“FCA is God’s amazing, miraculous dream being fulfilled still to this day.”
-FCA Founder, Don McClanen
CONTINUING THE LEGACY
MORE THAN 65 YEARS AGO, GOD PUT A VISION INTO THE HEART OF DON MCCLANEN. A YOUNG ATHLETE AND COACH AT THE TIME, HE WONDERED WHY PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES ENDORSED PRODUCTS LIKE SHAVING CREAM AND CIGARETTES, BUT NOT A CHRISTIAN LIFESTYLE. HIS VISION BECAME THE BACKBONE FOR FCA—ONE OF THE LARGEST ORGANIZATIONS IN THE WORLD SERVING COACHES AND ATHLETES, ALL WHILE BRINGING GLORY TO JESUS CHRIST.
After serving in World War II, McClanen and his wife, Gloria, headed for Oklahoma where he studied, began coaching and surrendered his life to reaching coaches and athletes for the Lord.
Thanks to his passion and persistence, the first FCA National Conference was held in 1956 in Estes Park, Colorado—a precursor to today’s FCA Camps, which are now a staple of the ministry.
In 2008, McClanen’s biography, Caution to the Wind, detailed the adventures of his bold life for Jesus. A man of vision, McClanen founded two other ministries during his lifetime called Washington Lift and Ministry of Money. Before he passed away at age 91 in 2016, McClanen watched FCA grow to reach millions of coaches and athletes around the world for Christ.
McClanen realized he could not accomplish the vision alone and joined forces with “Founding Fathers”: Dr. Louis H. Evans, Dr. Roe Johnston and Branch Rickey (then-Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager who signed Jackie Robinson when he led the Brooklyn Dodgers), among others. Dr. Evans encouraged McClanen to write to Christian athletes who were strong in their faith. Out of 19 letters that were mailed, 14 men responded with interest. In 1954, after seven years of prayer, patience and determined zeal, the dream came true and FCA was chartered on Nov. 10, 1954. McClanen left his basketball coaching job at Eastern Oklahoma State University and became Executive Director of the new ministry where he served for six years from 1955-1961.