NCAA Football: Florida International at Miami

Sep 22, 2018; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes head coach Mark Richt runs onto the field prior to the game against the FIU Golden Panthers at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes announced this week that eight partners and supporters of the world’s largest international sports ministry will be inducted into its Hall of Champions this year.

The group features former Georgia Bulldogs football coach Mark Richt, as well as Mac Barnes, Ed Christopherson, Trey Hillman, Tommy Nelson, Greg Nichols, Nelson Price and Rick Rodriguez. The inductees were selected for their work toward the FCA vision — to see the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes.

FCA Hall of Champions honorees over the years have consisted of a mix of coaches, athletes and volunteers, including sports greats such as Tony Dungy, Tom Landry, Tom Osborne and Roger Staubach, among many others.

As an NCAA head football coach, Mark Richt was instrumental in hiring full-time FCA Chaplains at two major universities and has spoken at countless banquets and events for FCA throughout Florida and Georgia.

“These selfless and giving individuals have not only made contributions to the sports they love, but also to the communities and teams to which they are committed,” FCA president and CEO Shane Williamson said in a release. “We are immensely grateful for their service to Jesus Christ through FCA, as we honor Mac Barnes, Ed Christopherson, Trey Hillman, Tommy Nelson, Greg Nichols, Nelson Price, Mark Richt and Rick Rodriguez by welcoming them to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Hall of Champions Class of 2019.”

In Dec. 2018, Richt retired from his latest coaching post at the University of Miami, also his alma mater, where he played from 1978-1982. From 2016-2018, Richt led the Hurricanes to their first ACC Coastal title and was named ACC Coach of the Year. Richt also coached at the University of Georgia from 2001-2015, winning two SEC championships, six SEC Eastern Division titles and nine bowl games.

He also has coaching experience at Eastern Carolina University and Florida State, where during his coaching tenure from 1990-2000, the Seminoles won seven consecutive ACC titles and two national championships.

Richt has a powerful testimony of coming to Christ while working as an assistant under legendary coach Bobby Bowden, also an FCA Hall of Champions inductee.

“He is involved in his local church,” wrote one nominator. “He is a servant leader both professionally and personally. I believe he personifies the attributes that FCA espouses in our stated values and mission.”

Mark and his wife, Katharyn, have created several online video studies for FCA.

This spring, the Class of 2019 along with their families will be honored during a special event at the FCA Support Center in Kansas City. Inductees will be presented with a special award, and their photos and biographies will be a permanent part of FCA’s Hall of Champions display.

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hall of Champions was established in 1991. With the new 2019 class, there are now 115 coaches and athletes plus board members and volunteers who have received this special tribute.