Mark Richt is loved by UGA soccer fans and is one of the greats

There is no way of conclusively determining who could claim certain superlatives if you were trying to definitively identify who was / is the greatest coach in college football history.

What are the criteria? Who sets these criteria? Obviously, according to the numbers, Nick Saban has won seven national titles (six in Alabama and one at LSU). Does that make him the greatest coach or just the most successful?

What about Michigan’s Bo Schembechler, who was the ultimate football fundamentalist?

He never won a national championship as determined by the popular polls of the day when he coached the Wolverines for 21 years, winning or sharing 13 Big Ten titles. It’s hard to say that Nick Saban is a better pure coach than Schembechler. The record book will always be on Saban’s side, which is important to him and the Alabama constituency.

Loran Smith

I’ve always thought that while Saban is an excellent coach, he’s probably a better recruiter than a coach. Kirby Smart, cut from the same fabric, would likely agree with that assessment.

In sport, one finds again and again that certain coaches seem to have the lucky horseshoe in their hip pocket. Saban, like his good friend Bill Belichick of the Patriots, had the greatest luck, as it was in 2017 when Saban had a great day against Georgia who had an even better day at the national championship game at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

More:‘It’s just a huge blessing.’ Former UGA soccer coach Mark Richt becomes emotional during halftime recognition

The Big Ten officials, as they later admitted, were the ones who had a day off. You don’t win your league championship – you don’t even win your division – but you get to the playoffs and win the national championship. If you say it’s out of luck, Merriam Webster has a problem.

All of this brings us to the superlative of who is the most popular soccer coach in college history. Again, if you want to call up statistics as a criterion, then it should be Saban. To the right? After all, everyone loves a winner.

What about Mark Richt? Since soccer is still the regional sport it is, fans of UCLA, Pullman, Washington, Ames, Iowa, or Provo, Utah – even Clemson, South Carolina, which is only 129 miles from the UGA campus – really may not know a lot about this former Bulldog head coach.

If he’s not the most popular former head coach in college football, he has to be one of the few. He is a protégé of a popular coach, Bobby Bowden, who Richt worked for in Florida State and who would rank high on any coach popularity poll.

Right is a really nice guy. He opens the car door for the women, he says a blessing before every meal, regardless of whether he is alone or at lunch or dinner when he is 200. He never berated his players. He gave the players a second chance. He never embarrassed the University of Georgia.

There were a few prominent bulldogs of the Jewish faith who avidly supported him out of respect, though their religious philosophies would be viewed as extreme opposites.

More:Mark Richt has already returned to Athens. Now UGA welcomes him again to show his appreciation

With his boyish good looks and a constant smile, Richt is someone who fans and friends of the Bulldogs love to shake hands or give him a friendly hug.

The following key facts illustrate why this man is so popular as a former Georgia soccer coach. At first he was a winner. In addition to becoming Georgia’s second top coach (after Vince Dooley) with 145 wins, he won two Southeastern Conference titles during his 15 seasons as boss of the Bulldogs.

As you probably know, Richt wrote a book called Make the Call. The subtitle aptly defines the essence of the book’s message: “Matchday wisdom for the decisive moments in life”.

The publishing house “B&H Publishing Group” from Nashville, Tennessee, initially printed 25,000 copies, and his book is now in a second edition. If you know anything about publishing books, it is just remarkable. These are John Grisham-like numbers.

For example, when a professional team wins a Super Bowl or a World Series, the team’s star can often co-author a book for a national publisher. I was told that the print run would often be 10,000 in such situations. If that’s correct, you can see how popular Mark Richt is in the Georgia constituency and others.

There are many pedestrian writers who claim to be “bestselling writers”. Mark Richt is certainly a bestselling author today. He is also one who would never boast about it.

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