Heart For The Game reaches behind the bench literally to meet Katharyn Richt, wife of Mark Richt, Head Football Coach at the University of Georgia. Katharyn is not only a Head Coach’s wife, but also a ‘Water girl” for the UGA football team! On game day, you will find Katharyn behind the bench experiencing the game like no other coach’s wife we know!
How did you become water girl for the team?
“I started in 2005 because it used to be when the kids were little I was at practice almost every day and I knew who the players were. As your kids get older, their activities pull you away more than they used to so they may or may not know who the players are. So it was a way for me to go to the games and kind of still be a part of the team and see them. Because they don’t necessarily come to the water table but they walk by it. So I’m able to see their face and then they walk by and I see the back of their jersey so I know who they are. It’s just my way of engaging in what Mark does. We’ve got so much going on with the kids its a way for us to connect.”
Do you work the water table for practices and for games?
“No. I only do it game day. When Anya is gone and I don’t have anything to do maybe I would do it during practices. On game day I ride in with the early bus that goes to set up the field. So I set up the field with the trainers. Game days are long days.”
Are your kids on the sidelines, too?
“If the kids are there, they are down there. If it’s a home game, we have a box and my sister in law runs the box for me. And they go up there with their friends. At away games if they don’t bring a friend then they are on the sideline.”
Game days can be a big job for head coaches’ wives – entertaining guests in your suite, etc. Is this your way of avoiding that?
“Yes! Totally! Then I can work during the game. You know how nervous we get during the game, so I can stay busy during the game – getting ice, filling waters – I stay pretty busy. Hot days are obviously busier than cold days. But staying busy is better than sitting there cringing and being nervous during the games. I work off that nervous energy.”
What do you do after the games?
“I clean up – the kids have the hard job, though. They clean up everything. But I help them get the stuff off the field. Mark’s dealing with media so I chat with the wives and when Mark’s done with the media, we go home.”
There’s an expectation of coaches’ wives and the role they are supposed to play. You’re not following the rules, Katharyn. (laughs)
“Don’t get me in trouble! I think Mark has allowed me to do that and hasn’t had any expectations of me. When there are events that they want us to attend, I try to go to them with him. But the university has never required that of me thankfully.”
What’s your advice for head coaches wives on how to deal with the expectations that comes with the role?
“I think it’s between them and their husband. Lord willing Mark doesn’t leave Georgia. But if he did go somewhere else that school might say, no, we don’t need her on the sideline. We need her to do this. But to me as long as you and your husband feel good about what you’re doing that’s the main thing. Georgia’s never required me to do that. I’ve had my box but I’ve always had family and friends in my box or the other wives. I’ve never had to entertain boosters or anyone like that during game time. But I do try to go to other functions with Mark when he makes appearances or speaks. I do try to go to those events with him.”