Fellowship of Christian Athletes Announces Eight 2019 Hall of Champions Inductees
Newest Class of FCA Partners, Servants and Sports Standouts Includes Mac Barnes, Ed Christopherson, Trey Hillman, Tommy Nelson, Greg Nichols, Nelson Price, Mark Richt and Rick Rodriguez
October 15, 2019
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—The Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) is announcing that eight partners and supporters of the world’s largest international sports ministry will be inducted into its Hall of Champions this year.
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.”
Mac 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.”
Mac is married to his wife, Sandra.
Ed 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.
The 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 began.
“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 planted.”
As a 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.
Hillman’s 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.
In 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 by FCA.
“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.”
Trey is married to his wife, Marie.
Tommy Nelson has served as a speaker at numerous FCA Camps, Huddles and conferences and has impacted scores of staff.
Athletically, 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 local ministry.
Nelson 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.”
Tommy is married to his wife, Teresa.
Greg 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.
As 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. After high school, Nichols went on to play football at Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, where he was blessed to have an FCA coach and a Huddle leader who helped Nichols further grow his faith and commitment to Jesus Christ. Since then, Nichols has been a committed FCA financial supporter, engaged board member and volunteer for several decades.
“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 upon.”
Added another 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.”
Greg is married to his wife, Betty, and they have three children and 11 grandchildren.
Dr. 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.
Price 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.
“We’re thankful that Dr. Price and his wife, Trudy, have been wonderful advocates for FCA for many years.”
As 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 Florida and Georgia.
In 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.
Richt has a powerful testimony of coming to Christ while working as an assistant under Coach Bobby Bowden, also an FCA Hall of Champions inductee.
“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.”
Mark and his wife, Katharyn, have created several online video studies for FCA.
Rick 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 ministry.
As 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.”
Rick is married to his wife, Debra.
This spring, the Class of 2019 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 be a permanent part of FCA’s Hall of Champions display.
The Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hall of Champions was established in 1991. With the new 2019 class, there are now 115 godly coaches and athletes plus board members and volunteers who have received this special tribute. They make up a group of FCA servant-leaders who have faithfully served Christ through the avenue of FCA. Their commitment to the Lord’s work has impacted many millions over the years. They are a body of teammates in Christ who have demonstrated a consistent commitment to the support of FCA, nominated by staff and board members and elected by a selection committee.
Click here to read more about the Class of 2019 and to view a list of previous Hall of Champions inductees.
Read more about Fellowship of Christian Athletes here, visit FCA’s web site at www.fca.org, its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/fcafans or its Twitter feed @fcanews.
To interview a Fellowship of Christian Athletes leader, contact Media@HamiltonStrategies.com, Patrick Benner, 610.584.1096, ext. 104, or Deborah Hamilton, ext. 102.