Mark Allan Richt is a former American football head coach, player, and TV analyst who was born on February 18, 1960. He coached college football for 15 years at the University of Georgia and for 3 years at his alma mater, the University of Miami. Two of his teams went on to win the Southeastern Conference (SEC) title, while another five SEC division titles and one ACC division title were also collected.
He won the 2002 and 2005 SEC Coach of the Year awards, as well as the 2017 ACC and 2017 national Walter Camp Coach of the Year honors. Richt was a quarterback for the Miami Hurricanes in college. He worked as an assistant coach for 15 years, 14 of which were spent at Florida State University under Bobby Bowden as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He also spent a year as offensive coordinator at East Carolina University.
Mark Richt’s Early Life
Richt is the second-oldest of five siblings and came from a working-class background. His parents Lou and Helen Richt gave birth to him in Omaha, Nebraska. Lou was employed by Western Electric as a tool and die, maker. After Lou received a job offer in Boulder, Colorado, he and his family uprooted and made the journey in 1967. Lou was transferred to South Florida in 1973, just in time for Mark to finish high school there.
At Boca Raton High School, Richt was a standout athlete who earned the nickname “All Turnpike” for his many honors across Florida. Three different universities—the University of Miami, Florida State, and Brown—showed interest in him when he was a quarterback for his high school. He went to college one hour south of home, in Miami, Florida.
Mark Richt’s Personal Life
Katharyn Francis, originally from Tallahassee, Florida, is Richt’s wife. They met while Katharyn was an FSU cheerleader and Mark was a graduate assistant at Florida State, where she later earned a degree in economics. Subsequently, in 2016, Katharyn completed her education and became a registered nurse. While Mark was a student at Georgia, she became the team’s “water girl” so that she could hang out on the sidelines.
Jonathan (“Jon”) (born March 11, 1990), David (born December 1, 1994), Zachary (born May 15, 1996), and Anya (born in 1999) are their biological children (born February 13, 1997, with a rare disorder known as proteus syndrome). Like his father, Jon played quarterback in college before entering the coaching profession. Before serving as Mark’s quarterback’s coach with the Hurricanes, Jon coached at Georgia and in the NFL.
On October 25, 2008, ESPN’s College GameDay aired a documentary about the Richts’ adoption of Zach and Anya from Ukraine titled “GameDay looks into the Richt family’s adoption of a young boy and girl from Ukraine.” Despite initial reluctance, the Richts eventually decided to share their adoption experience in the hopes of inspiring other families to consider the benefits of adopting.
Having been converted to Christianity at the age of 26 as a graduate assistant, Richt attributes his faith to a speech given by Bobby Bowden in the locker room. The Richts announced their intention to increase their philanthropic giving in 2011 after selling their almost $2 million lake estate in Georgia. Several international mission journeys have been taken by them.
Mark Richt’s Career
Richt replaced Jim Donnan as head coach of the Georgia Bulldogs in the offseason leading up to the 2001 season. Richt led his teams to victory in two SEC championship games (2002 and 2005) as well as six Eastern Division titles (2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2011, and 2012) and nine bowl games. Georgia won its first conference title in 1982 in 2002, and it also won the SEC East Division and advanced to the SEC Championship Game for the first time since the league instituted divisional play and a championship game in 1992.
Richt’s teams finished in the top 10 of the final AP Poll seven times, and they represented the SEC in three bowl games (all in the Sugar Bowl) (2002–2005, 2007, 2012, 2014). In addition, in 2008, his squad was ranked in the top ten by the coaches but not by the Associated Press. With a final record of 145 victories and 51 losses, Richt left Georgia as the program’s second-winningest coach (behind only Vince Dooley’s 201 wins). When he left, his winning % was higher than that of any coach at the institution who had won more than 29 games.
For the SEC Eastern Division title in 2015, the odds were on the Georgia Bulldogs football team. The Bulldogs have won their first four games of the season, including SEC victories over Vanderbilt (31-14) and South Carolina (52-20). The Bulldogs were defeated by eventual champion Alabama, 38-10, in Athens on October 3. The Bulldogs went on to lose to Florida and Tennessee in conference play. After a four-game winning streak, which included victories on the road against Auburn (20-13) and Georgia Tech (13-7), Georgia concluded the regular season with a 9-3 record.
Richt was fired after 15 seasons as head coach, the day after a game against Georgia Tech. After his departure from Georgia, Richt accepted the position of head coach for his alma mater’s football team, the University of Miami Hurricanes. On December 4, 2015, Richt made the official announcement. He avoided admitting he was leaving Georgia by declaring, “My wife and I can tell you this: This is our home.” It’s great, and we really enjoy it. I plan on staying in Miami till the end of my coaching career. Richt completed high school in Palm Beach County, which is about an hour north of the university.
As expected, fans showed their excitement over Richt’s hiring in large numbers. Season ticket sales for the Hurricanes topped 40,000 before the start of his first year in charge, the most since the team moved to Hard Rock Stadium in 2008. The Hurricane Club, the University of Miami’s athletics booster club, likewise had an all-time increase in membership and financial support.
Mark Richt opens up on living with Parkinson’s diagnosis
It’s possible that Mark Richt’s Parkinson’s disease symptoms first appeared during his last few seasons as Georgia’s head coach. Former Bulldogs head coach and Florida Hurricanes offensive coordinator Mark Richt revealed on July 1 that he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease on May 25. As Richt told a small number of reporters on Wednesday night, “even going back as far as Georgia, simply my energy was exhausted,” ESPN reported. You didn’t really know what it was because, you know, working at Georgia for 15 years could do that, too.
Watch as Fulmer, Spurrier, and Saban heap accolades on coaching legend Mark Richt. Nonetheless, I resolved that I would resume play calling even in Miami. Instead of taking a year off, I got the position and will be in charge of all the play-calling and strategy within 48 hours. But I do remember feeling like I couldn’t spit it out quite as fast. And here I was imagining that this was some novel language when, in retrospect, it was most likely already in use.
In the following October of 2019, Richt also had a heart attack, although he tweeted the next day that he was well and expected to return to work the following day. It’s important to me to let everyone know that I did, in fact, suffer a heart attack this morning. I’m good, Richt tweeted. Knowing I was going to paradise gave me comfort, but I was sad to think about leaving my wife behind. Intentionally, I will be at the office this week.
Moving back to the Athens region to be closer to family, 61-year-old Richt has kept up his work with the ACC Network and is set to publish his new book, “Make the Call,” next month. After Richt began having problems with his motor skills, balance, and weariness, physicians diagnosed him with Parkinson’s disease.
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