Blast from the Past
(Continued from last month)
A month after the first FCA Camp was held, a decision was made to move the newly formed FCA headquarters to Kansas City, MO. Kansas City was in a central location, offered a major airport, and was home to two major collegiate governing bodies -- the NCAA and the NAIA. So in September 1956, McClanen moved his family and his secretary to Kansas City to set up the new home for the organization. (FCA headquarters is still in Kansas City and they call it the National Support Center).
There was a lot of momentum after the first FCA Camp, which offered a week of intense study for student athletes. Follow-up materials were requested to keep the momentum going, so the first FCA newsletter, called The Christian Athlete, was published in March 1959. It contained news from around the country and four weeks of Bible studies for groups of athletes that were forming. It was used to help increase FCA on campuses.
In 1959, FCA also took part in coaching association conventions, a staple of today's ministry. "Biggie" Munn spoke at a breakfast in conjunction with the NCAA football coaches' convention.Two months later, H.B. "Bebe" Lee, the director of athletics at Kansas State University, spoke at the first FCA breakfast at the Final Four in Louisville.
In 1960, the Camps program expanded. In addition to Estes Park, CO, a camp was also established in Lake Geneva, Wisc. and 345 were in attendance at that camp the first year. One of the attendees, John Erickson -- basketball coach at the University of Wisconsin -- later became a Christian after hearing one of his favorites, Bob Pettit of the St. Louis Hawks, share about offering his body as a living sacrifice. Two years later, another coach went to his first Camp, and FCA would never be the same. Tom Landry, coach of the fledgling Dallas Cowboys, attended a Camp in 1962 in Estes Park.
"I saw what took place during a short period of time in the life of coaches and athletes, and I thought this was a ideal platform for me," Landry said. "So I became involved in FCA."
Landry lent his name to FCA with the Tom Landry Associates program for major donors. He also spoke countless times at FCA events across the country, even before he retired from coaching in 1989. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for FCA from 1973-76 and would host the Trustee meetings at the Cowboys' football offices so he could participate and prepare for that Sunday's game.
"I'm not sure that there has been any one coach who has had more influence on FCA than Tom Landry," says Erickson. "We have had many coaches serve, but Tom has been willing to give more time and service than any other in America. The great thing about Tom was that his walk always matched his talk."