I’ve always maintained that Mark Richt will retire well before you may expect for a man in his position. Richt is different – the good kind of different. He’s not going to grind himself into an early grave in the pursuit of a larger trophy case. He has other things to do.
This quote just about sums it up: “I’ve always had a greater purpose in coaching than trying to get a raise or trying to win a championship or coach a Heisman Trophy winner. I mean I’ve been blessed to win championships, coach Heisman winners, All-Americans, national championships, ACC championships. I know we didn’t do that at Georgia as a national champion. But you know, I experienced all that. And if that’s all there is at the end it’s empty, unless you help these guys.
“And that’s what people misunderstand sometimes. I’m highly motivated to win the national championship. But just because I care about them beyond football they think, ‘Oh he’s more worried about that than he is winning.’ No that’s not true at all. Not true at all. I want to win, and we’re gonna do the best we can to try to win. But I feel like we truly are educators, and we truly have a responsibility to help these guys.”
That quote came from Seth Emerson’s latest piece for the Macon Telegraph. It’s about the Paul Oliver Network, something that was born out of a tragic necessity following the funeral of Paul Oliver. A former Bulldog, Oliver took his own life after he was described as “depressed” following the end of his NFL career. After that day, Richt created a network of Georgia businesses that help former players whose football chapters have closed – either by their choice or someone else’s – start a new professional life.
Every school does something similar to this, but not on this scale. I’m not going to describe the article more here, it’s something you really should read for yourself. It’s something every coach can use to better himself – either through Georgia’s efforts to help its former players, but mostly through Richt himself.