumnus, others: Duly noted and changed accordingly. You’re right, geography not my strongsuit!


June 20th, 2011
2:10 pm

Is this blog still reserved for jock sniffers that live in their parents basement?

the future unfolds before our eyes....

June 20th, 2011
2:16 pm

CMR is selling all to the poor and going to serve jesus.

I don’t say that mockingly, I just say that because that’s what’s fixing to happen.

The man is a missionary not a football coach….and the sooner he comes to that realization, the better off everyone will be. when you see the kind of stuff that he is rubbing his nose in down there, it’s hard to see how winning football games is so important.

He is guily of trying to lead through love…..and unfortunately, these spoiled brat athletes need a boot in the butt-which is why Satan and Urban Legend’s methods work so well.

don’t be suprised if a “retirement” is in the works so that he can go serve the greater good.


June 20th, 2011
2:21 pm

So Bob Neal, exactly what is an institute of higher “learner”? Thanks for teeing that one up there, bud. Too easy!

Charlie Hayes

June 20th, 2011
2:22 pm

CMR is the best coach that you will ever see at UGA. He will win the Nat Title within the next three (3) years and will be a long tenured coach at UGA that will be greatly respected and cherished. I graduated from UGA with a degree in Program Management. I work for a software company that employees around 900 engineers. About 30% of those engineers are from GT. I can promise you that engineers from GT are not anywehere close to the talent of engineers that graduate from Vandy! I work with engineers that graduated from Stanford, MIT, Vandy, Clemson, UGA and GT. GT is a bunch of overrated engineers that have zero common sense! I enjoy every day inflicting pure pain on the GT engineers in my projects! Go Dawgs!


June 20th, 2011
2:28 pm

People who think the poor in Honduras are no worse off than those in Atlanta need to go there. My son has been there with the Luke Society surgical team. The Luke Society is their only medical care. They get none the other 50 weeks per year.


June 20th, 2011
2:29 pm

What’s the big deal with Richt going to Honduras. My son and grandson are also there this week with 26 other members of a Methodist church. They were also there last year. I guess he needs some good publicity from the AJC.


June 20th, 2011
2:32 pm

While Richt is planning his 2nd career in Honduras, what are Saban, Miles, and Muschamp doing?


June 20th, 2011
2:34 pm

I really don’t understand why Richt doesn’t pursue Missions on a full time basis. That has always seemed to be a passion of his. It just doesn’t seem like football is as much of a passion to him as it once was. It kind of seems to me that Richt has been on autopilot the last few years and his focus is elsewhere. I would much prefer for Richt to step down as opposed to being forced out, which is what will happen if the results on the field don’t improve. Christian outreach seems to be something that really turns him on, and Coach Richt certainly has the luxury financially to pursue that passion. Coach Richt has been a fine representative for our university, but as much as I hate to say it: this team is a LONG way off from being a contender. Despite what most of the fan-base thinks, UGA is not just one or two players away from competing for a national title. This is a team that lacks depth and talent in several areas, and it will take tons of work on and off the field for the next 2-3 years to get back to where the program was in the mid-2000’s. And I’m just not sure Coach Richt is hungry enough for that challenge. Personally, I think Richt should move on and become a missionary, while McGarity hires a completely new staff and starts over. I honestly think that a fresh start is something this program desperately needs.


June 20th, 2011
2:35 pm

Like I said……hitters are alot more streaky than pitchers, hot September in A T L for the Braves and Dawgs. Yall know ya love it!


June 20th, 2011
2:35 pm

Charlie Hayes — are they actual Engineers or that “Engineering Hygeine” (Arts?) or whatever they instituted in order to have their athletes actually get a degree? They probable just write unintelligible essays about how they feel about the impacts of engineering projects on some “underrepresented” or victimized “group”…

Indian Dawg

June 20th, 2011
2:36 pm

AltamahaDawg, I’m a little confused what post of mine you were referring to. Clarify?

Indian Dawg

June 20th, 2011
2:39 pm

I don’t think it matters where you go for a mission trip. A good deed is a good deed, no matter where you are in the world.


June 20th, 2011
2:40 pm

I’m proud of Coach Richt for walking the walk.

Now he has to win 9 or 10 games at least to stay employed.

I hope he pulls it off.

Can’t wait for the opener.

Father Flanagan Boys Home

June 20th, 2011
2:41 pm

Its time for Mark Richt to come home and turn the reins over to a football coach who can win UGA a MNC..


June 20th, 2011
2:42 pm

To the ones on here wanting to knock CMR for going on a mission trip and say why does he not stay in the US, My question to you would be, “What are you doing to help serve the orphans or widows?” Just asking! Most that knock his missionary trips have never done anything in their life to help another community or human for that matter.
CMR is a man of character and a class act! I for one, hopes he turns our mess around this year because I would like to see him as the HC for many years. I pulling for him! Go Dawgs!


June 20th, 2011
2:46 pm

Chip, next time you run into Richt ask him if he has read any football books or what he’s done learning wise now that his time has been freed up to study football.


June 20th, 2011
2:48 pm

Mark Richt talks the talk and walks the walk.


June 20th, 2011
2:55 pm

I could eat these words later but, I have been predicting this for quite awhile.

I believe 2011 will be the “Year of the Good Guy” in college football.

I’m predciting big years from guys like

Mack Brown
Brady Hoke
Kirk Ferentz
Chris Peterson(not the opener :) )
Jimbo fisher

The only exception to this might be the overall SEC champion(my predction) -Petrino at Arkansas. But even he doesn’t pay players or commit NCAA violations. He just made a big mistake in going pro although he definitely needs lessons in how to leave a job.

From My iPhone

June 20th, 2011
3:22 pm

Bob Neal, you may be Butt Ugly Yellow Jacket but your Mama’s a Dog!


June 20th, 2011
3:23 pm

Whoever said UGA doesn’t have a journalism school might want to think before typing…

I got it

June 20th, 2011
3:27 pm

UGA can always find another football coach, but guys with a heart like Richt’s don’t come along every day. He needs to retire from coaching and devote himself to serving the poor full-time.
Most of the people I’ve met who call themselves “Christians” have been small-minded, selfish and full of b.s.
I have never seen any of these traits in Richt. If he’s not careful, he could actually begin to emulate the life of Christ, and end up making all the other fake-Christian Conservative a-holes in Georgia look like even more of an hypocritical joke than they already do. GO Coach Richt! and GO Dawgs!

I got it

June 20th, 2011
3:31 pm

No, BG.
Mark Richt simply “walks the walk.”
People who “talk the talk” are self-righteous butt plugs (even if they also happen to “walk the walk”), and Mark has never been that.
also, I’m pretty sure “talking the talk” would be an NCAA violation since UGA has a public charter.

tide roll

June 20th, 2011
3:34 pm

Well said, ugaclassof2004. But it’s going to be extremely tough for Richt to step down and give up, what, $250,000.00/month ! I think you’re right about Richt. But it’s not just his religious calling that may be taking precedent. He missed a Saturday practice in August last year to go watch his son play in North Carolina somewhere. That may seem justifiable to some, but I can promise you, the UGA athletes that were out there that day noticed the absence big time,and, like you, could not help but question how truly dedicated Richt was to them and the program. It seems as if Richt’s mode of operation is to do as little as posilble while remaining on this incredible gravy train. It seems to work best by continually being in a “rebuilding mode”. Whether it’s breaking in a new Quarterback, or changing coaches, or defensive formations, or the philosophy of the strength and conditioning program, or bringing in a “dream team” consisting mainly of true freshman who will not be ready until a future date, to finally having to rebuild depleted depth in the offensive line. It seems it’s always something. But there’s a method to the madness. Richt is able to stay on the train,as ya’ll constantly look to the future. “Once Murray has some experience”, ” Thank God Willie’s gone”,”Wait till Joe T. gets through with these guys”. “It takes a year to figure out the 3-4″ and so on. One year isn’t a long time relatively speaking, but for Mark Richt it means another $2.8 million. .String enough of those together, and you can buy Hondurus, much less go on a mission there.

Tech fan

June 20th, 2011
3:36 pm

Does it matter if it’s a home mission or foreign mission (or hartwell/oconee)? Coach Richt seems to be doing what he evidently feels called to do. Good for him!

Concrete Pete

June 20th, 2011
3:36 pm

Barking Dawg 79, you have a great question, but I’m sure under the moronic NCAA laws, if Richt did inner city work and helped kids it would be a recruiting violation.

Joe T

June 20th, 2011
3:38 pm

Roll Tide with Pride!!! — hmmmm how did that work for you last year. The one big recruit you pulled might not even be eligible….hmmmmm….keeping wishing in one hand and @Q$# in the other and see which one fills up first.


June 20th, 2011
3:43 pm

still wondering why tide roll is so obsessed with UGA.

My guess is he either:

1.) works for the AJC and is paid to generate blog hits


2.) some UGA football player stole his girlfriend years ago and he never got over it

Either it’s one of those or he got caught up in the Jan Kemp stuff while trying to play football at UGA and ended up having to transfer to a weaker academic school like Alabama.


June 20th, 2011
3:51 pm

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