“If there is ever a question about what God can do with a life totally surrendered, called and risking all to follow His vision, we can point to a young basketball coach from Oklahoma, who in 1954 saw the potential of athletes and coaches to share the gospel with the world.”
Les Steckel - Current FCA President
Don McClanen, FCA Founder
Born Feb. 3, 1925, McClanen was a young athlete and coach in the ’40s and ’50s and wondered why professional athletes endorsed products like shaving cream and cigarettes, but not a Christian lifestyle. That insight became the backbone for one of the largest sports ministries in the world that seeks to serve coaches and athletes, all while bringing glory to Jesus Christ.
After reading that 30 million American youth had no religious training, McClanen began posting his articles in the locker room and praying before games. Soon, he was dreaming of a way for well-known Christian athletes to advertise their faith on television and in magazines the way they advertised other household products. But McClanen didn’t know where to start.
For seven years before the birth of FCA, McClanen prayed about what the organization would look like and whom it would serve. Eventually, he joined forces with the other FCA “Founding Fathers”—Dr. Louis H. Evans, Dr. Roe Johnston and Branch Rickey, among others—who made FCA come to life.
Backed by McClanen’s passion and persistence, the first FCA National Conference was held in 1956 in Estes Park, Colo.—a precursor to today’s FCA Camps, which are now a staple of FCA’s ministry.
Today, McClanen’s legacy has immensely far-reaching effects. And thanks to his vision and commitment to God’s will for his life, millions have been changed for the better through their love of sports. McClanen passed away on February 16, 2016, at the age of 91.
Don Through The Years
FCA Timeline, November 1954