Posts tagged ‘football’
Autographed photographs of Matt Leinart and Colt Brennan hang on the wall in Bruce Rollinson’s office at Mater Dei High School.
In their inscriptions, Leinart and Brennan thank Rollinson for his guidance during their high school careers. They are among nine quarterbacks he has coached who went on to play in college during his 19 seasons as the coach at Mater Dei.
Yet of all the quarterbacks to play at the Catholic school, the best could be the 17-year-old junior Matt Barkley. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Barkley is rated as one of the top recruits for the class of 2009. Last month, he quietly committed to Southern California, where his father, Les, played water polo in college.
He chose U.S.C. over U.C.L.A., California, Oregon, Florida and Notre Dame. (more…)
This article is from September 8, 2006:
The roster of the defending national champion University of Texas Longhorns reads a lot like the college ministry roll at the nearby University Avenue church in Austin. No. 96 Lokey, Derek No. 12 McCoy, Colt No. 8 Shipley, Jordan For those who need a program to keep up, those would be, in order, the 2006 squad’s starting defensive tackle, quarterback and wide receiver. When the No. 2 Longhorns take on the No. 1 Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, plenty of attention will be focused on McCoy, a redshirt freshman making just his second collegiate start. Ohio State fan Nolan Rutter, minister at the Clinton, Mo., church, said he’ll pray that McCoy and his teammates are spared injury, but not a regular season loss. Ohio State 35, Texas 30 is his final score prediction. Brad McCoy, naturally, is predicting a Longhorn win. He said his son is approaching the game with a strong faith in God, reliance on prayer and on his teammates, especially those who are also his brothers in Christ. “The decisions he had made through his life, all the sacrifices to become a great football player, most of those are Christian sacrifices, too,” said Brad McCoy, a member of the Eastside church in Graham, Texas. “Socially, he was always making sure he was a strong, Christian influence on others.” (more…)
“First I would like to thank God, my family, and Coach Schiano for everything he’s done for me in leading me this far,” Rutgers’ all-time leading rusher said. “After the last few days, me and Coach Schiano sat down and what I did was just evaluate what was best for me and my family. And I’m always going to be grateful for what I’ve done here at Rutgers and for what Rutgers has done for me. After sitting down with Coach, Rutgers has really made me into a man and I’m proudly glad to be able to say that.
“I’m humbled here today just to say that I’m always going to be a part of the Scarlet Knight family.”
Rice spoke of the chance to play in the NFL as something he could not pass up.
“I’ve always dreamed of playing in the NFL – that’s something I’ve dreamed of as a child,” said Rice, who intends to return to Rutgers at some point to get his degree. “The opportunity came knocking , so I’m going to take it forth from there.”
A story on Navysports.com profiles Navy’s Reggie Campbell and examines his friendship with teammate Irv Spencer.
“That’s my brother in Christ, right there, my brother from another mother, as I always say,” Spencer said about Campbell.
Campbell, at 5 feet 6 inches tall and 168 pounds, is small for a slot back. But despite his size, he’s earned respect from his opponents for his ability.
“It doesn’t really bother me,” Campbell said of the questions he gets about his size. “When I look at someone else, say another sport with an undersized guy, I kind of see why people are so amazed at a smaller person doing things (they consider) out of the ordinary.
“It just goes to show, you can do anything through Christ. That’s how I feel about it.”
Playing football at Boise State University, Marty Tadman has made such a name for himself that someone else has it.
“I have a kid named after me, Tadman. It was (by) some random fan. It was kind of weird, surreal,” Tadman said.
A 5-11, 185-pound senior safety from Mission Viejo, Calif., Tadman was named first team All-Western Athletic Conference this season, Boise State’s defensive player of the year and helped lead the Broncos to a 10-3 record.
With 83 regular-season tackles, 10 pass break-ups, two interceptions and two career-high games of 12 tackles (Southern Mississippi and Louisiana Tech), Tadman was described on national television as the best defensive player on the team. (more…)
Tulsa coach Todd Graham learned the full impact of quarterback Paul Smith on his program when he was on a recruiting trip in southern Oklahoma and heard a prospect bragging.
Not about Smith’s record-setting numbers as the school’s leading passer. Not about the way he directed Tulsa’s confusing spread attack that led the nation in total offense.
“I’ve seen your quarterback,” the player told Graham. “He was basically preaching down here and doing praise music.”
That’s the hidden aspect to the triple threat Smith has brought the Golden Hurricane in a remarkable career: a strong arm, good enough wheels and a big heart.
“Just the impact that had on him and just how impressed he was with that, just how he represents our university has been remarkable,” Graham said. (more…)
No one paid much attention to Ciron Black during LSU’s final media session before Monday’s national championship game against Ohio State. All-American Glenn Dorsey had his own podium, and reporters lined up five-deep to listen to coach Les Miles.
But when a member of LSU’s media relations staff tried to seek out Black for an interview, he ducked and hid behind a teammate, grinning sheepishly when he was finally discovered.
“I didn’t write that letter,” he said, “to get attention.”
Which makes his story that much better.
While surfing the Internet Dec. 16, Black received an email containing a link to CaringBridge.org. He logged on the site and read the story of Michael “Mikey” Conger, an intense LSU fan who is battling cancer-related complications at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. (more…)
When Auburn meets Clemson in the Chick-fil-A Bowl tonight in the Georgia Dome, the defensive and offensive coordinators will handle the drama on the field.
Auburn’s “spiritual coordinator” troubleshoots the drama off the field.
Williams became known as one of the hardest-working, fiery team players until his playing time got cut and he started partying. Punishment in those days was Williams running the stadium or coliseum with a concrete block strapped to his back, until he threw up, then again until he passed out.Chette (pronounced Chet) Williams grew up fierce and angry in Douglasville, and his bad-to-the-bone attitude made him an Auburn linebacker then got him kicked off the team. (more…)
We caught up with Linda Bowden, wife of Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden, and Suzanne Tuberville, wife of Auburn head coach Tommy Tuberville, Friday afternoon after lunch at Sweet Lowdown on Peachtree.
Suzanne Tuberville, left, and Linda Bowden
Q: How do you balance the demands of football and family? How do you get used to new towns when you move or travel?
LB: My son was in three high schools. The first thing we do is get involved with church and Bible study. That’s been my rock and foundation. The people there don’t care about what happens on Saturdays.
Q: If you were going to offer advice to someone who’s new to the coaching life, what tips would you offer?
ST: If I was talking to a young woman who’d just married a football coach, I’d tell her to get involved in your church, your kids’ school, your community. You’re going to have a lot of time on your hands.
The scene is repeated at NFL stadiums every week. Moments after the game ends, players from both teams form a circle at midfield, join hands and kneel in prayer.
“Being a Christian is who I am, just as much as I am a football player, a father and a husband,” said Lions quarterback Jon Kitna, who has drawn national attention for his faith. “I don’t turn that off and on when it’s convenient. In fact, being a believer in Christ is going to be there long after I am a football player.
“This part of my life (quarterbacking) will end someday. I’m going to believe in Christ for the rest of my life.”
More and more, athletes and coaches are comfortable expressing their spiritual side, from informal religious meetings with teammates to publicly testifying their faith in the media.
The display is not as public, but many Pistons attend a prayer service before games, and Tigers gather regularly as part of the Baseball Chapel program.
Two of the Tigers’ most visible players make very visible professions of faith.
Pitcher Todd Jones has “JN 20:29″ tattooed on his left hand, a reference to the Bible verse John 20:29.
“Because I sign left-handed,” Jones explained. “I’m always signing and people ask me, ‘What’s that?’ and I get a chance to tell them. ‘Blessed are those who do not see but still believe.’ ”
Catcher Pudge Rodriguez continually makes a sign of the cross.
“I do the cross of Jesus Christ every single pitch,” he said. “It’s not a superstitious thing. It’s for Him to protect me for every pitch. I pray before every game, for everybody, for the whole team, even for their team, so nobody can get hurt.”
All teams take part
Teams from every major pro sport, except the NHL, have some sort of Christian-based ministry working with players. Independent chaplains, and representatives of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) or Athletes in Action (AIA), regularly host Bible studies, prayer meetings and chapel services.
Some chaplains develop particularly strong relationships, enabling them to counsel players and coaches through tragedies, relationship issues or how to deal with stressful athletic situations.
Bishop Robert Joyce, who ministers to the Pistons and Shock, said he tailors his discussions to players’ and coaches’ lives.
“I want to be in tune where they are,” Joyce said. “If they’re having a tough time as a team, we talk about how God can help them. If there is divisiveness, we talk about the unity of God. If they’re worried about being traded, we talk about how God assigns me and releases me. We talk about accepting the grace of God.
“It’s learning about what Paul said, on how there is a season for all things, and I need to be content where I am and glorify God, too.”
Bringing religion into the team setting seems to be an asset, according to Pistons and Lions players and coaches.
“It’s just who I am, being a Christian, so it’s nice to be able to share it with my teammates and have them be with me,” Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter said. “It brings a real unity, that you know these guys are with you in so many ways, they’re on your team in life and in basketball. It adds another dimension to your relationship with your teammates.”
Christianity predominates the ministries, reflecting the faith of the majority of the players and coaches.
Most Americans identify themselves as Christian, according to a 2001 survey conducted by the City University of New York. Around 76.5 percent of respondents said they were Christian in some form.
Only 1.3 percent said they were Jewish, and less than 1 percent identified themselves as Muslim.
A balm for the violence
Dave Wilson, one of the leaders of the Kensington Community Church, has been the Lions chaplain for 23 seasons. He’s given some thought to why football seems to embrace religion, particularly Christianity, so strongly.
“I think because it’s the most warlike, there can be fear because these guys put a lot on the line,” Wilson said. “Having something bigger than game and sports enables you to hold onto something real when things are violent or stressful. I’ve been there when Reggie Brown and Mike Utley went down. It’s very real. Very scary.
“It makes you search for something solid in your life — and for us, that’s Jesus Christ.”
Lions kicker Jason Hanson sees his faith as a steadying influence, on and off the field. Hanson freely professes his faith, but not as publicly as Kitna.
“Having a relationship with Jesus Christ is something you can always rely on,” Hanson said. “I’m going to make mistakes, maybe miss a kick or whatever, but I know no matter what, I have my relationship with Christ. And that’s the most important thing of all.”
Lions coach Rod Marinelli said his faith steadies him through the ups and downs of his job. He coached in Tampa Bay with Tony Dungy, one of the most outspoken Christians in sports. Marinelli said he shares Dungy’s philosophy of spirituality mixing with football.
“The word humble is so special to me, and you can lose sight of that so quickly in this business,” Marinelli said. “You have to have faith, even if you can’t touch it, feel it, or put a saw or hammer to it. I always talk about faith and humility; they mean everything in football and life.
“There are two ways to look at things: those who are humble and those who are about to be. Being humbled is sometimes good, if you can come out of it. And that’s where your faith comes in. What are you about? What are you made of?”
“You have all kinds of guys from all walks of life on a team. We all come together and form a team,” coach Flip Saunders said. “I’ve always let the players do what they want; they’re free to worship and pray whenever and however.”I think it’s good for them, if they want it, to have that dimension.”
Inclusion, or exclusion?
Some wonder if the Christian — sometimes evangelical — bent to the sports ministries could be potentially harmful to team chemistry.
A player or coach who is Jewish, Muslim, from another religion, or even non-spiritual, could feel like an outsider, since the services are not geared toward them.
Services are optional, and teams don’t officially sanction or organize them.
Christian organizations, such as FCA, AIA, and local chaplains Wilson and Joyce, say they aim to make their ministries as inclusive as possible. Services always are listed as non-denominational.
“We’re here for everybody. We want to be a support for all people in the game,” said Les Steckel, president of the FCA and a former NFL and college coach. “I’ve seen the impact, over the last 32 years, that having faith can have. I’ve felt the intensity, so I never think it can be a bad thing. God is taking us where he wants us to be.”
“I’ve learned when to talk about what I believe, and when to keep things to myself. I’m not here to ram my faith down people’s throats. But I’m not afraid to stand up and be a Christian.”