Mark Richt has always struck me as an interesting personality in the SEC. He's cut from the stereotypical blown out hair and polo shirt mold that you see so often in college football coaches, but somehow he's been able to avoid the stink that seems to follow SEC coaches for various reasons. This article from Macon.com helps explain why.
The phone rang as Mark Richt was wrapping up work, preparing for the biggest game of the year. Richt answered, and quickly realized his night was far from over.
Richt hastily called a few staffers, and they raced to his house and met the player. They talked deep into the night, then put him in touch with someone who could help.
Two days later, ninth-ranked Georgia beat sixth-ranked LSU. In the locker room afterwards, Richt sobbed.
A few months later, Richt sat in the football coaches meeting room, in what they call the war room. This time it was not coaches at the table but businessmen. They would form a secret and select group that would be aimed at giving former players a life after football, a direction after the original dream ended.
It would be called the Paul Oliver Network, after the former defensive back who shot himself in front of his family the previous September, distraught about the end of his career.
A person with knowledge of the meeting remembers Richt tearing up again, pounding the table and saying, “I don’t want this to happen to another one of my boys.”
What's funny to me is that if you give guys this help as active players, you're screwing over your program in the eyes of the NCAA. Provide them this help one second after they lose eligibility, you're in the clear.
Regardless, congrats to Mark Richt for recognizing such a huge area of need and doing something incredibly positive about it.