Didn’t see it coming...
On Monday, October 21st, Mark Richt had a heart attack. Two weeks prior, we were visiting about his sudden retirement, and how a year ago, he couldn't see himself anywhere but on the sideline at the U in Coral Gables, Florida.
RP: Did you a year ago, have any idea that you wouldn't be coaching there at this time this year?
MR: No, it was not a really well planned out event…I'd hate to think that I knew I was going to be retiring from coaching and not telling anybody… changing jobs or retiring…so many people are affected.
MR: No, I didn't know it was going to happen…it happened after the bowl game…not long after that, where I made the decision…I went 15 years at Georgia with the responsibility of being the head coach and it was probably time to take a break from that responsibility of being a head coach and that was my plan. And within hours I had 6 job offers...and all my former players from Florida State and Georgia were texting and saying how much I had blessed their life and all that kind of good stuff and you are thinking, "Well Lord, maybe I'm not done yet."
MR: Long story short, I did the interview and asked the questions I needed to ask Miami. I said, "I am in and within 48 hours of the Georgia job I'm the head man at Miami… and it was a program that required a lot of heavy lifting.
And I was loving it! I was going hard. But the problem was that I really and truly didn't take care of myself like I should. I didn't rest like I needed to. I didn't exercise like I needed to. I was just going so hard. I might have worked out 5 times in three years and I got depleted in a lot of ways and I was pretty much on empty at the end and I was like, you know what, this is not healthy for me, this is not good for Miami and you know, I could sit here and fake it…but Miami deserves better than that, and quite frankly, I needed to take care of myself. And so that's a very difficult decision to make, as I said before, because it affects so many people and it was kind of a strange sensation to be out of coaching, but at that moment in time, it was the right thing to do and I'm even more certain that it was. You know, you only have one heart, you only have one circulatory system, you only have one brain, you know, and if you overdo it…God's made a sabbath for a reason…and when you don't do it, you don't get blessed and you can't replenish and it is just not a wise thing and I didn't take care of myself good enough.
I'm thankful for Coach Richt's honesty. And it might be an honesty that saved his life, because he was honest with himself. In further reflection, listen to some of the lessons he has learned since he walked away exhausted.
To hear the entire interview subscribe to the Vision for Life Podcast on your podcast app. You can follow Coach Richt on Twitter @MarkRicht or Roger Patterson @RogerPatterson.