Postcard from Honduras: UGA football’s reach extends to Latin America

Georgia football coach Mark Richt greets school children at La Buena Nueva (The New Life) School during his visit to Honduras. (AJC photo by Steve Hummer/steve@ajc.com)

Georgia football coach Mark Richt greets school children at La Buena Nueva (The New Life) School during his visit to Honduras. (AJC photo by Steve Hummer/steve@ajc.com)

POSTCARD FROM HONDURAS

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 AJC reporter Steve Hummer will be providing daily postcards as the Bulldogs’ 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.

La Esperanza , Honduras – Tuesday’s wake-up call was a rooster, a persistent pest outside the hotel that began calling in the new day at 4:30 a.m. Its constant crowing kept Richt awake the rest of the morning – making it the second most troublesome gamecock, just behind Steve Spurrier.

Nowhere, it seems, is completely out of range of SEC football. Even Latin America . As Richt sat down to breakfast, a South Carolina man here on another church mission handed the coach his cell phone and said, “Here, talk to my wife; she won’t believe me that Mark Richt is here.”

He wasn’t there long. The day was heavily booked. Richt, his wife and their World Vision traveling party were venturing into the countryside to inspect several of the charity’s projects.

They visited two schools around the small town of Yamaranguila and an assembly in town to jumpstart an election in which children run for a position that will control one percent of the town budget.

Then off to a farm cooperative that has grown through the help of so-called micro-loans from World Vision.

One child at the first stop caught Richt’s attention. Selvin Garcia is a bright 11-year-old boy, small for his age but with an oversized personality. With a handmade scale model of his town, Garcia explained how the charity’s projects had improved life there.

At one point, Richt quietly told the boy in a language he couldn’t understand: “You’re going to be a special young man – with God’s help.”

Through an interpreter, young Selvin later said that he thinks he might have even seen Richt’s Bulldogs play some American football. No interpretation was needed for just how that could be:

“ESPN,” he said clearly.

– Steve Hummer

90 comments Add your comment

Mobile Dawg

June 21st, 2011
9:01 pm

ESPN in Hondouras? I thought they were impoverished.

Victorious Sakrete

June 21st, 2011
9:21 pm

Yo Mobile, they are impoverished in Hahira too, but they still get ESPN.

Willy

June 21st, 2011
9:54 pm

Come on, everybody knows Richt is just down there to recruit kids….

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Timmy Dog

June 21st, 2011
10:22 pm

This is nice but it’s not sports. Are we really going to be bored with updates on this trip?

JC

June 21st, 2011
10:24 pm

Can you (trolls) please just let it rest? The man is using his VACATION to help others in need. If you don’t have anything positive to say, please just go to another site.

JC

June 21st, 2011
10:27 pm

Timmy, I agree it’s not sports…but sometimes it is nice to get away from it for a minute. If you are bored with these updates, then don’t read them.

Ellen

June 21st, 2011
10:40 pm

Exactly JC! No one is forcing anyone to read the articles about the trip. Richt is a major SPORTS figure in this state, so makes perfect sense to have these stories here. If we have to read about arrests and drug use by athletes on the sports page, why not a positive story like this one?

DanMullen

June 21st, 2011
10:43 pm

Good to see Coach geting used to what he will be doing after he is fired at the end of the season. Way to focus on keepng your job Mark. I will be waiting at the end of the year to take your position. Remember Mcgarity and I are close from our days at Floriduh!!!!

Dawgs42toTech's34

June 21st, 2011
10:45 pm

GATA CMR! You’re doing God’s work whether it’s in Honduras or stomping the wreck once again on the gridiron!

Class of 93

June 21st, 2011
11:16 pm

I hope all donating ticket holders read this and call Greg McGarity to inform him that previous donations to UGA athletics will now be sent to World Vision Ministries.

Class of 93

June 21st, 2011
11:23 pm

World Vision Ministries: Donate the money that you hedonistly spent on Georgia football tickets to our worthy charity.

NewnanDawg

June 21st, 2011
11:25 pm

It’s great that CMR allowed the media to come along; lots of publicity for World Vision. My own church has a medical missionary in Honduras and I admire the determination it takes to follow through on a calling that takes you so far out of most people’s “comfort zone.” Continued prayers for all those making a difference here at home and abroad.
Go Dawgs! Be proud of the man who is the head football coach for his accomplishments both on and off the field!

Very Old Dawg

June 21st, 2011
11:30 pm

Victorious Sakrete:

That was a really funny comment. I’m still laughing.

Thanks

Paul in RDU

June 21st, 2011
11:33 pm

Glad to see that CMR is using his name and time to try to provide help to people who desperately need it.

KP

June 21st, 2011
11:35 pm

It is sad most care more about a dumb game called…. Football. Our created purpose in life is to take the gospel to all nations, not win games! Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matt 28

dawg from a distance

June 22nd, 2011
12:06 am

AWESOME ministry Coach. Keep up the great work you are making an eternal impact! May God bless you with His favor and may many lives be eternaly changed.

GO DAWGS!

Dumb Jean shorts

June 22nd, 2011
12:17 am

The negative comments above are idiotic, you folks really need help. I’m serious. Really, get help please. You hurt our country, move to Honduras.

CD

June 22nd, 2011
12:21 am

OK…he wants to help. Go to Samoa! Find a nose tackle while you at it!

Dumb Jean shorts

June 22nd, 2011
12:21 am

By the way, thanks coach, for showing people what life should be about. And what is really important in this world we live in. Proud to call you my coach at the school i attended and donate too.
Most that talk trash didnt attend or dont donate.
Guess we have to always deal with that 20% trash no matter what!

Duluth Gator

June 22nd, 2011
5:59 am

Richt is a class act. I know you Georgia fans are hard on him but he is good for kids, and the college game because he has his life in order. See you all in J’ville.

UnderDog

June 22nd, 2011
6:48 am

CMR get the kind of players that would go with you on a trip like this and the Dawgs will do a lot better! Plus check to see if they have a dribin’ license or sense enough to not drive if they are suspended.

Ramguy

June 22nd, 2011
6:49 am

CMR is a fine man, no doubt about it. My tip my hat to him. However I do wonder what Nick Saban and the rest of the SEC crew are doing right now. If UGA has another bad year nobody will give a rat’s behind about this trip.

rcdawgfan

June 22nd, 2011
7:01 am

I’ll tell you what Saban is doing right now… I saw him there yesterday, and I’ll tell you what he is doing every day for the next 3 weeks – playing golf in Clayton, Ga – next to his lake home. Then every coach will be back in full swing with coaching football after this break. Quit acting like Saban has all the right answers.. every coach has a different way of doing things. There isn’t one formula to winning… if there was, everyone would try it – yourself included. People can’t understand there is a balance in life that everyone must need or they will burn out – football included.

ClassicCityLoyalCanine

June 22nd, 2011
7:06 am

Please no poor mouthing. Good for Coach Richt! Ya listening SeeSee and Son of Sancho?

JB

June 22nd, 2011
7:13 am

I’m sure Saban has taken a one week vacation this year somewhere. Maybe he has rolled up his sleeves and helping tornado victims. I know he wrote a check. If the Dawgs lose 5 or 6 games this year I feel it’s the Lord’s way of saying, OK Mark, you’re done there. You are now serving me full time. We’ll just see.

BobDawg

June 22nd, 2011
7:23 am

Hey Buckeye….. What is your old Coach “Tress” up do during his extended vacation???

harry norman

June 22nd, 2011
7:24 am

Go Coach, have a great trip! God bless. BTW give us a quick call, have someone very interested in the lake house. It is commutable to Athens, correct?

Producer

June 22nd, 2011
7:28 am

Let’s all sing “Kumbaya” in Spanish….

Bama Fan#2

June 22nd, 2011
7:39 am

I know Mark Richt is a good football coach but he is a better human being
helping these poor people.

Taylor Wootte

June 22nd, 2011
7:52 am

Its great that he is doing this, but why all the coverage of it? Why not do it, quietly? Does he want everyone to know he is doing this? Its like donating money to a cause and wanting everyone to know you did. If it was me, I would NOT want the press covering my “mission trip”. Real cheesy, tasteless IMO. Makes me wonder what the true motives are.

Howard Floyd

June 22nd, 2011
8:17 am

I suppose there are people who believe life is about football. Tim Tebow, in an interview with USA Today, said touchdowns and championships are important to him, but he mostly wanted to live a life of significance. Even football coaches and die hard fans must, at some point in their lives, realize the importance of God and family in a balanced life. I doubt, from what I have heard of Mark Richt, that he is too much concerned about what hyper fans think about how he lives his life. We would all be much healthier if we followed his example.

Whisky Breath

June 22nd, 2011
8:22 am

Okay let’s cut the crap. This is about as phony as some Hollywood star at Katrina. SNL ought to do a sketch on this event. This is this is just a photo op. They need to put a hammer in his hand just to make it look like he is doing some work. Let’s face it, Mark is not camera shy. Catherine knows about cameras too. I guess it is a good place for Mark to work on his tan.

phoneguy71

June 22nd, 2011
8:37 am

Richt is a damn good man! And on a football note, a damn good coach. We will see that again this year. Go Dawgs!!!

Long Gator

June 22nd, 2011
8:40 am

Cone on Guys lay off the Richster. I believe he is a
genuine christian. At least he knows there is more to
life than Football.

Reverend Richt

June 22nd, 2011
8:44 am

Although I believe the Reverend lost his passion for coaching about four years ago and will probably be fired at the end of this season this is a classy thing to do. Kudos to the Reverend Richt.

SimpleDawg

June 22nd, 2011
8:47 am

Before you remove the speck from your brother’s eye, you must first remove the plank from your own eye………

DawginLex

June 22nd, 2011
8:52 am

Richt hired Tony Gilbert for S&C staff while away in Honduras.

And the haters said he wouldn’t be doing anything football related while away……………

DONZADAWG

June 22nd, 2011
9:00 am

DEAR TAYLOR WOTTE: MARK RICHT IS A PERSON OF NOTARIETY AND THIS IS A PUBLIC INTEREST STORY. THIS IS HIS THIRD MISSION TRIP BUT THE FIRST THAT THE AJC HAS SENT A REPORTER TO COVER. MARK RICHT DID NOT SOLICIT THE AJC TO COVER HIS GOOD WORK. THE AJC IS DOING IT BECAUSE THERE ARE STILL SOME DECENT FOLKS OUT THERE WHO LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT SOMETHING GOOD AND POSITIVE. AS FOR “WHISKEY BREATH”, YOU’RE AGAINST ANYTHING GOOD AREN’T YOU. YOU SIR, ARE AS LOST AS A MAN CAN GET.

Dawg4ever

June 22nd, 2011
9:09 am

Lex, the tony gilbert deal was in the works for several weeks. What Richt does on vacation is his choice, but UGA’s recruiting is taking a beating for 2012 class. All the rival coaches are using the fact Richt want be at UGA for the 4 or 5 years the kids are at UGA, and it is hurting UGA like never before. If McGarity is going to keep Richt he needs to step up and extend his contract before the season to get some of these Ga. kids on board. You shouldn’t have a coach after 11 years coaching without a contract extention if you plan on keeping him. McGarity is to blame for this terrible class, and if he is on the fence about Richt’s future, which he clearly is, he should make a decision and live with it. UGA is going to be so far behind Bama, FL, LSU, and even Auburn in talent and depth that it want matter who UGA brings in, it will take 3 or 4 years to catch up. This class will almost be as if UGA didn’t even have a class coming in next year, and you can’t compete with these teams by losing an entire class. Sure there may be 3 or 4 players that can help, but you need about 20 that can help to compete with these coaches. The other side of this disaster that is taking place in Athens, is that even if Richt wins 8 or 9 and McGarity extends his contract, UGA still will lose almost an entire recruiting class. Either way UGA loses in this situation. If things go badly next year, the players will quit on the UGA coaches and RIcht, because they will know they want be coaching them next year, so McGarity is killing UGA in football, when everyone thought he would help save the program. This would have never happened at Fl. with Meyer.

Pago Pago Dawg

June 22nd, 2011
9:09 am

June Jones has it figured out, for past 4 or 5 years he’s been going down to American Samoa for “mission” work…(recruiting).

THE Dixie Redcoat Band

June 22nd, 2011
9:12 am

Ok one more time people…stop using CAPS and hit the “enter” button every 10,000 lines..gessh.

gadawgs

June 22nd, 2011
9:16 am

All of you haters really are pathetic. What coach is doing is great and you should be proud that he represents our State University. He is making a difference in the world for God’s kingdom which believe it or not is way more important than fall Saturdays. Also, for all you that keep saying that he should not have a media crew follow him around while doing missionary work I betcha it was not his idea. My guess is the AJC asked IF they could come along to document it. Coach has done alot of charity/missionary work very quietly and discretely that noone but he, his wife and God know about so please give the man a break. Proud of you coach. Go Dawgs!!

Joey

June 22nd, 2011
9:25 am

Extend his contract after beating only one ranked team since ‘08? Before the season?

Hey I hope Richt turns the program around beginning this season as much as any Dawg fan, but what if he doesn’t? What if he goes 6-7 again? Or worse?

I believe by the remarks of the Athletic Association, as well as McGarity, a few weeks ago, if Richt shows improvement this season, he will will be UGA’s coach as long as he wants to be.

Sabin

June 22nd, 2011
9:27 am

Coach Richt thank you for the use of the Butts Smear office.
Just finishing up on the recurriting class your little office was a big help!

Vacation is for losers. Mission trips BA BA BA

Roll Tide! We own this state!

Eddie

June 22nd, 2011
9:28 am

Wow—-some of you people are in sad shape.Even if you don’t feel like you should help others(bad choice), why do you have to talk Coach Richt down for doing what he knows is right. If you think that football(I love UGA and the football team) is more important, you have a tough lesson ahead. As far as the recruiting rant above, recruiting is and will be fine. As stated a million times, UGA can not sign all of the football players in this state. Good Lord people–lighten up—spend some time with your wife and children(novel thought). God bless you Coach Richt and Go Dawgs!

tdog

June 22nd, 2011
9:31 am

It is great he is there, but just what is he doing exactly? It sounds like he is just inspecting. Get a shovel and dig a needed drainage ditch.

Hypocrites

June 22nd, 2011
9:35 am

Hah. You people talked trash about Tim Tebow doing this exact same thing. Now that coach Helen Hunt does it, it should be front page news? Get over yourselves

Dawglasville

June 22nd, 2011
9:43 am

Here is the blogs for the rest of the week.

1. Richt is a great example and we are proud to have him as our coach.
2. Richt is a good man but needs to quit coaching.
3. Richt is a phony as a Christian and he lacks Saban’s and Meyer’s drive.
4. Richt is great. At least he is not a heathen, self centered, or fat like your coach.
There will be different means used to express these same ideas all week long. Man, I can wait until the season starts.

John boy

June 22nd, 2011
9:51 am

These BAMA fans are either morons or just jerks…