Monday, July 14, 2014

For Georgia Head Coach Mark Richt the Coaching Doesn't Stop When They Are Done Playing For Him

Lets be real here folks. When it comes to a kid making a call on where he is going to play college ball he has three things in mind: (1) babes (2) am I going to play or ride the pine and (3) being groomed for the NFL.

For Mom and Dad it is a little different. They want to feel like the coaching staff--or at least the head coach--cares about their son and doesn't just see him as providing depth on the roster.

After all, not everyone can start and everyone will not play. There is a good chance a kid may never play. Will he be cared about as well as a superstar? During his career and after?

Most coaches are probably telling the truth when they say they do, but with all the demands placed on them it can be hard to do much off the field for guys--especially when they are done playing for you. Even if they want to they still have to care for the current players.

Georgia head coach Mark Richt has recognized that players often need assistance when their football careers are over. After fielding a call from a former player struggling with life after football and contemplating suicide he decided to make sure they could get it.

He formed the Paul Oliver Network--named after a former player that killed himself in front of his family because he was having difficulty with life after the game.

Oliver did make it in to the NFL, but most guys don't and are forced to deal with life after football right out of school (if they finish). They go from having tutors, advisors, and all sorts of people around whose job is to help them to no one.

After seeing some of his former players struggle and in the aftermath of Oliver's death Richt decided to do something about it. In a nut shell what he has done I create a network of people geared towards making sure life after football does not have to be such an extreme culture shock.

Richt and two others run the network and try to connect athletes with people. Another person does degree audits and another helps get them back in school if they never finished. A number of local businessmen are involved as well, but Richt has chosen to keep them anonymous (to make sure no one is in it for the publicity).
 “I believe that the Georgia Bulldog nation is a real thing, and they love our guys, and they respect the guys that come through,” Richt said. “I tell (players), ‘If you come here, and you behave, and you play hard, there will be so many people who want to help you down the road, to just get started.’ So I want to tap into that in an organized fashion.”

Read more here:
There is an old t--shirt that says 'Football is Life. The Rest is Just Details." By doing something like this Richt has shown that football is just a part of life, and that the details matter even more.

[For more see this great article at]

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