Georgia football coach Mark Richt took his wife and four children to Honduras last June on a missions trip.
Next month, he’ll be taking some members of his other family. Richt said Thursday that 23 Bulldogs players are penciled in for a five-day trip to one of the poorest countries in the Western hemisphere.
“When I was there last year, I just thought it would really be awesome for our guys to experience it,” Richt said. “We opened it up for that, and more guys signed up than I thought would, to be honest. It looks like we will have at least 20 when it gets down to it.”
The trip will be sponsored by World Baptist Missions, not the university, and does not violate any NCAA extra-benefit rules.
Richt and his players will be working in Guaimaca at Hospital Bautista, which according to its Web site has served more than 300,000 people since opening in September 2003. The site states that each patient and visitor is told of the love of Jesus and his willingness to forgive sins, and that each is given the opportunity to accept Christ as his savior.
Players who have signed up include starting defensive end Roderick Battle, starting punter Brian Mimbs, freshman center Ben Jones and freshman running back Richard Samuel.
“I think they had 24 bunks for boys and 24 bunks for girls, and it had a couple of other houses that they would house doctors in and things of that nature,” Richt said. “I just said, ‘If we bring this group, I don’t want any girls there at all.’ It will be just us, and we’ll definitely spend some time in the morning working at the compound there.
“It’s a hospital that also has a water ministry, and they grow crops. There are all kinds of things that they are involved in, and we usually work in the morning, whether it’s building something or painting something or working with kids at the nursery.”
The Latin American country is slightly larger than Tennessee but is often ravaged by hurricanes. As recently as five years ago, the average household income wasn’t $1,000.
Richt said his family spent the afternoons last year playing soccer and, afterward, spreading the Gospel. The evenings were spent in fellowship.
Jon Richt, the oldest of Richt’s children, will be making the trip again before heading off to Clemson as a freshman quarterback.
“Jon’s about 6-1 and was about 180 at the time, and they thought he was big,” Richt said. “When they see these other guys, their jaws will drop. Then they’ll thump us in soccer, I’m sure, but it will be fun.”
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...