Mark Richt: The Brand

By Kelsie Royal

We have spent a lot of time in class discussing the “brands” that athletes create for themselves. Some athletes have negative brands despite their fame, due to their choices within their personal lives. Other athletes have created positive brands through their upstanding behavior and volunteer efforts. Regardless of how positive or negative a brand is, anyone who spends a significant amount of time in the spotlight creates some sort of brand for themselves, and I think Mark Richt has one of the best in the business.

Richt, who was an assistant coach at Florida State under Bobby Bowden in the 1980s and early 1990s, now serves as the head coach of the Georgia Bulldog football team. I think if one word could be used to describe Richt’s brand it would be this: Confident. Although he has never led his team to a national title, he encompasses an air of dignity and quiet confidence that is seen as admirable among the Bulldog nation.

In a nation where football is often cited as its own religion, Mark Richt holds tightly to his faith in his personal life as well as his coaching life. In a recent interview Mark Richt was asked if he wants to win a national championship, and this is how he responded:

“Sure I do. I want to win. Everybody who has ever won a national championship wanted to win the national championship. Everybody wants to win it. But it is about a process. Doing things right, fundamentally, schematically and football-wise. But hopefully [it’s also about doing it] morally, within the rules of the game, educating young men, educating them academically, educating them about life, helping them understand right and wrong, how to be a good husband, how to be a good father, how to function in this society properly. I’m in the business of doing that. And you do that well for long enough maybe you have a chance to win a national championship.”

This attitude that Mark Richt stands firmly to, one that says life is about more than just football (which is blasphemy to some), keeps him and his team in an optimistic mindset. UGA has a very real chance at the SEC title this year, and even has a possibility of competing for the national title. But despite these exhilarating and daunting tasks ahead, Richt is keeping himself and his team calm and confident.

If there is one thing Richt’s team is known negatively for it is their player suspensions and high-profile disciplinary cases. But even in this, Richt is 100% confident. He believes in earning respect by being consistent. He is certainly strict, but he is confident that if he is strict upfront, and consistently, his players will respect his expectations and follow them with equal confidence. He wants to be a trustworthy coach, and I think with the recruits the team has seen in the past few years, Richt’s tactics are paying off.

UGA has not seen an SEC title in seven years, there has never been a BCS title or even a spot in the game, and the list of huge victories is not exceptionally long, yet Mark Richt is confident. He is a happy man because he knows where his feet are grounded; he knows how he leads his team, and he is satisfied by his player’s responses to the challenges of the season. Mark Richt leads an exceptional program and carries a confident brand that will surely serve him well.



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