Mark Richt is riding high right as the head coach at the University of Miami. His No. 7 ranked Hurricanes are 8-0 and host No. 3 Notre Dame Saturday night at 8pm ET on ABC.
It’s the biggest game of Richt’s 2 years with the Hurricanes but it’s certainly not the biggest moment of his life.
That came back in 1986, when Richt was a graduate assistant coach at Florida State under legendary coach Bobby Bowden.
Flashback: Mark Richt shaking Bobby Bowden's hand after Miami-FSU game on 10/30/1982. pic.twitter.com/55rtINHWZL
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 19, 2016
Richt says that this is where his life changed forever, and he accepted Christ as his Lord.
“Pablo Lopez, who is from Miami, got shot at a party,” Richt told Katie Witham. The next day, Coach Bowden had a team meeting and I was in the room as the graduate assistant coach. Coach Bowden said ‘men I don’t know where Pablo is.’ I don’t where he’ll spend eternity. He basically presented the Gospel to the team. He said ‘God sent his son Christ to die on the cross to take on all the sins of mankind. If you just choose Him, He’ll pay the price for your sin and give you a new life.”
Coach Richt says that speech by Coach Bowden forced him to wrestle with the idea of where he would go when he died.
“Coach Bowden said ‘if that was you last night instead of Pablo, do you know where you would spend eternity?’ I go the next day and knock on the door to Coach Bowden’s office. I went in there and prayed to receive Christ and I just began to try and obey and love God from that point on. It was a life changing experience. My old sin nature I was born with was eradicated through the blood of Christ.”
Mark Richt has his team focused on one main goal. One mission statement for his Hurricane players, and that’s to carry themselves in a way that would honor the Lord.
“It could be the only mission statement,” he told Witham. “Honor God with what we do. Honor God with how we go about our business. God created us, He loves us and wants a relationship with us. He loves us enough to allow his son to die for our sin. When your heart changes, you start doing things out of love”
Here in 2017, the Hurricanes are one of the best teams in the country and with a win over Notre Dame on Saturday Night, could place them in position for a run at the College Football Playoff in January.