Richt discusses football, faith
by Emily Horos
ehoros@cherokeetribune.com
February 28, 2014 04:01 AM | 2339 views | 1 1 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia football coach Mark Richt spoke in Canton on Thursday as part of an assembly for the Cherokee Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
<BR>Staff photo by Todd Hull
Georgia football coach Mark Richt spoke in Canton on Thursday as part of an assembly for the Cherokee Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Staff photo by Todd Hull
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CANTON — Georgia football coach Mark Richt spoke to a packed crowd at the Cherokee Bluffs Conference Center on Thursday, as part of a Cherokee Fellowship of Christian Athletes fundraiser.

Richt, who has coached the Bulldogs since 2001, told those in attendance that, just like in the game of football, time can run out sooner than anticipated.

Recalling Georgia’s appearance in the 2006 Sugar Bowl against West Virginia — played in the Georgia Dome in 2006 after the Superdome in New Orleans was damaged by Hurricane Katrina — Richt spoke of how time ran out for the Bulldogs when he least expected it.

Late in the back-and-fourth game, West Virginia had the ball with the three-point lead. Richt looked at the clock when the Bulldogs stopped the Mountaineers on third down and flipped through his playbook. West Virginia was preparing to punt and Richt was confident that Georgia would not be stopped and could drive for the game-winning touchdown.

But the punt was faked and West Virginia picked up the first down. The Mountaineers then took a knee and ran out the clock.

“I thought we had plenty of time,” Richt said.

Using another example that touched on football, Richt also shared the story of how he dedicated his life to God.

In September of 1986, Richt was a 26-year-old under legendary Florida State coach Bobby Bowden. During the Seminoles’ bye week, several players attended a dance near campus. One of them was starting offensive tackle Pablo Lopez.

Several young men, including Lopez, had a disagreement in a parking lot. Lopez and his friends continued on to the dance, but returned to the parking lot when someone told Lopez that his car was being vandalized. When he returned to his car with a group of teammates, a man approached Lopez with a shotgun and threatened him. Lopez didn’t back away from the fight, was shot once in the stomach and died prior to arriving at a Tallahassee, Fla., hospital.

The following day Bowden, held a meeting with his players and warned them that life could end when you least expect it. He encouraged them to speak with him if they wanted to know more about Christianity. Richt was listening from the back of the room, and the following day, he went to Bowden’s office.

“I said, ‘Coach, I know you said the players could come talk to you, but how about a young coach?’ Richt recalled.

The Georgia coach said he welcomes any chance he gets to share with his players what God can do in their lives. He also welcomes opportunities to work with organizations such as the Cherokee FCA.

Among those in attendance Thursday were Kennesaw State football coach Brian Bohannon and Creekview football player Isaiah Rodgers. Rodgers said he enjoys being involved with the FCA and the football team’s Bible study group

“It brings us closer together as a team and brings us close to God,” Rodgers said. “As an athlete in a demanding spot, it’s nice to put FCA into because it helps us keep our faith on the field and in everyday life.”

In Cherokee County, 18 schools that offer FCA clubs or activities. The local organization estimates that it reaches 9,000 athletes and 750 coaches in Cherokee County alone.
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Now a Richt Fan
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February 28, 2014
Amazing night at the FCA Banquet. Coach Richt gave an amazing speech. If you didn't leave a Georgia Bulldog fan you definately left a Coach Richt fan.
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