Mark Richt, new head coach at Miami, says goal is to prepare players for life

by Lee Warren, Newswriter |
In October, Georgia Bulldogs head coach Mark Richt looks on during the second quarter against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Sanford Stadium. Dec. 4, 2015, he was named the new head football coach at the University of Miami, days after being fired from Georgia. | Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

MIAMI (CHRISTIAN EXAMINER) — Mark Richt, an outspoken Christian leader, was named the new head football coach at the University of Miami Friday morning, just days after being fired at Georgia.

At the introductory press conference, Richt said he and his wife, Katharyn, began praying about the opportunity to come to Miami after being released at Georgia and felt a peace about it. That dovetails with what he said at the press conference after being fired at Georgia.

"I really want God's will for me," he said at the time. "I'm really at peace that it was part of his plan. You know what I mean? I'm really just excited about what's coming down the road and I want to continue to try to be as obedient as I can be to the Lord, to God and see where he has Katharyn and I. We're both at peace.

"We know we've been blessed abundantly at Georgia. I mean, let's face it, 15 years at a major institution, an SEC school — just to get the job to begin with was kind of a miracle, so we're thankful, we're blessed."

He went on to say he hoped he would be remembered as someone who loved Georgia, who did it the right way and "he did it hopefully in such a way that it was well pleasing to the Lord."

The two-time SEC Coach of the Year posted a 145-51 record with the Bulldogs and they won two SEC championships. Georgia is 9-3 this season headed into its bowl game. Richt planned to remain with Georgia through its bowl game appearance, but when the Miami job was offered to him, it was too good to pass up.

The new Miami coach returns to his alma mater, where he played as a reserve quarterback from 1978-82. He said his goal is to finish his career with the Hurricanes.

His opening remarks at the press conference Friday set the tone for how he plans to run the team, saying coaching football at the collegiate level is about more than football — it's about preparing players for life.

"I'm going to ask our players to take care of business academically. I want them to behave socially. And I want them to do their very best in every area of their life and represent this university in the right way. But also, set themselves up for the future by growing into men who can become wonderful husbands and fathers and leaders in the communities that they choose to live in when it is all done."

Near the end of the press conference, a reporter asked Richt how he is different now from when he played at Miami.

"In 1986, I became a born-again believer in Jesus Christ," he said. "I went from a really self-centered guy to an others-centered guy. My goal became to try to live a life that God would be pleased with on a daily basis.

"Just start walking. 'God, you've got my career, you've got my family, you've got my everything. I trust you in everything and I'm just going to start walking and I'm going to try to be obedient to you and your Word.' That's what changed everything."