ATHENS --- College Football Hall of Fame coach Mark Richt made a special appearance at Georgia on Monday, sharing plans for an upcoming charity event.
Richt congratulated Coach Kirby Smart on his two national titles and the win at Auburn last Saturday, and he shared his vision for the eighth-year Bulldogs’ head coach.
“They’re putting me in the hall of fame in December,” Richt told Smart, noting his 86 wins in 101 games. “You’re already in, they just haven’t announced it yet.”
Richt, a two-time SEC Coach of the Year who coached the Bulldogs’ program from 2001-2015, will host “The Chick-fil-A Dawg Bowl 2023″ on Oct. 18 in Athens to benefit UGA research for Parkinson’s and Crohn’s disease.
Richt has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, and he shared that his 9-year-old granddaughter, Jadyn, has Crohn’s disease.
Current Georgia players along with UGA stars like David Pollack, David Greene and Jon Stinchcomb are expected to compete in the the event. There will be five championship belts awarded to winning teams at the event, including to Georgia players.
Richt quipped that back in his day, the NCAA likely would have applied penalties, such as a two-game suspension, drawing laughter from Smart and the media.
The charity bowling event is scheduled to take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and will be streamed live on DawgNation.com along with the DawgNation YouTube and Facebook channels. Brandon Adams will host the event.
Richt, who finished his coaching career from 2016-2018 at his alma mater, Miami, works for the ACC Network and will be on location for the Georgia Tech at Miami (Fla.) game next Saturday.
Prior to coming to Georgia, Richt was at Florida State as offensive coordinator from 1994-2000 and was QB coach there from 1990-93. Richt played at Miami from 1979-82.
Richt said the goal for the bowling event is to raise $750,000 for the Isaacson Center for Neurologic Research at UGA.
Richt said $500,000 has already been raised through private pledges, and Smart said they will get the fund up to $1 million, “whatever it takes.”
Smart has said many times before how much he appreciates the opportunity Richt provided for him earlier in his career.
“Coach Richt gave me an opportunity to coach running backs (at UGA), which I’d never done,” Smart said, recalling the 2005 season he spent on the Bulldogs staff before leaving to coach with Nick Saban and the Miami Dolphins in 2006.
“It showed a lot of confidence in me as a coach and I learned a lot from him. I learned a lot about being the right kind of person and how to run an organization the right way and it’s meant a lot to my career and I was really only with him for one year, but always followed him from afar because he was an alma mater and I respected the job he did.”
Smart has said he certainly appreciates the condition of the Georgia program when he took over, which has been enhanced by more than $240 million invested into football facilities.
“He certainly made this a really good job from the way he built everything and the things he did the time he was here,” Smart said. “It’s always been very fertile in terms of people and players in the state but he’s meant so much to so many.
“I think when you talk to the players, I know all the guys that played for him, I’ve seen so many alumni and players that have just, they come back to events and they just rave about their relationship.”