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By Brandon Elrod
Mark Richt, a former college football head coach and current college football commentator, will be a national spokesman for Send Relief, the compassion ministry arm of the North American Mission Board (NAMB). Richt made the announcement in a video released on social media.
“I’ve been a part of some great teams as both a player and a coach,” Richt said. “I’m so excited to announce my support of another great team—Send Relief. It’s a compassion ministry working to meet needs and change lives across North America.”
Since launching in 2016, Send Relief has been helping churches and individuals participate in outreach through meeting the needs of those in their community. The five ministry areas Send Relief has focused on include: poverty, refugees and internationals, foster care and adoption, human trafficking and crisis response.
“From serving earthquake victims in Puerto Rico to adoption and foster care, and helping refugee families settle in new neighborhoods, Send Relief is making a big difference,” Richt said. “Something I’m particularly excited about is that Send Relief makes it so easy to get involved through mission trips and other compassion opportunities.”
Send Relief does so by providing materials to church leaders about initiating compassion ministry in their own neighborhoods, and Send Relief also has ministry centers throughout North America that focus on one or more if its ministry areas. So far, there are seven centers in seven different locations.
In his announcement about serving as a spokesman for Send Relief, Richt mentioned that he and his family will be taking a mission trip through Send Relief to serve in Puerto Rico in the near future.
Kevin Ezell, president of NAMB, thanked Richt and expressed excitement for the future of Send Relief.
“I could not be more appreciative of Coach Richt’s willingness to join the Send Relief team in this way,” Ezell said. “I have long admired Mark’s abilities as a coach and his willingness to share his faith. I am looking forward to the impact Send Relief will be able to make in the Kingdom of God.”
Richt first gained national acclaim as a football coach at the University of Georgia where he served as head coach for 15 seasons from 2001 to 2015. Georgia won 145 games, earned seven top-10 finishes and two Southeastern Conference championships during his tenure.
He became head coach at the University of Miami in 2016 after departing Georgia, leading the team to a 26-13 record and a 2017 division title in the Atlanta Coast Conference (ACC) before retiring following the 2018 season.
Throughout his head coaching career, Richt was outspoken about his Christian faith and well respected as both a coach and a person. As a coach, he was known as a great mentor to his players and for taking mission trips around the world.
When asked in 2015 by the Miami Herald about what had changed between his time as a college player at the University of Miami to his return to coach his alma mater, Richt pointed to his conversion to Christianity.
“In a nutshell, in 1986, I became a born-again believer in Jesus Christ,” he told the paper, “and I went from a really self-centered guy to an other-centered guy. My goal became to try and live a life that God will be pleased with on a daily basis.”
After his retirement, Richt became a college football analyst for ESPN and their sister station, the ACC Network, which launched in August 2019.
Brandon Elrod writes for the North American Mission Board.
Published February 13, 2020