FCA inducted eight partners and supporters of the
world’s largest international sports ministry into its Hall of Champions (HOC).
The COVID-19 pandemic delayed the HOC class of 2019 ceremony, but this month
inductees were finally able to be honored.
Mac Barnes, Ed Christopherson, Trey Hillman,
Tommy Nelson, Greg Nichols, Nelson Price, Mark Richt and Rick Rodriguez have
worked tirelessly to further the FCA vision: to see the world
transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes. FCA Hall of Champions honorees over the years have consisted of a mix of coaches,
athletes and volunteers, including sports greats such as Tony Dungy, Tom
Landry, Tom Osborne and Roger Staubach, just to name a few.
“These selfless and giving individuals have not only made
contributions to the sports they love, but also to the communities and teams to
which they are committed,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “We are
immensely grateful for their service to Jesus Christ through FCA, as we honor
Mac Barnes, Ed Christopherson, Trey Hillman, Tommy Nelson, Greg Nichols, Nelson
Price, Mark Richt and Rick Rodriguez by welcoming them to the Fellowship of
Christian Athletes’ Hall of Champions Class of 2019.”
Barnes is an FCA sponsor and honorary board
member. He started an FCA chapter at Meridian High School in
Mississippi in 1978 and has been involved with the international sports
ministry ever since, serving on local and state FCA boards for
30 years. Barnes was named FCA Coach of the Year for East
Central Mississippi, where the award has been named after him. He has also
attended FCA coaches and athletes camps for 25-plus years.
A high school football
coach, Barnes has been called the “Father of FCA” in
Mississippi by many well-known coaches throughout the years. While at Meridian
High, Barnes was not only successful on the field, but more importantly, in
reaching young people for Jesus.
“His impact has been felt in our community and
around our state on everyone who has ever played for him or been taught by
him,” wrote one nominator. “Coach Barnes is a huge supporter of FCA Camps, as
he has taken hundreds if not thousands of athletes to Camps all across the U.S.
Coach has lived out the core values of FCA his entire tenure of coaching:
integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence.”
is married to his wife, Sandra.
Christopherson has been an FCA donor, local board member, past
Huddle leader, prayer warrior and FCA cheerleader in his
community of Alexandria, Minnesota, for over 50 years.
football coach and his wife, Sylvia, have impacted an entire town through FCA.
His passion for teaching, sports, students and Jesus made FCA a
natural vehicle for ministry in his life, and the couple regularly invited
athletes to their house for the FCA Huddle. Christopherson also
saw the significant impact FCA Camps can have on students. His
vision to raise funds to pay for half of every local student’s cost to attend
Camp became a reality—one that continues today—and Alexandria has sent over
1,000 students to FCA Camps since Christopherson’s vision
“The clear, recurring
theme across Ed’s life is his love for Jesus, and flowing from that, his
commitment and longevity with FCA,” wrote one nominator. “God has taken Ed’s
faithfulness in showing up in the lives of students, persistence in fundraising
for Camp money, and continued service to produce a lasting ripple effect in
Alexandria. The fruit is still being reaped, and even more seeds are being
professional baseball coach in the U.S., Japan and Korea, Trey Hillman has served as an FCA volunteer
and coach for more than 30 years. After a long and continent-crossing career in
baseball, today Hillman serves on the coaching staff for the Miami Marlins.
first involvement with FCA began during high school when he
attended an FCA Huddle and served as a worship leader in
Arlington, Texas. Subsequently, he has been involved and worked with FCA staffs in multiple locations beyond the U.S.
Japan, Hillman financially supported the local FCA staff to
impact the Japanese baseball world, and his testimony was also featured in the FCA Japanese Baseball Bible. In Korea, Hillman spoke at the inaugural FCA coaches’ breakfast, which opened new horizons for Korean coaches to be impacted
“Trey truly has
shown what it means to live out a godly life as a husband, coach and father,”
wrote one nominator. “The entire Korean society was moved and impacted by the
humility and faith that Trey has shown, and the legacy that he left on the team
and Korean sports culture would live on.”
is married to his wife, Marie.
Nelson has served as a speaker at numerous FCA Camps, Huddles
and conferences and has impacted scores of staff.
Nelson was a college football player at the University of North Texas but was
called to a life of ministry. Today, he serves as senior pastor at Denton Bible
Church in Denton, Texas, where he initiated and leads the “Young Guns”
program—a nine-month intensive discipleship and leadership-training program for
post-college (usually) men from around the country, designed to develop
well-rounded leaders who will be able to exposit the Scriptures, defend the
faith both historically and theologically and exercise a leadership role in a
has faithfully served as a keynote speaker at the annual FCA Real Time Staff Conference, FCA summer Camps, Huddles and
chapel services for nearly 40 years.
“He is an avid
believer in the impact of the FCA ministry,” wrote one nominator. “It is truly
hard to count the number of coaches, athletes and staff he has impacted through
his teaching of Scripture. There is not a better model of discipleship than
what he created with his ‘Young Guns’ program.”
is married to his wife, Teresa.
Nichols serves as the FCA Frederick
County (Maryland) Board Chairman and has been involved in many aspects of the
growth and success of FCA in his home state.
a football player at Gaithersburg High School in Montgomery County, Maryland,
in 1969, Nichols’ life was changed at an FCA Camp in Lancaster,
Pennsylvania, when a coach encouraged him to attend. Since then, Nichols has
been a committed FCA financial supporter, engaged board member
and volunteer for several decades.
staff describe Nichols as “faithful,” always “showing up” in every season of
“Greg Nichols has
been a cornerstone of ministry for FCA in the western part of the state of
Maryland and beyond,” wrote one nominator. “Even before the days of FCA having
solid staffing in place, he was a ministry force, planting seeds and funding
ministry everywhere he could. He laid a foundation for many of us to build
nominator, “Greg Nichols is a man of faith who is an example to me in his loyal
presence on our FCA local board, his continuous encouragement and his
dependable prayer and financial support.”
is married to his wife, Betty.
Nelson Price served on the FCA National Board of Trustees for
many years and was Chairman from 1999-2005, during which time he brought on
several new board members. Many of the members he recruited are still active
with FCA today. Price also served as a frequent speaker at the
Black Mountain and Estes Park FCA Camps, as well as many other
camps and events across the country.
serves as Pastor Emeritus of Roswell Street Baptist Church in Marietta,
Georgia, and is the former pastor of Oak Park Baptist Church in New Orleans,
Louisiana. He has received many honors and held many community leadership
positions. Since 1966, he has written a weekly column for the Marietta Daily
Journal and is the author of 19 books.
“Dr. Price was
always quick to speak on behalf of FCA whenever he had the opportunity,” wrote
one nominator. “He has carried the torch for FCA as faithfully as anyone I
know. … Dr. Price overwhelmingly embodies all that we are looking for in an
inductee to the Hall of Champions. I, along with so many other FCA staff, have
been blessed and encouraged by his ministry.”
Price is married to his wife, Trudy.
an NCAA head football coach, Mark Richt was instrumental in
hiring full-time FCA Chaplains at two major universities and
has spoken at countless banquets and events for FCA throughout
December 2018, Richt retired from his latest coaching post at the University of
Miami—also his alma mater, where he played from 1978-1982. From 2016-2018,
Richt led the Hurricanes to their first ACC Coastal title and was named ACC
Coach of the Year. Richt also coached at the University of Georgia from 2001-2015,
winning two SEC championships, six SEC Eastern Division titles and nine bowl
games. He also has coaching experience at Eastern Carolina University and
Florida State, where during his coaching tenure from 1990-2000, the Seminoles
won seven consecutive ACC titles and two national championships.
has a powerful testimony of coming to Christ while working as an assistant
under Coach Bobby Bowden, also an FCA Hall of Champions
“He is involved in
his local church,” wrote one nominator. “He is a servant leader both
professionally and personally. I believe he personifies the attributes that FCA
espouses in our stated values and mission.”
and his wife, Katharyn, have created several online video studies for FCA.
Rodriguez has served as an FCA regional
board member for 18 years in California and as a member of the FCA National Board of Trustees for two terms. He has been a longtime FCA friend, donor, supporter and prayer partner of the international sports
the president and CEO of National Creditors Connection, Inc., in Lake Forest,
California, Rodriguez’s life has been truly transformed by Jesus through his
involvement in the ministry of FCA, according to the FCA staff members he supports in many ways.
“His wife and three
daughters would testify that his involvement in FCA has been a direct
correlation to his walk with Jesus and the way he leads his family,” wrote one
nominator. “When I think of FCA, especially at the board level, I think of Rick
Rodriguez. He doesn’t give to be recognized but to partner with FCA to further
God’s Kingdom. He loves to hear of God changing people through FCA.”
is married to his wife, Debra.