FCA has announced that seven partners and supporters of the ministry will be inducted into the Hall of Champions this year.
Mike Ayers, Jean Barrett, Jay Bell, Jeff Edmondson, Theodore Ginn, Sr., Dr. Judson Martin and Steve Powell 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, Roger Staubach, Kay Yow and more.
“These seven outstanding servant-leaders share the same attributes found in every member of our Hall of Champions: dedication, commitment and service—to our Lord Jesus Christ, to their sport, teams and communities,” said FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson. “Jesus said in Matthew 20, ‘But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.’ These seven inductees each represent the true difference that marks a servant-leader. With immense gratitude, we honor Mike Ayers, Jean Barrett, Jay Bell, Jeff Edmondson, Theodore Ginn, Sr., Dr. Judson Martin and Steve Powell by welcoming them into the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ Hall of Champions as the Class of 2020.”
A dedicated volunteer, Coach Mike Ayers faithfully serves FCA in his local area and beyond. A popular speaker at banquets, coaches clinics, Huddles, all-star game breakfasts and more, he and his wife also generously offer financial support.
FCA President and CEO Shane Williamson, who played and coached for Ayers, attests to the huge impact the coach had on his life. Williamson credits him as the driving force for his involvement in coaching and eventual service on FCA staff.
Athletically, Ayers played four years of college football at Georgetown College in Kentucky. He remained there as a graduate assistant before moving on to two other schools and being hired as an assistant at Wofford College, where he eventually served as head coach for 30 years. During this time, he brought Wofford from NAIA to NCAA Division II, then to Division I FCS. At Wofford, Ayers won five Southern Conference titles and led the Terriers to four FCS Tournament quarterfinal appearances before stepping down as head coach in 2017 and completing a 43-year coaching career.
“Coach Ayers has and still is having a huge impact on the lives of countless players and coaches,” says Piedmont (SC) FCA Area Director Will Pack. “He is so humble and down-to-earth, which is part of his great character. His impact has stretched across many decades, and he continues to pour into those around him through selflessly giving his time. He's a champion for FCA, but more importantly, he’s a champion for Christ.”
Ayers is married to his wife, Julie.
A lifelong supporter of FCA, Jean Barrett is known for both his skill in starting new FCA programs and raising support for them. Barrett founded Tulsa’s FCA inner-city camp 23 years ago, and it is still running today. As a volunteer, he underwrote and directed the first FCA Camp hosted outside the U.S. in Mexico in 2000, which ran for 10 years before the area was deemed too unsafe. Barrett founded the NFL Oklahoma Alumni/FCA Golf tournament five years ago to raise money for FCA Camp scholarships and funds to supply schools throughout Oklahoma with athletic equipment. He serves on the Oklahoma FCA Endowment Board, chairs the governance committee and serves on the local FCA board in Tulsa.
Barrett’s Christian leadership began as a college athlete where he was an All-American offensive lineman for the University of Tulsa (1967-1971). During this time, Barrett served as an FCA Leader and shared his faith both in Tulsa and throughout Oklahoma. In 1972, he was selected in the second round of the NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers, where he served as team captain, played for nine years and, at one point, started 93 games in seven seasons. Barrett has been a financial supporter for FCA since 1972 and, as a pro athlete, he spoke at numerous FCA Camps.
“Jean Barrett has been faithful to Jesus Christ and the ministry of FCA,” says John O’Dell, FCA State Director for Oklahoma. “He always puts others first and is faithful, humble and a reflection of Christ in all that he has done for the ministry. He was very successful in impacting lives for Christ in Mexico through the camping ministry of FCA, and he has been an outstanding volunteer for all FCA events throughout the state of Oklahoma.”
Barrett is married to his wife, Jane.
Jay Bell has been involved with FCA for nearly three decades as a coach and donor. A lifetime Tom Landry Associate, he is involved in his local FCA through financial giving and assisting with Game Days and other FCA events.
As a Major League Baseball player, Bell’s career spanned 18 years. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians, finished with the New York Mets, and is best known for his playing days with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks. He was a two-time All-Star, a Golden Glove and Silver Slugger Award winner, and a World Series Champion with the Diamondbacks in 2001. Following his playing career, he coached a number of Big League teams and served in Minor League manager positions. Bell is currently the skipper of the Rocket City Trash Pandas, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels.
“For over three decades Jay Bell has exemplified what it means to be a Christian athlete and coach,” says Mike Sanfratello, FCA VP of Field Ministry for the Rockies Region. “His testimony for Christ has rung loud and true at every level of competition and coaching. Overall, Jay is a tremendous husband, father, athlete, coach, FCA donor and witness for Christ.”
Bell is married to his wife, Laura.
Jeff Edmondson has been active in all facets of FCA: athlete, coach, board member, volunteer and donor. While in high school, Edmondson was named FCA Athlete of the Year in Oregon. He then served as co-captain of the football team at Whitworth University, where he was an Academic All-American his senior year and a Mount Rainier League honorable mention selection in 1991.
Edmondson’s passion for athletics and his love for Jesus are why FCA has been so important to him throughout his life, from his days as a high school and college athlete, to now being a business owner, husband and father of three. He supports dreams, helps people accomplish their visions and believes the best in others. Because Edmondson has shared office space with the local FCA staff for six years, he has seen and connected with the ministry on a regular basis. He always wants to know what the staff need and how he can help.
Edmondson’s wife, Tiffany, also faithfully serves FCA as a board member for Western Oregon.
“Jeff is one of the most generous people I know,” says Ryan Johnston, FCA VP of Field Ministry for the Pacific Northwest. “He is known for his quiet leadership and leading by action and example rather than words. His servant’s heart guides him, his family and his business. When we say, ‘FCA Champion,’ Jeff comes to mind. He has not only been part of the ministry through serving and participating, but he is also a faithful donor. He began supporting FCA the year he graduated from college, and today he supports five FCA teammates and areas, as well as year-end events and other items throughout the year.”
Theodore Ginn, Sr.
When Theodore Ginn, Sr., an FCA Huddle Leader since 1996, was appointed the head football coach at Cleveland’s Glenville High School in June 1997, one of the first things he did was implement an FCA program for the team. This included Huddle time during the offseason, chapels before every game and FCA Camps each summer. He felt the season would not be successful unless it kicked off with FCA Camp. Knowing many of his players came from single-parent homes and struggled to make ends meet, Ginn worked hard to get outside funding to offset the costs of attending camp for his players. He claims FCA is the “cornerstone of our program,” and he says FCA is the “glue” holding together the Glenville football program.
Because of Ginn’s efforts to get his athletes to FCA Camps over the last 20-plus years, hundreds of players have given their lives to Christ. After facing a grim diagnosis and surgery for pancreatic cancer in 2012, Ginn believes God spared his life so he could continue focusing on serving Him and helping lead youth, particularly in the inner-city, to Christ.
In 2013, Mayor Frank Jackson of Cleveland, Ohio, gave Ginn a key to the city and declared Oct. 15 to be Ted Ginn, Sr., Day.
“Ted Ginn, Sr., has stated that ‘FCA is not a program but a way of life,’ and he has carried out that philosophy since the beginning,” says Nobles Darby IV, FCA Area Representative in Ohio. “He has had a tremendous impact on the lives of his players, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this honor. He is FCA personified.”
Ginn is married to his wife, Jeanette.
Dr. Judson Martin
Dr. Judson Martin’s FCA involvement began in high school, continued during his basketball career at the University of Nebraska and intensified as an adult. Over the past 40-plus years, he has faithfully dedicated his time and financial resources to advancing the Christian message alongside FCA by serving as a board member, presenter, coach and financial supporter.
Martin has consistently encouraged and prayed for FCA. His heart for the unreached inspires him to give generously of his time and talent along with his treasure, thus serving as a pillar for the ministry in Western Nebraska where he lives and works as an ophthalmologist. Martin has used his influence to encourage and involve others in FCA through events such as the Panhandle Area banquet, the National Golf Scramble (now the FCA Legacy Classic) and President’s Weekend. He has faithfully served in leadership roles through the FCA Golf Board, the Panhandle Area Board and the FCA Nebraska State Board. He recently completed terms on the FCA International Board and the FCA Board of Trustees, and he has attended International Capacity Conferences and remained committed to making disciples in whatever FCA role he is serving.
“Whether it’s his beloved state of Nebraska, the Midwest Region or across the world, Jud is passionate about advancing the Gospel regardless of the environment,” says Tim Johnson, FCA VP of Field Ministry for the Midwest Region. “There is no doubt about his intentions for FCA being his primary ministry for Kingdom support and work. Jud’s life has been a testament to his love for and commitment to FCA.”
Martin is married to his wife, Sue.
Steve Powell is the quintessential FCA pioneer, volunteer, donor and board member. In FCA, which is “volunteer-driven,” he has been a compelling force from the ministry’s beginning in the Northeast Region. In the early 2000s, Powell introduced FCA to the Rochester area before it had full-time staff. He organized FCA Lacrosse teams and led overnight camps. When staff were finally introduced to the area in 2010, Powell served as an original board member for Upstate New York. He quickly began sharing his experience with the team, going above and beyond his role as a board member by volunteering for events and camps and taking on various duties, just happy to serve in any role. To Powell, there is no job “beneath” him, and he always takes a job and looks for ways to make it better.
So much of FCA’s ministry in the Northeast Region can be traced back to its humble beginnings in which this volunteer dad and coach leveraged his time, treasure and talent for God’s purposes. Powell’s influence has been felt by many leaders, and lives have been changed for eternity because of his involvement and pioneering spirit.
“Steve has sparked countless new initiatives through his involvement with our team,” said David Parks, FCA Multi-Area Director in New York. “He always has a unique way of looking at things with the heart of reaching people for Christ. He is continually asking the Lord how He wants to use his gifts and skills (of which he has many, but always with humility). Prayer and service are hallmarks of Steve’s character, and his depth of character and relationship with Christ are an encouragement to so many.”
Powell is married to his wife, Anne.
In spring, the Class of 2020 along with their families will be honored during a special event at the FCA Support Center in Kansas City. Inductees will be presented with a special award, and their photos and biographies will become part of FCA’s Hall of Champions display.