University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt visited Union County on Thursday.
Richt was guest speaker at Philippi Baptist Church’s annual Sportsman Dinner. He talked about football and faith to a packed Family Life Center.
Richt spoke about his career as a quarterback, where he was always eclipsed by some of football’s best.
He was a back-up to Jim Kelly at Miami. He dreamed of a career in the NFL, but wasn’t drafted and signed free agent deals with Denver and Miami where John Elway and Dan Marino stole the show.
Richt later turned to coaching and was hired as a volunteer assistant at Florida State. After a player was killed in a shooting, Richt was led to the Lord by coach Bobby Bowden.
The rest is history. After 15 years at Florida State, seven as offensive coordinator, Richt took over at Georgia. His record is 82-22 and the Bulldogs have won two SEC championships under his guidance.
But football took a back seat at the sportsman’s dinner, as Richt urged the crowd to give their lives to Jesus.
Before the dinner, Richt took the time to answer a few questions:
How do you feel about the coming season?
“It’s always exciting. This year is exciting for our fans in that there is a little bit more unknown, as far as who is going to step up and be more productive for us. I’m pretty confident somebody will, I’m just not sure who. Replacing (Matthew) Stafford and (Knowshon) Moreno is a big deal, Mohamed Massaquoi of course was a great player for us. An awful lot of offensive firepower left us, but we’ve still got a few good ones. Our leading receiver is back, A.J. Green. Of course, he’s from this fine state. And we’ve got some other boys that will do a good job for us.
“We expect to have a very good football team, but everybody else is pretty darn good too. It’s just going to be a matter of trying to win those close games. It’s always a battle.”
What does the South Carolina game mean to Georgia?
“It’s a big rival game for us. Since I’ve been to Georgia, it’s been the first Southeastern Conference game. I don’t think either team has won it going away for maybe 10 years. It’s always a battle. Two teams very healthy, very excited and usually undefeated. It should be fun.”
Talk about the recruiting scene in South Carolina?
“There are a lot of great players in this state and a lot of folks are trying to get them, us being one of them. I know South Carolina and Clemson are certainly trying to nab them out of our state too. I think it’s just a time now where some young men have just decided they don’t want to stay in state. The ones that want to go, we’ll go after them. The ones that want to stay, we’re not going to get anyway. I think the same thing is true in our state. There’s a certain group of young men that want to venture out a little bit and will be hard to keep home. There’s enough, I think, for everybody to go around and you just have to hopefully find the ones that fit your school the best.”
What’s the one thing you want the crowd to take from tonight’s event?
“Jesus is the way.”