Mark Richt is nearly 1,400 miles away from the Georgia Bulldogs practice field this week, touring impoverished areas of Honduras served by the Christian charity, World Vision International. It is his third visit to Honduras, but the first time any media has accompanied him. This week we will be providing daily postcards, as a coach views the world beyond the narrow focus of football. Look for an in-depth report on this other side of Richt – one far removed from the gaudy excesses of big-time college football – in Sunday’s AJC.
On the road to La Esperanza:
Sunday, Mark Richt celebrated Father’s Day at his Lake Hartwell home, enjoying the place while he can. That’s the same $2 million home he put up for sale in May, after deciding there were far more egalitarian uses for his money than supporting a second home.
Twenty-four hours later, he was flying into the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. Monday was a big travel day before visiting some of World Vision’s projects in the mountainous western part of the country.
Coach, you’re definitely not in the gated community any more.
Both at a restaurant where the Richt party had lunch and at a rest stop along the way, private security guards with shotguns patrolled the parking lots. (Armed guards are a common sight here wherever the public gathers).
The four-hour drive from the capital to La Esperanza wound through areas where shacks clung to the hillsides in defiance of Newton’s Laws. The road alternated between paved and unpaved. Our little caravan of three SUVs came to halt several times when the road narrowed to one lane, and another time to yield to a small group of wandering cattle.
There is one upside to this locale, as far as Richt can tell. Soon enough, he will be immersed in football. Here, he doesn’t have to be.
Will there be any Bulldogs business transacted this week, he is asked.
“Depends if they can get hold of me or not,” he said. “Maybe I’ll work on something schematic if it’s on my mind.”
We will update if the coach begins sketching plays in the Honduran dust.
– Steve Hummer