ATHENS — Unlike Steve Spurrier, Mark Richt doesn’t know how much longer he’ll be coaching. But the Georgia coach predicts it will be a good while longer.
“I think the older you get the more you realize you’ve still got some juice, you know?” the 55-year-old Richt said Tuesday. “Coach Spurrier is still doing a great job. I don’t even want to try to predict what’s going to happen down the road. I do enjoy what I do and I want to continue to be influential in the lives of these young men, and also win ballgames for Georgia.”
Spurrier, who has been known to go on a rant now and then, went on a good one back in July in reaction to remarks by our own Mark Bradley projecting that he didn’t expect the 70-year-old to be coaching much longer.
Spurrier called a news conference in Columbia the day after reading Bradley’s comments in The State newspaper to tell the masses he planned to coach “at least” five or six more years.
“Last year at this time I was 69, we were 11-2 and there was no question about my age,” Spurrier said. “Now that we were 7-6 (last season) we’ve got some enemies out there. I’ve got some guys that don’t like me out there talking and writing.”
Richt was so sick with a cold on Tuesday that he needed a sports communication assistant to fetch him more tissue.
“I don’t feel good today, but most days I feel pretty good,” he quipped.
Because of his outspoken Christian beliefs and support of the Church’s charitable and missionary causes, it has often been theorized that Richt could step away from coaching at any moment for those pursuits. He didn’t necessarily shut the door on that notion.
“I don’t know, I’ve always been real open to what the Lord has to say to me on subjects like this,” Richt said when asked about it at his weekly news conference Tuesday. “If I feel like in my heart there are some things He wants me to do, I’ll do it; I’ll try to be obedient. But right now, I think I’m think I’m exactly where he wants me and I’m enjoying it.”
Richt said he might be just as inclined to follow the lead of his former boss and mentor at Florida State, Bobby Bowden.
“Coach Bowden was about 80 when he retired five years ago,” Richt said. “Coach Bowden said there is only one significant event after retirement and he didn’t really want to push it to the next level.”
Spurrier’s probably thinking the same thing.