More on family helping Mark Richt navigate tough start to win 9 in row
I wrote a story for the print section on how Katharyn Richt helps her husband Mark Richt get through the trials and tribulations of being a college football coach. As usual, there was a lot of good stuff that I couldn’t fit in. I’ve included some of the leftovers below and the blog will give you a forum to talk about the story itself. Also, scroll to bottom or links to more stories we’ve done for Georgia-Georgia Tech week.
- On 0-2 start: “It was a struggle, especially when you know you’ve got a good team but one that may be young and needs to grow up. He believed this team had great senior leadership and he went into the season with high hopes. But even after South Carolina, I was surprised that he had as positive an outlook as he did. I think in that game, although South Carolina came out and won, Mark saw in our team and in Aaron [Murray] and in the leadership and everything, he saw what the future was and he was encouraged by it. He said he’d seen it in practice. When you get out there on the playing field on Saturday, you never know what’s going to happen, you never know how it’s going to roll. But I think he was very impressed with what he saw in that game. The fact that he was able to see that encouraged him to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep trusting himself.”
- You said players getting in trouble bothers him more than anything. Why? “Because he just knows how hard it is to make it these days. It’s a lot different than it was even 20 years ago, because of Twitter and the Internet. You can hardly do anything out there without somebody knowing it. He just knows how rough it is for these guys when they get in trouble.”
- On team winning nine in a row: “They’ve been through their bumps and bruises, but the boys have pulled together. The team, the coaches, the staff, the players, there’s a chemistry to this team that I don’t that I’ve ever seen in all my years. We’ve had a lot of great teams over the years, even at Florida State, but this is a special group.”
- On Richt’s competitiveness: “He competes at everything, even a backyard basketball game, even a family volleyball game. He kicked me out of our family volleyball games this summer. It was because I always cut up and I’m all about having fun and making sure everybody’s having a good time and getting along. He’s all about the winning. So he said I couldn’t play. So, yes, it does affect him when he loses games.”
Kevin “Chappy” Hynes
- On Richt’s leadership style: “He’s a leader and he keeps his ship from going down. The water’s coming up, the ship is taking on water, he doesn’t panic. He just continues to stay the course. He continues to do what he knows is right in his heart. He’s not tossed by the waves. The storms keep coming and he stays steady.”
- On Richt’s outlook: “He’s a realist. He’s not just this positive guy, this power positive thinker. He’s just a steady man of faith. He was steady when his wife got cancer, he’s steady when he’s winning and he’s steady when he’s 6-7. He’s unlike anybody I’ve ever met.”
- On Richt’s actions after 0-2 start: “His job was just to continue to give direction and not let a bunch of backbiting and finger-pointing distract him. He’s a man of character. He’s steady. He doesn’t go up and down. He’s amazingly calm in the storm.”
- On Richt as disciplinarian: “He’s a stern guy. He’s not a pushover. He’s a stern man. His ability to keep it together is one of his greatest qualities. He just keeps pointing people in the right direction. He has a genuine belief to keep doing the right things.”
- On fear of losing: “A guy asked him one time if he was scared to lose. He said he’s absolutely not scared to lose. If you’re scared to lose you begin to do things you might not have done. When you’re holding onto something so tight you might make choices you might not make when everything is going good.
- On hating to lose: “Does he hate to lose? I think that South Carolina loss was the greatest thing that happened to us because that put a fire in his belly like I haven’t seen in a long time. And that wasn’t fear. It was a fire that burned in him.
- On Richt as decision-maker: “You’ve got a man there that is praying about every decision. You’ve got a man there that doesn’t toss to and fro by the winds of popularity or the winds of change or whatever. He’s praying through everything he does. He’s quick to listen, slow to speak. But when he speaks you know he’s come out of his quiet time and made a decision he’s sure about.”
Senior center Ben Jones
- On Richt’s demeanor this season: “He’s the same old Coach Richt. He’s a calm guy that always focuses on the next game. He’s not looking for 10 in a row. He’s like, ‘let’s just win this game’ and then we’ll focus on next week. He just took it one game at a time and that’s what we’ve been doing for nine weeks. Now we’re just going to try to get that 10th one.”
- Did players ever feel they were playing for his job? “We try not to focus on that. We knew if we took care of business that would take care of itself. I think we’ve done a great job of doing that and he’s done a heckuva job of getting us in this situation and having us focus in practice. So we give him all the credit in the world for this season. He’s a great man, a great coach and a great father figure.”
- On pressure of coaching college football: “In the coaching profession, if you do it as long as I’ve been doing it, over 25 years, there’s always going to be some good times and there’s going to be some really tough times. If I had some of the tough times I’ve been through professionally and there were any issues at the house on top of that, I don’t know how I would have done.”
- On family: “I’ve never, ever once left the office and started driving toward the house and was not excited to get home. I love going home because of my wife first and foremost. It is a safe Haven. It’s awesome.”
- On whole family being there for Kentucky game: “It was a big deal. Jon’s team [Mars Hill College] made the playoffs for the first time in more than 20 years and they were ranked high enough where they had a first-round bye. So I knew he had a bye. But I wasn’t sure if he was going to make it. When the game was over, that was the first time I saw him and his wife Anna. Of course David and his girlfriend Candace were there and Zach was there with his buddy Tanner. Of course, Katharyn being there was big. Anya was at a horse show. She was riding and competing. So it was almost everybody. It was great, though. It kind of brought back some m,emories odf that picture of everybody 11 years ago when we first showed up to Athens. How young I looked. Katharyn still looks young. But the kids were so teeny, so little. Now they’re grown up. So it was nice to have them there.”
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