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UGA coach visits Gainesville to benefit FCA
Richt's wife, children also participate
0225richt
University of Georgia football coach Mark Richt, with his wife, Katharyn, responds to a question from Jentezen Franklin during a Free Chapel service Sunday in Gainesville. - photo by Tom Reed

University of Georgia football coach Mark Richt spoke Sunday at Free Chapel in Gainesville to help the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Richt’s wife and children also participated. The event took an offering, the entire proceeds of which benefited FCA.

Richt says this was his main motivation for speaking.

“I knew today was the day that the FCA was going to be supported, and I wanted to help in any way I could there,” Richt said. “I really do enjoy getting involved with the FCA.”

Richt’s speech was also faith-motivated. Throughout speaking, he emphasized the role that faith plays in his daily personal life and in his career.

“Whatever I do, God wants me to do my work the very best I can, heartily,” Richt said.

Richt also spoke about being a coach, and lessons he learned early in his career that led him to become a Christian.

He also talked about the importance of unity, and how teaching that to his players has affected the team’s success.

Richt says this is the time of year he usually goes out and speaks. He also enjoys speaking at Bulldog clubs, high school clinics and FCA events, among others.

“My wife’s heavily involved with Mercy Health Clinic, and I’ve been helping with The Healing Place,” Richt said. “We just like to give back.”

Another reason Richt decided to visit was to give his son, David, an opportunity to promote his new Christian album. David performed and sold copies of his new CD in the church lobby.

“Parents always want to help their kids ... but when it also has some ministry involved in it, it’s even more exciting for me,” Richt said.

Most importantly, Richt said he wanted to minister to others and inspire them to become stronger in their faith. He referenced a few key Bible verses that he said were important to him, by which he tries to live.

“With a group this large ... I’ll bet you there’s maybe one person that really, truly hasn’t come to know Christ,” Richt said.

Richt’s stories about his times on and off the field were humorous, interesting and encouraging to the crowd. The church’s overflow room, which is usually needed for only a small number of people, was almost full.

Pastor Jentezen Franklin welcomed the opportunity not only to have Richt speak, but also to help FCA.

“We had been talking back and forth of what we could do to better partner with (FCA),” Franklin said.

Franklin said Mitch Ralston, a member of the church who is heavily involved with FCA, pioneered the idea of having Richt speak.

He also said he enjoyed having Richt and his family at the church.

“It’s such an honor,” Franklin said. “We really loved having them, and we thought his words were so encouraging.”

Free Chapel, on average, donates more than $66,000 per year to FCA. The church hopes to continue to partner with it more in the future and host other events to benefit the organization.

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