‘U Network’: Mark Richt to establish support system for Hurricanes players

MIAMI GARDENS — When Mark Richt was at Georgia, he established an organization to help guide former players after their football careers ended.

When he arrived at Miami last December, Richt planned to bring it with him. Chatting with reporters Wednesday, he revealed that his Hurricanes-focused network is nearly up and running.

Mark Richt speaks to young football players at Betty Ferguson Park in Miami Gardens on July 27, 2016. (Matt Porter)

Mark Richt speaks to young football players at Betty Ferguson Park in Miami Gardens on July 27, 2016. (Matt Porter)

He’s calling it the “U Network,” and it will be similar to the Paul Oliver Network he started at UGA. The goal of the organization is to connect former players, some of whom are successful businessmen, and other local and national businesses to Hurricanes players whose careers have ended, whether that be in college or the NFL.

The idea is dear to Richt, who started his organization after former Georgia safety Paul Oliver committed suicide in 2013, distraught after the end of his five-year NFL career.

Richt’s wife, Katharyn, will be “kind of facilitating everything, all the paperwork and things it’ll take to connect people with events and connecting guys with employers, basically.

“It’s also going to be around reunion, it’s going to be about connection, but the main goal is going to be finding work for these guys. And I’m talking about the guys that truly want work. We’re not just going to give somebody something. They’ve got to do their part. Sometimes all they need is a little bit of help and guidance and connection, a little networking.”

Richt said he watched the Paul Oliver Network do “tremendous” good at Georgia. “As a matter of fact, the first guy we got hired through the network is going to come and give a testimony to how it changed his life and everything,” Richt said. “It’s pretty cool.”

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