Mark Richt is a good recruiter. Georgia has posted top ten recruiting classes every since since 2002. According to Rivals, Georgia was #8 in 2009, #7 in 2008, #9 in 2007, #4 in 2006, #10 in 2005, #6 in 2004, #6 in 2003 and #3 in 2002. It is easy to conclude Mark Richt knows what he is doing. So, what is his secret? Richt prays.
â€œI put a lot of things to prayer, and this is one thing I put to prayer,â€ Richt told the AJC. â€œI ask the Lord to â€˜Give us the guys that belong at Georgia. The ones that donâ€™t belong, work it out.â€™ I donâ€™t get too bent out of shape with [recruiting], one way or the other. Weâ€™re going to get what we need. Weâ€™re going to get the right guys here.â€
Richt illustrates one path of recruiting: focus on what you can control, and don’t worry about the restâ€”let someone else do it. His quote reveals much about how Georgia operatesâ€”he is unflappable. And that is a very good thing which allows the leader and his organization to stay focused on the target, which in this case is recruiting. Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban talks extensively about worrying only about what you can control. He applies this same dictum to his recruiting efforts. Saban doesnâ€™t worry about negative recruiting done by others, because in the end, you canâ€™t control it. What you can control is what you do on the recruiting trail and in the preparation to recruit.
Richtâ€™s path is a good path. The other path is the one followed by Tennessee Volunteer coach Lane Kiffin; it is the path of the whiner or loudmouth. Instead of focusing on what he can do, he cries about what Urban Meyer has done. In the annals of leadership such methods usually fail. What doesnâ€™t fail is calm leadership focused on your internal mission. Richtâ€™s track record proves that.
But Richtâ€™s talk of prayer leads to the inevitable snide remarks about Godâ€™s disinterest in sport. But is God too busy to care about the outcome of a sporting event?
That was actually something I was asked about last week, and it was a very interesting conversation. Does God care who wins a basketball or football game or where a recruit goes to college?
We should examine this carefully. For what is God? Is He not the all-powerful, all-knowing creator? If he is omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent, then He is aware of that insignificant sporting event, just as he is aware and knows when the sparrow falls to the ground.
Sure, He is aware, but does He care?
Establishing his awareness was important, because if He is aware, then all human interaction is within his scope. And, if God is good and the instructor of man (was His law not an attempt to teach right and wrong?), then why would God refrain from using the field of sport as a place of learning?
Sports teach lessons. Are there not hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands who attest of learning life lessons on the gridiron? Why limit God and say he would not deign to use the classroom of the field to teach man?
Whether God would answer prayers regarding sport, or whether he would delight in hearing those pleas, I would not say. But, I think it hubris to say God doesnâ€™t concern himself with what is important to people like Richt. My nephew likes cartoons, so I bought him a cartoon DVD. Could God, who is described as the one in whom we live and breathe and have our being, and who is described as the Father, do less? Christ asserts the opposite, â€œIf ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?â€
It doesnâ€™t mean youâ€™ll win or get the best recruits, but doesnâ€™t it seem to mean that God cares and would want the best for man, even in sports?