Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.
2016 Miami Hurricanes
Mark Richt has been known as a man of faith for many years dating back to his successful career as the head coach at the University of Georgia. He has been very open about his beliefs over the years and he had a cameo in the popular Christian film Facing the Giants. Richt also has a life verse that has consistently fueled his competitive fire.
“Whatever you do, do you work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” (Colossians 3:23)
“I think we all want to know, ‘What does God want me to do?” Richt explained. “But I think God is more concerned about how we do what we do—and whom we do it for.”
So it was probably not a big surprise when Richt decided to do something special for his coaches and players leading up to his first season at the University of Miami. Upon hearing several players say they didn’t have a Bible or they didn’t have a Bible translation that they understood, Richt bought all of his players and coaches a Bible with their names engraved on the front cover. He handed them out during a pre-season meeting.
“It’s a choice,” he told his team. “If you want to just leave it at the chair, you can. If you want to take it with you, you can. If you want to give it to somebody, you can.”
Players quickly took to social media to share what their coach had done for them. Wide receiver Braxton Berrios posted photos of his Bible and shared his thoughts on Richt’s gesture.
“This speaks volumes to the type of coach we have,” he Tweeted. “I appreciate you getting us our own Bibles, so we can do everything in His name. 29:11.”
The last part of Berrios’ comment was in reference to a popular Old Testament verse that could clearly be seen in the photo of his open Bible:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Richt often uses the Bible in his coaching. The book of Proverbs is one of his favorite places to go for some added instructional value. “If anyone would take the challenge of reading a proverb a day,” he said, “you’re going to get wiser. It’s good stuff.”
In his first season at Miami, Richt led the Hurricanes to an 8-4 record, including a four-game winning streak at the end of the year that led to an appearance in the Russell Athletic Bowl. But more than winning games and competing for conference championships, Richt looks back to the Bible for the true inspiration behind his role as a coach.
"I just want to do things in a way that I think God would be pleased with me,” he said. “That's my goal on a daily basis. In doing that, I know if I do that, I'm blessing the players I'm in charge of.”
Dear Lord, help us to do the things in our life that would please You. Help us to look to the Bible for the guidelines that we need. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.