Coaching NCAA Football is a Ministry: Joe Taylor blogs exclusively for EGC
By: Joe Taylor
My family and I came to Hampton in 1992. I’ve completed 14 years. This is my 15th year and we have won 12 championships in those 14 years and over 80% of our players have graduated. I really feel that (and this is not profound) I’m just getting in line with a lot of other great coaches and that we are coming through. I always think that coaching is a ministry. Because to me whenever you are trying to improve the lives of others, to me it’s a ministry.
We have a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) that meets here every Friday night. We don’t force the players to come, but I would say about 90% attend. Derius Swinton is our FCA President and our starting free safety. He conducts the sessions.
We start off with a prayer and then each person has a testimonial period where guys just stand and thank the Lord for all kinds of things that they have going on in their lives. And after the testimonial period we actually have a gospel choir that’s made up of football players. It’s about 40 players that make up this particular choir. Now probably five of them can sing, but the other 35 do a great job humming. But the good thing is we all look forward to it.
After that period, we have a spiritual guy, our chaplain Rev. Jerome Barber, who is our spiritual coach. He has one of the largest churches here in Hampton, 6th Mt. Zion Baptist Temple. He is actually on staff but he comes to meetings and travels with us. This FCA meeting takes place for an hour or so on Fridays. Whether we’re at home or on the road this takes place.
Rev. Jerome Barber actually preaches a sermon, and I know that is the foundation for any success that I have had as a coach and of course for the program. I just want to put it out there to coaches that it’s ok to try it, and him use you. Because I always said that in some kind of way suffering awakens compassion.
When those guys go out there and they go through the rigmaroles such as the off-season, the early morning runs, the weight room, it really brings young men together when they sit and share and see that its all about Gods work, and not just his will. And I would just like to put it out there that this has been the cornerstone and the foundation for this program.
Right now we’re 7-0 this season, and we have won the last two championships in our conference, but over the years I just attribute our success to that. We let the Lord use us in the coaching and the administration here. I would just like to extend that to my coaching colleagues, that this is why we do what we do.