Bulldogs Beat

Handling criticism part of the job for Georgia's Mark Richt

ATHENS -- Mark Richt was taught a valuable lesson when he first entered the coaching ranks.

Taking a job in 1985 as a graduate assistant with Florida State, former coach Bobby Bowden told Richt and his other assistants to be prepared for the scrutiny coaches can come under each season. That early lesson stuck with Richt, who will enter his 15th season as the head coach of Georgia. A coach doesn’t stay employed at one place for a long duration without dealing with some level of criticism. It becomes a matter of how one in the position handles it, Richt said.

‘I think anybody who's in a leadership role is going to get critiqued,” Richt said. “People are going to have opinions. Even as a parent, if you say you've got to be in at 11 (p.m.) and everybody else gets to stay out until midnight, you might get criticized for that.”

Richt has seen his fair share of criticism over the years. Though Richt has never missed a postseason and has won two SEC championships with the Bulldogs, he hasn’t led a team to a victory in Atlanta since 2005. Richt may have a .739 career winning percentage but that hasn’t stopped some folks from thinking his teams have underachieved over the years.

Mississippi talk radio host Bo Bounds, of ESPN The Zone 105.9, appeared on The Paul Finebaum Show in mid-June and lambasted Richt, saying, “He’s one of the most overrated coaches in the last decade of college football.”

Richt understood long ago that he would endure some level of criticism if he was to continue coaching football for a living. It’s just a matter of tuning the outside noise out.

“You may hear grumbling and all that kind of thing,” Richt said. “But the goal as a leader is to do what you think is in the best interest of the people that you're in charge of, the people that you're blessed to be in authority over, and focus on that .That's what I do on a daily basis. I don't worry about anything, whether it's good or bad.

“People have said some good things over the years too.”