Richt’s family will take center stage when he speaks Feb. 22 and 23 at the Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta. On Friday evening, he will speak about his Christian faith alongside his wife, Katharyn Richt. The next morning he will speak following a musical performance by his son, David Richt.
“They’re like family to us,” said Jennifer Rothschild — a Springfield, Mo., based Bible speaker who organizes several Fresh Grounded Faith conferences across the country each year. “I trust how he will speak into people’s hearts.”
Rothschild met the Richts when she and her husband lived in Tallahassee, Fla., when Mark Richt was quarterbacks coach at Florida State in the early 1990s. The families held weekly Bible studies together for seven years. This is the second time Rothschild has invited the Richts to speak at her conference, which she has hosted for the past five years. She said the coach was quite a hit at an event in February 2012 in Dacula.
“I loved it, because when everything was over on Friday night, the line to meet him was so long,” she said.
Rothschild said she didn’t even mind that all the focus on Mark Richt kept the line to meet her much shorter.
One of the more lively parts of the event comes at the end of the Richts’ speech, when Rothschild engages them in a “spill the beans” session, where she asks them off-the-cuff questions.
“I never tell them what I’m going to ask,” she said. “It’s unfiltered, very refreshing.”
Having the coach there brings a new group to the event — men. Typically, the event is aimed at women, with a setting meant to resemble the friendly atmosphere of a coffee shop. While Fresh Ground Faith is “uncompromisingly Christian,” Rothschild said it is also “uncompromisingly welcoming,” whether or not attendees are devout Christians.
“We want every woman to feel welcome,” she said. “Whether they have a faith that they practice or whether they have had a bad experience.”
Rothschild, 49, will speak about how her faith allowed her to overcome an illness that left her blind at 15. She hopes to teach attendees about perseverance.
“She’s a real inspiration for both men and women,” said Roswell Street member Donna Rypel, part of the event’s organizing committee.
Also scheduled to appear is Kathy Troccoli, a Dove award-winning singer-songwriter.
Rypel said that about 500 tickets had already been sold for the event. They will also be available at the door, costing $49 for premiere seating and $44 for general admission.