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Spiritually speaking

Richt shares faith at Fort Stewart

POSTED: March 24, 2007 5:15 a.m.
Attendees who expected to hear University of Georgia football coach Mark Richt talk about the upcoming football season were in for a surprise Wednesday at Club Stewart.
At the Spiritual Luncheon, the two-time Southeastern Conference Championship winning coach opted to share his faith in Christ and discuss the similarities and differences between preparing a football team for games and preparing an army for battle
“I’m honored, blessed and humbled to be here,” Richt said. “Well, God Bless them (soldiers). They are preserving our way of life in this country and are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice to protect us. I love them and am honored that Gen. (Rick) Lynch gave me a call and the opportunity to come.”
Brig. Gen. James Huggins, a UGA alum, introduced Richt as a man who believes in standards and discipline, which is the hallmark of the United States Army.
Richt even poked a little humor, saying that he enjoyed the 3rd Infantry Division song “Dog Face Soldier” but that it should be spelled D-A-W-G.
“I might have to bring that song back to campus,” he said.
Richt said players must understand the fundamentals to be successful on the gridiron. Comparatively, he said soldiers must master the fundamentals in basic training to be good soldiers.
“We have mat drills at 4:45 in the morning where we teach them to respond quickly and correctly to commands,” he said. “It is here that we find leaders and build unity. If one makes a mistake, then they all pay for it. The difference is ours lasts for 10 days with days off in between while basic training last for eight weeks.”
Another similarity Richt mentioned is unity.
“Coaches spend hours and hours planning games, and they are games,” he said. “I know that the officers here have quarterly-training briefs and they have to explain their plans, but it is essential for players and coaches to buy into the plan. When we walk out of the room, we must be unified.”
Perhaps Richt’s most prolific comment was when he said that the Bulldogs play more home games than away games but that he was thankful that all of the Army’s games are on the road.
“God bless you for making them all away games,” he said. “We fight for our school; you fight for our country and our way of life. If we lose, alumni and fans get mad and sometimes people get fired. If you lose, we lose our freedom and that is a big difference.”
Richt also shared his Christian faith with the crowd of 600 people composed of soldiers, soldiers’ families and community leaders. He does a devotion every morning with his wife and children. He shared the morning’s devotion with the audience, saying it is amazing how God works and he quoted chapter 14, verse 28 from the Book of Matthew.
Col. Dan Ball, who is preparing to deploy to Iraq for the third time, was delighted to hear Richt speak.
“Personally, as a Christian, I was very blessed to hear coach speak today,” Ball said. Like the commanding general said, you think you have a coach talking to you and you get a Christian talking to you.”
“Inside, it does give you peace to know if, as a Christian, you practice what you preach and let the Lord take charge. Then your’re comfortable with what you will do,” he continued. “You know you’re not in charge, but the Lord is and you go in there and accomplish the mission. It is critical to not only be mentally ready and physically ready, but also spiritually ready.”
 

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