Have faith.

One of the long-standing criticisms directed at Mark Richt from a certain quarter has been about his religious faith.  He’s made no bones about it and what kind of person that’s fashioned in him.  For some, while it’s not a character flaw, it’s certainly a coaching flaw.

And yet, in the Bible Belt, how much of a recruiting flaw is it?  Judging from this piece, probably not much.  But there’s a quote in there that leads to a bigger question.

But as 3-star offensive tackle Chris Barnes points out, “most schools believe in Christ.” It’s not an uncommon sight for coaches to pray with the team or speak at Fellowship of Christian Athletes events.

For those who think it’s a flaw, there’s a simple question to ask:  if Richt’s religious faith has hampered Georgia football, why hasn’t that been the case elsewhere?

Say what you will about the manner in which he goes about his business in that department, I’ve never heard a Georgia player talk like this about Richt or the program:

The separation of church and football — not to mention church and public education — blurred at Tennessee, Foster says. Coaches, led by head coach Phil Fulmer, scheduled trips to Sunday church services as team-building exercises. Foster asked to be excused. He was denied. (The school confirmed that these team-building exercises to churches took place.) Word spread: Foster was arrogant, selfish, difficult to coach. “They just thought I was being a rebel and didn’t want to participate in the team activities,” Foster says.

“I was like, ‘No, that’s not it. Church doesn’t do anything for me. I’m not a Christian.’ I said, ‘We can do other team-bonding activities and I’ll gladly go, but this doesn’t do anything for me.’

“So I went, probably five times. I don’t want to bring race into it, but we never went to any predominantly black churches. We went to a lot of those upper-middle-class white churches, which I always found interesting because the majority of the team was black, so I thought the majority of the team would relate to a black church. I would rather go to a black church, honestly, because the music is better to me. If the majority of your team is black, why wouldn’t they try to make them as comfortable as possible? But I guess when you’re dealing with religion, color shouldn’t matter.”

One of the things I’ve been impressed about with Richt is how Musa Smith was able to fit comfortably within the team.  And if you think that was no big deal for a Muslim player in the aftermath of 9/11, you have a short memory.  Would things have been so smooth in Knoxville?  I can’t say for sure, but using church attendance as a mandatory team-building exercise would seem to suggest perhaps not so much.  And I doubt Tennessee is the only program, especially in the South, that’s taken that sort of approach at times.

So, again, what is it about Richt’s form of religious observation that strikes the wrong chord in some fans and observers of Georgia football?  I’m genuinely curious.

153 Comments

Filed under Georgia Football

153 responses to “Have faith.

  1. Gastr1

    I suspect it is because Richt seems to often speaks of his religion in terms of patience and respect–“love”– in a way that sounds like “softness” or a lack of aggressiveness to many people who believe a football coach has to have an intrinsic, harshly competitive nature. (I’m not one of the people who thinks that way about Richt, myself.)

    Like

    • Gastr1

      In other words, Mark Richt’s religion won’t let him be asshole enough to be a competent football coach.

      Like

      • Irishdawg

        Some people believe a football coach has to be as ruthless as Vlad Tepes to be successful, which is utter crap. Richt is a decent, honest man, which is considered a weakness by mouthbreathers

        Like

        • Look at some of the most successful coaches recently. Nick Saban–Medical DQs…grey shirting…”roster management” in its seediest definition. No thanks. Corch–is spineless and would sell his mother out for another win. I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could see him–douchebag. No thanks. Richt wouldn’t stoop to those levels. And I’m glad.

          Like

          • Mayor

            Lamont, you confuse religion with ethics. They are not the same. Urban Meyer is a user of people–a glorified pimp in a sense–who doesn’t give a damn about his players as people while at the same time professing that he loves players such as Tim Tebow and Braxton Miller “like my son.” I wonder if Timmy and Braxton had run a 5.0 40 if Urbie would have loved either “like a son?” Same with Saban IMHO. Those guys may be Christians, I don’t know. But plenty of Christians do rotten things every day. Some of the worst ethical offenders as attorneys profess religious faith. Mark Richt is a good person. I don’t believe Mark Richt would be operating the same way that Urban Meyer or Nick Saban even if he weren’t a religious man. I think that Mark Richt doesn’t cheat or do underhanded things as a football coach is a testament to his personal integrity. Is his religious faith a part of that integrity, maybe even the motivating force behind it? Sure. But just because someone is a Christian does not make that someone a good person. Conversely, just because someone is not a Christian does not make him/her a bad person, either.

            Like

    • Jeff Sanchez

      What was his hilarious quote on TV about the suspended Crowell, I think it was? “We’re gonna love him up” Ha ha

      Like

      • IndyDawg

        I discipline my kids because I love them. I found Richt’s comment honest, transparent and consistent with his worldview.

        Like

  2. DawgPhan

    leaders dont need to be dicks.

    Like

  3. SWGADAWG

    As a Christian I find some people just don’t like Christianity. Just as some people don’t like chocolate…it doesn’t make any since, but some people don’t like a Snickers bar. I think it’s simple as that. Richt could be undefeated but there would still be some who dislike the religious part of Richt. There are a couple of scriptures that speak to this question, but I’ll save that so as to not inflame the discussion.

    Like

    • Gastr1

      The people who tend not to like Christianity tend also to not be football fans. The correlation between liking football and being more in favor orf religion (i.e., Christianity) has been spelled out in many places before, including getting mention here once or twice. The question is, “Why do people who tend to be more religious than the general population (football fans) use Richt’s religion against him?”, not “How are Christians a poor, suppressed minority that some people just dislike no matter what”?

      Like

      • doofusdawg

        As goes college football… so goes the country.

        Like

        • Gastr1

          Not really. All you have to do is check the polls on religion and church attendance to see that.

          Like

          • doofusdawg

            I didn’t mention religion. But college football attendance is down as well. But since you mentioned it… approximately 70% of Americans consider themselves christians. Not all go to church any more than not all college football fans go to games. But it’s no coincidence that college football is much stronger in the south than the rest of the country. And it’s no coincidence that college football is much stronger in rural areas than urban areas.

            Everyone can make their own analogies.
            Everyone can make their own analogies.

            Like

    • Hey–I’m a Christian too…but there are a shitload of Christians out there that make me cringe. Richt has never struck me as one of those. His faith is part of him, he doesn’t hide it–more importantly he doesn’t shove it down your throat.

      Like

  4. Russ

    It’s an easy target. Christians are presumed by some to be weak (“turn the other cheek” and such). I’m not a religious guy but that’s a lot of crap.

    Considering how important faith is to Richt, I’m impressed in how he keeps it from being a distraction for some players. Musa Smith is a great example.

    Like

  5. ASEF

    I think to some people, it sounded like a substitute for winning. An alternative metric for measuring his success. A diversion from discussing the real issues in the program. Sort of a, “Hey now, that’s a good Christian man you are criticizing!”

    And to that extent, some of those dissaffected people used it as an argument to the contrary: “No, it doesn’t make him a better coach, it makes him a poorer coach.”

    That’s how the two sides seemed to play out to me..

    Like

    • I don’t think anyone has defended CMR’s performance with the fig leaf that “he’s a good Christian man” as the sole argument. People do defend him when people do specifically attack him and his performance based on his faith.

      I think his integrity and faith are a part of the picture I see for why he’s the right man to be the head football coach at the University of Georgia. He has made mistakes on the sideline. At times, he has had his teams come out not ready to play at their best. He made some errors in personnel judgment with the failure to sign to the limit. He has also won a lot of football games and made the Georgia program relevant again nationally.

      Like

      • ASEF

        I think plenty of people advanced the “winning isn’t everything, he’s a good Christian man, I’d rather be 10-2 with someone like Richt than 13-0 with someone like Saban” argument. I heard those before I heard the “His Christianity hampers his focus” arguments. For the record, I think both of those positions were off-base, based on the assumption that 13-0 and Richt’s faith were somehow mutually exclusive propositions.

        It was a silly binary from both sides.

        Like

  6. Lee

    Many see it as weakness I think. They believe it keeps Richt from being a ball to the wall, sold out to the task of winning a national championship. Instead of kneeling at the altar of the football gods he follows the God of the Bible with a genuineness that is uncommon in CFB. So instead of cutting players loose that aren’t pulling weight through creative roster management techniques he keeps them on till they graduate. Instead of merely putting a player on double secret probation for drug violations, he suspends them. He doesn’t offer a kid a scholarship that he doesn’t have. By doing these and other similar things CMR is seen as holding his program back from everything it can to win at all cost. Cause in the Bible Belt south also resides the SEC, and they don’t like being second to anything.

    Like

  7. My only issue with CMR’s faith is the degree to which God has challenged it. But If I understand the story correctly, Job is rewarded in the end, so I’m just waiting for the turn back towards good fortune.

    Like

  8. Hogbody Spradlin

    It adds to the perception that Richt won’t push the envelope and bend the rules when it helps, like the Corches and Sabans, to get the last iota of advantage.

    Even Bear Bryant is credited with ‘if you ain’t cheatin’ you ain’t tryin’.

    Like

  9. Macallanlover

    I have that same memory of how Musa was handled during that difficult time. Never a wrinkle, well done.

    I was brought up a Christian but moved away from the church because of the “all or nothing” approach that so many religions require. I am not anti-religion but feel it is myopic to think that any one religion has THE answer to everything. I don’t however agree with, and am angered by the turn to attacking by those who do believe in an organized religion.

    Churches, cathedrals, or temples, doesn’t matter to me, young people need structure in their lives and a code by which to live. The problem comes when it is pushed down your throat. For all the comments that Richt is over the top, I have never seen that in his handling of his professional duties, and that is all fans should be concerned about. I consider the ones who attack him for his faith, which is none of their business, it shows how truly shallow they are. This is predominately a Christian nation, majority of the team was brought up in a household that went to Christian churches, but there are plenty of places for activities outside the church for fellowship. I think Foster was wrong, but then, so was Fulmer.

    Like

    • 202dawg

      Mac, I was raised the same way and my faith has also transformed as I have gotten older. You eloquently expressed how I feel. No need for me to add to that…

      Like

    • Scott

      Man, that second paragraph sums me up perfectly. And, actually, my thoughts about Coach Richt, and also the UT situation, pretty much echo yours as well….so I guess I’m just putting this comment here in lieu of “like” button.

      Like

  10. Dawgwalker07

    Unrelated to Richt the head coach but I remember seeing an interview with Bobby Bowden where he talked about how he took the whole team to a baptist church every year (maybe at the end of fall practice or something? I don’t remember exactly. It’s been a while). They asked how he could do that and his response was basically, “if you win you can do whatever you want.”

    Makes me wonder if something similar to what happened at Tennessee happened at FSU too and we just haven’t heard about it.

    Like

  11. dawgtired

    John 15:18,19
    18“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

    Like

    • Gurkha Dawg

      Great post. I was trying to remember the chapter and verse so I could post it. Your post is exactly why some people hate CMR, but nobody wants to admit it.

      Like

  12. rwphonics

    It seems the important question is “why has this not hampered other programs?”. If you think it has in fact hurt UGA then the differentiator I see is that Coach Richt’s faith is authentic. Not that other coaches aren’t religious, but it’s out there and he’s unapologetic and some folks don’t like that. How many coaches, I wonder, do the “church thing” because it’s what they’re supposed to do to appeal to recruits, parents or promote team unity or whatever? But it’s just another task (Blue Chips anyone?). I imagine for Coach Richt, faith in Christ IS his life. It’s reflected in everything he does and you could no more separate it from him than you could his right leg.

    Like

  13. MGW

    If only Bill Nye was our coach.

    Like

  14. All the above responses seem reasonable to me. In the South where so many consider football a religion, some are concerned that football is not Richt’s #1 priority over everything else. Sure, they expect coaches to say things like “God and Family come before all else”, but secretly they expect coaches to live like football is number one and that winners will need to suffer the slings and arrows of family sacrifice (Meyer) and lifestyle (Saban). They want to see that drive to perfection and failure and forgiveness is not a part of that formula.

    One thing that has surprised me is how the “Richt is going to retire and go proselytize” meme that has made its way out of comment threads and into media consciousness. Richt’s religious devotion has certainly given this silly rumor wings.

    Like

    • rwphonics

      No kidding! Although maybe not walking door to door with his Bible, but I could see him on the board of some organization like World Vision.

      Like

    • We have a particular commenter here that appears to believe exactly this without really knowing what happens in the Georgia program.

      Like

    • AntiJorts

      I don’t understand the “retire and become a missionary” thing at all. Think of all the people he is reaching as the head coach of UGA. Players, coaches, fans, media, etc. He gets to share his faith with way more people than most other Christians are able to.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. UGA85

    I think CMR is a great man, but I’m not sure he is a great leader. His life is a wonderful example for our players, but many times a leader/coach needs to be more directive and less passive in his approach. His laid back personality and simple trust in others has not always worked well with players who need discipline and strong oversight. He is not as respected as he should be because he is not as punitive and stern as most head coaches, and we all need to be spoken to directly from time to time. As I have said before, a major source of hope for me recently has been the marked decline in arrests at UGA since CJP arrived. This, I hope, reflects tougher, more stringent oversight and direction for our young student athletes. Maybe CJP’s fire will help balance CMR’s incredible tolerance and patience and bring us home a championship.

    Like

    • Macallanlover

      Yes, because John Wooden and Tom Landry sucked at coaching. Needs to look more to the Boom, Grantham, and Van Gorder model. There is clearly only one personality type that can be a successful, respected leader. Great observation, and many who have played for Richt have acknowledged this weakness.

      Like

      • UGA85

        You misunderstood me. In fact, you kind of made a point for me. It IS possible for great men like Wooden (and Richt) to win championships. Richt and Wooden have similar faiths and codes of personal conduct. But Wooden won and Richt has struggled to, especially over this past decade. In that sense, Wooden was a great leader. Richt simply can’t inspire/motivate/whatever like that. Richt demands more of himself than he does of others, which makes him a great human being and a man I admire tremendously. But, somehow, to be a Wooden, you have to inspire devotion and respect and discipline in others as well.

        Like

        • W Cobb Dawg

          And having players like Alcindor, Wicks, Walton, Wilkes, etc., etc. doesn’t hurt.

          Like

        • Macallanlover

          If I did, I apologize. So how do you feel he falls short of that? I think he does do exactly that. If a few of the players don’t get the message, is the coach/teacher/CEO to blame? I think you judge by the overall impact on those open, not to the exceptions who turn their back and act out with their same group of bad influences.

          In my opinion, Richt reaches many lost young men, and help them find their way. That doesn’t mean there are some train wrecks even though you have a crossing signal. Now there will always be subjective debate about who is better/best at that, and frankly, some players would respond better to a different type of discipline. But then they wouldn’t be right for the ones Mark Richt reaches. No one mentor has the right formula to maximize 125 different personalities regardless of their position.

          Like

      • Cojones

        Preach it, Mac.

        Like

    • JTP

      That the Paul Oliver Network exists shows me that you are wrong about his leadership skills.

      Like

    • DawgPhan

      Being direct doesn’t make you a great leader. Strong oversight doesn’t make you a great leader. Being punitive doesn’t earn you respect. Yelling at people doesn’t make you a stronger man.

      Like

    • “but many times a leader/coach needs to be more directive and less passive in his approach” This can be interpreted as a example of a subtle passive aggressive dig at Richts faith. I don’t think you mean it 85, but some are going to read it that way. This commonly held assumption has been reached by many who scrutinize Richts public demeanor.

      Yet, all I’ve ever hear from those who work closely with him is that the passive accusation is very, very far from the truth.

      Like

  16. Tronan

    I never understood this particular criticism of Richt. Football and old-time religion are intertwined in the South and always have been. Richt seems more sincere – or perhaps I should say more thoughtful – in his faith than most (any?) other coach, but you’d think that’d be a plus instead of a demerit in his milieu. I suppose if UGA had won three national titles under his watch, then Richt’s devotion would be cited as the ideal to which all coaches should strive.

    Similarly, Tim Tebow’s evangelizing doesn’t phase me a bit. I don’t like him because he’s an obnoxious, rock-headed Gator (yeah, I know, that’s redundant), but he’s no different than hundreds – more likely thousands – of players who’ve come before him. I guess he was the first (and still biggest) national media creation who happened to be aggressively evangelical.

    Like

  17. Cojones

    I respect any man who can live to the premises of his religion. Richt isn’t perfect in that sense anymore than anyone else is, but he tries hard to live up to the tenants of his faith. I view myself and most people of many religions as falling short in that respect and are hypocritical to a life of faith. Richt hasn’t allowed those slings and arrows life shoots our way to affect his beliefs. I admire the worship strength that he has that came later to him as an adult. If character traits that he has because of his religion washes over onto the team and influences those lives positively toward society, then that’s an extra resultant that’s good for everyone, including my school. It’s the same respect I felt for a consulting partner in his 80s who was unavailable from Friday night to Sunday morning even in Caracas. He moved to my hotel (I didn’t like where he stayed and preferred a smaller more private hillside hotel) every Friday evening because the synagogue was in walking distance and he moved back to the downtown Hilton Sunday afternoon.

    I have respect for Foster to resist what I think is a perversion of any religion since the reasoning for mandatory attendance to religious services is spelled out as a part of those religions in a way to shame you mentally and socially for not attending and supporting your religion and was meant to build your “faith”.

    I think Richt’s faith is what lets him continue to put up with shortsighted and arena-ignorant idiots who would crush lesser egos and defile his workplace. He is a great football coach who has fought uphill to stay here. We are lucky to have him.

    Like

  18. John

    First, how this discussion has not evolved into Christians bashing atheist or vice a versa shows the class of the people reading this blog.

    Second, the reason that some people dislike Mark Rick’s faith is because he would tell you to your face that he is a Christian first and puts Christ first in his life. After that he is a football coach next.

    Third, the reason that Mark Rick has struggled so bad in the past few years is because he has not adopted the “the process”. The quote that the senator posted the other day that Mark Rick does not use analytics for Georgia football put me on the floor. With the recent hiring spree of non-coaching football staff leads me to believe that they are headed that way .

    Thank you Jeremy Pruitt .

    Like

    • I Wanna Red Cup

      Jon- the name is Mark Richt.

      Like

      • Dog in Fla

        Last name: Richt

        “Recorded in over one hundred spelling forms ranging from the German Reichardt, Richardi, and Richar, the English Richard, the French Ricard, the Flemish Rickaert, and diminutives or patronymics such as Riccardi, Liccardi, Richards, Richardson, Richardeau, Rickertssen and many others, this ancient surname is of pre-7th century Germanic origins. Deriving from the twin elements of ‘ric’ and ‘hard’, and translating as “powerful ruler”, the name spread throughout Europe in the early medieval period. It was no doubt considerably helped in its popularity by its meaning, but the greatest impetus to its success came in the 12th century with the legendary exploits of King Richard 1st of England, (and much of France). He was the most prominent leader of the famous Crusades to free the Holy Land, and he became known throughout Christendom as ‘Coeur de Leon’. Despite his ‘title’, Richard, Coeur de Leon, was unsuccessful in his attempts to suppress the Muslims, but by his efforts he achieved more than the other leaders, who in the manner of the human race far and wide, were not pleased.”

        And those displeased thereafter became known as 15% of the Georgia fanbase

        http://www.surnamedb.com/Surname/Richt

        Like

  19. FtWorthDawg

    I think the real question is not can you win and be a Christian at the same time but more about can you win and have Integrity an the same time. Jimbo may claim to be a Christian and claim to walk the walk all he wants but letting thug Jameis run wild in order to win a championship shows what he is willing to forfeit to win.

    As a Christian I am tasked with spreading the good news. I for one respect Coach RIcht not only for his ability to win while maintaining integrity, but also for the good work he does spreading the good news.

    I don’t think it is trivial he was voted the top coach that ALL other college football coaches would want coaching their sons.

    Jimbo can have his national championship, its not worth the scrutiny without doing it the right way!

    Like

    • UGA85

      To me, CMR’s integrity is beyond question. And, we need to have his personal commitment to integrity affect this football team more and more. A CMR team should not be a team of thugs. It should do things the right way. I want his values to trickle down to his players, in other words. We cannot turn a blind eye to the immense number of problems our program has had in past years with athletes’ behavior. I feel this has negatively affected our level of play, as well as CMR’s reputation. To see this now turning around, so that we can now legitimately call out other programs (see above) is huge for me, and I hope to see the benefits on the field this fall.

      Like

      • Macallanlover

        In all death penalty cases you hear the argument that: “A lighthouse provides safety for mariners and we hear of all the boats that wreck but you cannot know how many passed safely because it was there.” I think the focus on UGA’s malfunctions are greatly exaggerated because our numbers swell due to suspensions for each and every alcohol and drug incident while other schools handle them internally with no media glare. We even suspend for minor traffic and regulatory transgressions.

        Think of the lack of major incidents UGA has (rapes, armed robbery, battery, terroristic threats, etc.), and more importantly, think of the number that have passed safely by. Can you really say the man hasn’t been as good, or better, than other coaches in this area? And I am not blaming them or Richt for all this bad behavior, it is all on the young men, but every coach has this issue to deal with. I don’t think we have been a team of thugs under CMR, but we have had a few thugs on some teams…fortunately a small number compared to other major programs around us.

        Like

  20. “This is the beginning of a new day. God has given me this day to use as I will. I can waste it or use it for good. What I do today is very important because I am exchanging a day of my life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving something in its place I have traded for it. I want it to be gain, not loss — good, not evil. Success, not failure in order that I shall not forget the price I paid for it.”
    carried in the wallet of Bear Bryant.
    http://www.lifeway.com/Article/Prayer-Football-Men-The-Prayer-of-Paul-Bear-Bryant

    I think a coach can win and still have some faith in his creator.

    Like

    • Derek

      The difference between Bear Bryant and Saban is that the Bear was a genuinely good man. Was he occasionally compromised by his overwhelming desire to win? No doubt, but his legend is built upon a lot more than just winning football games. It was important to him that he treat people well (and he mostly did) and he also regretted the times that he hadn’t. Saban doesn’t have time for that shit. Or you. Or anyone. He’s a reptile. I’ll take CMR over that guy any day and everyday.

      Like

      • Scott W.

        Was Bear a genuinely good man or such a winner that history has been extremely kind to him?

        Like

        • Yes. Now call your momma ,I wish I could.( Also a Bear quote)

          Like

          • As best I can piece together, the commercial was supposed to be very simple — just a little music and Coach Bryant saying in his tough voice: “Have you called your mama today?”

            On the day of the filming, though, he decided to ad-lib something. He reportedly looked into the camera and said: “Have you called your mama today? I sure wish I could call mine.” That was how the commercial ran, and it got a huge response from audiences.

            So on this Mother’s Day, if you take one thing away from this column, take this: Call your mother.

            “Don’t Forget to Call Your Mama, I Wish I Could Call Mine,” Grizzard April 1,1991*.

            Like

        • Dog in Fla

          “He held guilt about smoking filterless Chesterfield’s and hiding all the whisky just to please his mama and be protected somewhat from the flak of the crusaders and finger pointing whisperers.”

          https://bearbryantmemories.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/memories-of-coach-bryant-the-ultimate-question/

          Like

  21. Vindex

    I myself believe that it is quite possible to adhere to the teachings of Jesus Christ and maintain a secular outlook toward non-spiritual matters, both of which I try to do. But I have absolutely no problem with Coach Richt’s profession of his faith. And I do not think that the difference between Musa Smith on our team in 2001-2001 and the founder of the Fulmer Cup’s team-building activities really speaks to issues of faith and belief. It simply shows that we have a decent man heading our program whereas the Vols just had….well, I will let any who read this fill in the blank themselves.

    Like

  22. dudemankind

    As an Atheist, I have absolutely no problem with Richt’s openness about his Christianity. It does not strike a wrong chord with me. I admire his conviction, flawless character, and unwavering faith to his belief. With that said, I would have a problem if he was basing team building exercises around his church, or spreading his gospel at practice. For those that disagree, ask yourself how you would feel if a coach was trying to indoctrinate young Christian men into another religion, or better yet, absence of belief altogether. BTW, you don’t have to be a Christian to have integrity. Just sayin…

    Like

  23. Debby Balcer

    Richt reminds me of Tony Dungy. Men of faith, integrity and character. I believe Coach Mark Richt will have his championship like Coach Dingy got his super bowl.

    Like

    • UGA85

      I agree. These are two men whom I greatly admire and try to emulate. If the character of our team matches the character of these two men, the on and off the field results would be remarkable.

      Like

  24. From what I’ve learned, Coach Richt is what a Christian is supposed to be. Old testament aside, I believe he lives and leads by Jesus Christ’s teachings. If he were over the top about it, I’d say that for sure, but he isn’t. He’ll gladly tell you about his love for Christ and live his life accordingly but he isn’t the “do this or go to hell” type.

    Sorry, you were wanting ways this hinders him or the program.

    Like

  25. AusDawg85

    Interesting…the usual commenters who post this criticism and whom the Senator would like to hear from are absent this morning. Must be a meeting of the 15%ers…I’m sure they’ll get back to us later today.

    Like

  26. Scott W.

    It’s the problem of not being able to hold the moral high ground and win also.

    Like

    • Macallanlover

      I don’t think that is mutually exclusive, nor do I think our record is not a winning one at all. We have won consistently, we have won championships. We have not won the specific one many hold to be “the measuring stick” that all should be judged by. We have also not been granted the opportunity to do so, although we have obtained the identical credentials others have that were invited. More a timing thing than anything else, imo.

      Like

  27. IndyDawg

    Success/failure: We all have a tendency to look for the single element that would or did make a difference. Richt’s faith is just one of those elements for some people. I’ve had my own ups and downs, where woulda-coulda-shoulda had me searching for the magic bullet. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s way more complex than a that. I only control myself and my response to my circumstances. I have varying degrees of influence on everyone and everything else but not control. I aspire to be a man of high character but still may not reach the mountain top of worldly success. You can also be the world’s biggest jerk and a shooting star thanks in part to others and circumstances. This quote from John W Gardner seems appropriate: “You find that the world loves talent but pays off on character. You come to understand that most people are neither for you nor against you; they are thinking about themselves. You learn that no matter how hard you try to please, some people in this world are not going to love you, a lesson that is at first troubling and then really quite relaxing.”

    Like

  28. Bad Byron

    Dude, you are correct. For those that doubt the message of the Gospel, think of it like this. If you lead a Christian life, which has you centered on strong moral principles benefiting others, then you are ready for eternity. And if the Gospel is wrong, the downside is that you led a strong moral life benefiting others. Win win

    Like

  29. Gravidy

    There are no people who would otherwise be inclined to support Richt, but are turned off by his religion. None. Blaming his religion for his losses on the field is merely a weak-assed cudgel to be used against him by people who otherwise already don’t like him. Period. End of story.

    Like

  30. Love me some Mark Richt, but

    or, if you prefer the upper-middle-class white church version

    Like

  31. Rusty

    His faith will come even more to the forefront when he wins a NC.

    Like

  32. Cojones

    Question Senator. Are you surprised at the quick and fairly voluminous outpouring?

    Like

  33. You asked “what is it about Richt’s form of religious observation that strikes the wrong chord in some fans and observers of Georgia football?” Judging by comments on opposing team boards (such as some of those by sputtering Tigger fans following last year’s beat down–truly delightful reading), at least part of it seems to be their inferences drawn from certain Richt post game comments that God would deign to favor any particular sports team in any contest.

    Of course, what they fail to realize is that God is, indeed, a Bulldawg, particularly in any contest with AU, UF and GT, all of which are nurtured from another source entirely.

    P.S. Mark Richt is a good man who honors my alma mater honor in how he carries and practices his religion, though I’m neither as devout nor as observant as him.

    Like

  34. ApalachDawg

    I just wish he’d turn back to his Catholic roots.
    If I recall correctly, our last head coach to lead us to the promise land was a good Irish Catholic boy too…

    Like

  35. Mike Cooley

    Foster is a smug, pseudo intellectual duesh bag. Not surprised by what he said. The faux arguments the liberals trot out are hilarious. When and how have any of you had religion “shoved down your throat”? I would venture to say it has never happened. As our fan base becomes more and more white, liberal, urbanites, the criticisms of Richt via a via his faith grow more common. Not hard to predict.

    Like

    • Mike, with all due respect, “When and how have any of you had religion “shoved down your throat”? is a question I see asked by folks who didn’t grow up Jewish in the South in the early to mid ’60s.

      Or, for that matter, in many small towns in the South today.

      Like

      • JCDAWG83

        I think it’s pretty rare these days and that’s why it makes the news when it happens. I do agree that 50 years ago, it was probably a much bigger deal. I grew up with Jews and even an Islamic family in our neighborhood which was quite rare in the South in the 60s and 70s. Maybe living in a city with a large military presence made us a little more “liberal” in our experience.

        I’ve never heard anyone say Richt is heavy handed or forceful with his religious views. I think he has a great way of showing his faith and he doesn’t have to be over the top or preachy about his faith.

        Like

      • Will (The Other One)

        Or walking to the stadium on game days…

        Like

    • Dog in Fla

      Dear deush,

      “To the Far Right Christian Hater…You Can Be a Good Speller or a Hater, But You Can’t Be Both”

      http://www.amazon.com/Right-Christian-Hater-Good-Speller/dp/1940207835

      Like

    • IndyDawg

      Mike: I consider myself a devout Christian. While I am convinced active membership in a local church is an essential component of a healthy Christian’s spiritual life, I’m uncomfortable with Fulmer’s approach if Foster is accurate about the compulsory nature of those team building exercises. Forced participation or compliance to any faith(less) activity is the wrong approach because it creates resentment or behavior that is a false veneer of what is actually going on in the heart and mind. If a person voluntarily commits to a faith and set of values, then accountability is appropriate. Each person’s faith is personal, but not private. It’s reasonable and healthy for everyone to discuss faith and values, and even respectfully disagree. As a Christian, I don’t want the government or anyone else forcing me to facilitate, participate in or celebrate anything that is at odds with the integrity of the Christian faith. I honor everyone else, regardless of their beliefs and values, with the same consideration.

      Like

  36. JCDAWG83

    I really don’t know of many, if any, people who dislike Richt because of his religious views. If anything, I think his character and faith have probably given him more leeway than a coach with the exact same on field results but was a hard living, profane, don’t care about the players outside of football, rough around the edges sort of guy.

    I also don’t think his faith has cost him any wins or titles. I think his basic personality may be a weakness, but it has nothing to do with his faith.

    Like

  37. Will (The Other One)

    I’ll add this: a discussion like this in the fanbase is far, far, far more preferable than your team getting lucky as hell on the field and thinking God did it (yes, I’m still pissed about Aubbies doing that #blessed nonsense in 2013).

    Like

    • Gurkha Dawg

      Ever since Eve made Adam bite that apple the earth has been Satan’s kingdom. We get to live in God’s kingom later. So I’m sure it was Satan not God that intervened on Auburn’s behalf.

      Like

    • Macallanlover

      I am pretty sure the 2013 season, and Auburn’s bountiful blessings from above, probably did more to cause doubt in a just God than the Plague.

      Like

  38. Saxondawg

    Good discussion. Haven’t read every post, but I thought this one would deteriorate in about six seconds. +1 to the board.

    Like

  39. boomer

    Thanks Senator for the post. There are a lot of good people out there that are talented in the areas of “what” and “how” they do their jobs. This younger generation that all of us will recruit/employ want to know “why” you do it. Richt is like many other people of faith that run successful programs, they have an answer to this question and it’s attractive. I am a Richt fan because of what his players say of him after they leave. He’s genuine despite the unfair shots from some who just can’t stand “born again” Christians, he’s humble, in a coaching world full of ego and narcissistic jerks just trying to get paid, and he’s committed to the G baby. Are you? Yea, C’mon!

    Like

  40. GaBoi 3000

    Interesting subject here. I have just one question. If Richt was a black Muslim with the same personality and the same win/loss record, would he still have the same kind of support that all of 85%ers of the fan base gives him now?

    Like

    • AthensHomerDawg

      Jeepers… a black muslim …coaching football in the usa? I’m not sayin it can’t happen but you are trying to set a hook.?
      Quid…. you think a white christian coaching soccer in a …..yeah you get my drift.

      .

      Like

    • Boomer

      No, because his support would come from people who like you would speculate about alternate realities. 😉

      Like

      • GaBoi 3000

        Truth is, is that would be your and “people like you” worst nightmare. Its probably because of “people like you” why a qualified black coach of any faith will never be a head coach at Uga. Now I will admit that I have been critical of Richt since the Bama black out game in 2008. It has nothing to do with his faith and everything to do with his coaching abilities. I find it rather interesting that some (many) in the fanbase are quick to say that every time something negative is said about Richt its always because of his faith. Richt himself doesn’t force his faith down others throats, its the “people like you” who do so when you bring up his faith when you try to defend his coaching short comings. With that being said, I do feel better about the way things are headed since the arrival of coach Pruitt.

        Like

        • Here come the POS trolls. STFU boi.

          Like

          • GaBoi 3000

            Yeah, that’s very Christ like gurkha. And you wonder why people are turned off by religion. Great example there sport.

            Like

            • My response was because I felt like you were trying to inject race and start a nasty fight when there was no reason to. A black coach is fine with me. I wouldn’t even consider it a big deal. I’m flattered that you would compare me to Christ, but I assure you I fall far short.

              Like

              • GaBoi 3000

                No Gurkha I wasn’t trying to start a fight. Foster was the one who said he didn’t feel comfortable in a upper-middle class white church. That in turn caused me to question that if Richt was black , would he have the same kind of support from our mostly white Christian fan base that’s all. I stretched it a bit with the Muslim part though. By the way, if you claim to be a Christian, that means you’re trying to follow Christ’s example. I wasn’t comparing you to Him.

                Like

        • AthensHomerDawg

          Ok Boil …we will need a recent photo and your real name if you intend to continue to post here. I’ll have our compliance officer (Mr.D) get in touch with you. Until then, just post as GaAzzHat. WE will know who you are.
          Lol.

          Like

        • Saxondawg

          Do you really believe a “qualified black coach . . . will never be a head coach at UGA?” Is this even an issue with anyone other than the few remaining sheet wearers? Two coaches in the SEC right now, and I must have missed the burning crosses when our last AD, Damon Evans, was named. UGA will hire anyone who can win and represent the school well. And there will be absolutely no static other than in a few cabins way, way out in the country. If you think it can’t happen in Athens when it has happened in Starkville, MS, then I don’t see the use of a debate.

          Like

        • Boomer

          Boi, It’s people like me that support all faiths and all races to have the same opportunities as the rest. Read your post before responding

          Like

  41. Wow. Sitting on my front porch in five points. Wow. #passion. Can’t wait for kick off.

    Like

  42. GaBoi 3000

    I find it highly ironic that the most segregated hour in America is 11:00 am on Sundays. To make matters worse, its voluntary segregation with both races. So my question is, are those who claim to be Christian obeying what Jesus says at John 13: 34,35? After all, Jesus died for ALL men, not a particular race of people. John 3:16

    Like

    • ApalachDawg

      Dude I don’t know what church you worship in, but my Catholic Church is very diverse

      Like

      • GaBoi 3000

        OK…………..does your church represent all of the churches in America?

        Like

        • IndyDawg

          My Baptist church is increasingly diverse. Still predominately white because that’s what the community was/is. But like the community it’s changing such that we have members who are African-American, Latino, and even Japanese and Congolese. The issue for many churches is that some people come expecting what they’re used to–short sighted preferences, instead of looking at the opportunity to interact and grow spiritually with those with whom they will spend eternity. Such a pity.

          Like

  43. Interesting that Richt’s religion comes into the equation as a possible weak link.

    I wonder if that would be the case if he’d been lucky enough to put a few MNCs under his belt.

    Like

    • Scorpio Jones, III

      And the obvious corollary, Ward, is when Gus has an off year or two, will his religion become an issue. It is my impression Gus is just as open about his strong religious beliefs as is Richt. Funny how that does not seem to filter through the state line.

      Having grown up in the South when I grew up in the South, it was and is astonishing to me how many of the folks who claimed and claim to be Christians only applied the golden rule to folks who thought the way they did, worshiped the way they did, looked like them.

      When I matriculated on down to Athens in the summer of 1961 it took me about two days to discover that acceptance came with a rigid set of rules.

      I understand the Georgia of today has much more room for broader inclusion.

      Mark Richt’s religion has far less relevance, to me, than his ability to beat Alabama, and I would assume Gus’s religion is about the same spot with you.

      My perception of Mark Richt and religion is that it is amazing to me that he has been able to maintain his faith in spite of being a pretty damn successful football coach.

      Like

    • GaBoi 3000

      Its highly unlikely Eagle that his faith would come up if he had at least one national title under his belt in my opinion. The problem is that a very small portion of the fan base will probably say Richt’s shortcomings are because of his faith to whereas the majority of the fan base will at times use his faith in defending him. So until Richt wins a championship of some sort, his faith will be a part of the discussion.

      Like