This paper was gracious in running an article regarding my induction into the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hall of Champions. This column is a further insight into FCA and the honor.
The FCA is the largest Christian based athlete organization in the world. It is in 82 countries and has over 2,000 field staff members in America. I had the joy of serving as the National Chairman for six years, the longest tenure of any chairman. During that time we built the FCA Support Center in Kansas City. From its vantage point you can look down on the infield of the KC Royals. Tom Landry, a longtime loyal supporter of FCA, died shortly after the dedication. Along with Dal Shealy, the National Director of FCA, I went to the Landry home the day before his funeral and asked Mrs. Landry for some memorabilia of Tom to go in the headquarters. She gave us his trademark hat which is on display in the lobby of the building. Driving through the city,the building has a high profile along the interstate.
Parenthetically, Tom had a very clean desktop with only one thing on it, a tiny stone I brought him from Gordon’s Calvary in Jerusalem.
Some among those included in the Hall are former baseball commissioner Branch Rickey, a founder, Tom Landry, Tom Osborne, Roger Staubach, Bobby Bowden, Betsy King, Tom Dungy, Carl Erskin, Grant Teaff, Joan Cronan, Paul Anderson, Mike Singletary, Larry Nelson, Otto Graham, and Bobby Jones. Also being inducted this year is former Georgia football coach Mark Richt.
I had the joy of speaking at the 50th and 60th anniversary of the organization, many camps and retreats as well as to numerous college and pro football and basketball teams. I had the funniest feedback at a board retreat. In speaking I make reference to Jesus calling His followers sheep of His pasture, not pigs of His pen. Coach Frank Broyles, athletic director at University of Arkansas, whose teams are known as the Razorbacks, jumped up at the end of my talk and said, “I resent that derogatory comment about hogs.”
The organization is well run by a board of directors consisting of some of the nation’s leading businessmen and women. They represent various interests and have diverse backgrounds. Part of the time I was chairman, the vice chairman owned a company with 3,500 18-wheelers on the highways of America. I was fortunate that in guiding these business minds, they all had devout spiritual orientation.
Based on my years of seeing the inner operations of the organization and knowing many of the outstanding field staff, I am pleased to commend FCA for its support. Most high schools and a lot of middle schools in Georgia have huddle groups.
A classic graphic of the intent of the organization is a portrait of a young boy with a football tucked under his arm is looking fondly at a huddle group of older athletes with the caption “Influence.” That little boy is now a grown man serving as a head football coach here in Georgia.
FCA has allowed me to know some of our nation’s most outstanding coaches and athletes. Some of my most memorable experiences have been involved with FCA activities. I am honored and humbled to enter the FCA Hall of Champions.