College Football Hall of Fame has ACU flavor

Wall of Helmets CFB HOFWhile in Atlanta recently for the football game with Georgia State University, some Abilene Christian University fans had the opportunity to tour the new College Football Hall of Fame, which was recently relocated from South Bend, Ind., and re-imagined in a media-rich, state-of-the-art venue that has wowed visitors.

ACU Helmet in CFB Hall of Fame

ACU’s helmet is among more than 700 displayed in the College Football Hall of Fame.

A Wildcat helmet is one of 768 displayed in The Quad on the Helmet Wall Presented by Southwest Airlines. The Hall of Fame also includes a 45-yard-long playing field for testing fan skills, and many interactive and augmented reality displays designed to engage visitors in the Game Day experience; celebrate accomplishments of players, teams and coaches in a one-of-a-kind museum; and relive memorable plays from college football history. The College Football Hall of Fame and museum is on Marietta Street N.W., adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park and the Georgia World Congress Center.

Montgomery (left) kids with Walter Payton after their induction to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Montgomery (left) kids with Walter Payton after their induction to the College Football Hall of Fame. Both received commemorative rings as part of their recognition.

Former ACU running back Wilbert Montgomery (’77) is featured in one of the exhibits. Montgomery, who is beginning his 27th year as a player or coach in the National Football League, was inducted in 1996 when the Hall of Fame began to add players and coaches from college-division universities. He was in the first class of honorees, which included Louisiana Tech University quarterback Terry Bradshaw, Jackson State University running back Walter Payton, Jim Youngblood of Tennessee Tech University, Neil Lomax of Portland State University and Buck Buchanan of Grambling University, among others.

Wilbert M Photo in CFB HOF

Montgomery is highlighted in one of the College Football Hall of Fame exhibits in Atlanta.

Today, Montgomery is the running backs coach for the Cleveland Browns. He played nine seasons in the NFL (eight with Philadelphia, one with Detroit) before beginning his career as an NFL assistant coach in 1997 for Rams’ head coach Dick Vermeil, his former head coach with the Eagles. The Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV over the Tennessee Titans and advanced to Super Bowl XXXVI, losing to New England. Montgomery coached running backs for the Super Bowl XLVII-winning Baltimore Ravens. During his playing career, Montgomery set Philadelphia Eagles rushing records for a career (6,538 yards) and season (1,512 yards in 1979), earned all-pro honors and played in the Pro Bowl. He led the NFC in kickoff returns as a rookie in 1977 and the NFL in all-purpose yards in 1979. He helped the Eagles to Super Bowl XV after the 1980 season, and Montgomery was a member of the inaugural class of the Eagles Hall of Fame. A native of Greenville, Miss., Montgomery led ACU to the 1973 NAIA Division I national championship.

Montgomery delivers his induction speech in 1996.

Montgomery delivers his induction speech in 1996.

Grambling State University head coach Eddie Robinson, Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, Montgomery and Walter Payton were presenters or recipients on induction day in 1996.

Presenters or recipients on induction day in 1996 included (from left) legendary Grambling State University head coach Eddie Robinson, Billy “White Shoes” Johnson, Montgomery and Walter Payton.

Wilbert Montgomery's induction was celebrated by two of the head coaches he once played for, Dick Vermeil (left) of the Philadelphia Eagles and ACU's Wally Bullington (’52).

Montgomery’s induction was celebrated by two of the head coaches he once played for: Dick Vermeil (left) of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and ACU’s Wally Bullington (’52).


‘Saving Dr. Brantly’ airs tonight on NBC

matt lauer with dr. kent and amber brantly

NBC’s Matt Lauer with Abilene Christian University alumnus Dr. Kent Brantly and his wife, Amber. Photo courtesy NBC News.

While Dr. Kent Brantly (’03) was lying in a hospital bed in Liberia fighting for his life, he remembers saying to God, “I know you can save me … but even if you don’t, I want to be faithful to you.”

Now, 15 days after the medical missionary was released from Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and declared free of the deadly Ebola virus, Brantly has no doubt that it was God who saved his life.

Dr. Kent Brantly

Dr. Kent Brantly

In an exclusive interview with NBC’s Matt Lauer, Brantly and his wife, Amber (Carroll ’06), relived those first terrifying and emotional days after he learned he was infected with a disease that has up to a 90 percent mortality rate. The interview will air tonight at 9 p.m., Central, on an NBC News Primetime Special “Saving Dr. Brantly: The Inside Story of a Medical Miracle.”

Brantly was serving in Liberia with the aid organization Samaritan’s Purse when an Ebola outbreak hit the West African country. He and his wife chose to stay and continue their work, and Brantly took over treatment of Ebola patients at the hospital.

Parts of Lauer’s interview with the couple aired this week on NBC Nightly News and on The Today Show. Those clips offer a glimpse of what went through the Brantlys’ minds as they realized he might not survive. Amber and their two children had flown back to the United States for a family wedding days before he became ill.

Brantly family

Kent and Amber Brantly with their children.

“I was so thankful that Amber and the kids were not there,” he tells Lauer. “Yeah, I wanted to be close to them. But that gave me great relief, knowing they were gone three days before I had any symptoms. That would have been an overwhelming mental burden, if I had woken up sick next to my wife with one of my kids snuggled up next to me.”

According to NBC, as part of tonight’s one-hour special, Lauer will talk with the doctors who treated Brantly and will visit the isolation room where he was treated.

Brantly earned a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Abilene Christian University in 2003 and later graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine. His wife earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from ACU in 2006.

While undergraduates, both Brantlys served internships overseas through the university’s WorldWide Witness program that gives students from all academic backgrounds the short-term, focused vocational missions experience that shows them how to effectively serve God and others wherever their career takes them.

Watch previews of the interview from The Today Show.

Kent Brantly’s nephew shares lessons learned

If there’s something familiar sounding about the name Brantly Houston, it’s no accident. The Abilene Christian University senior advertising and public relations major is the nephew of Kent Brantly, M.D. (’03), the now world-famous medical missionary whose seemingly miraculous recovery from the Ebola virus still has the medical world buzzing.

ACU senior Brantly Houston, left, with his uncle, Dr. Kent Brantly

ACU senior Brantly Houston, left, with his uncle, Kent Brantly, M.D.

Houston spoke to fellow students and faculty in ACU’s Department of Journalism and Mass Communication during a special Chapel on Sept. 2, sharing lessons he learned dealing with media after his uncle’s illness became international news.

While Kent Brantly was beating the odds to win his fight against Ebola, his namesake’s role was to fend off reporters from major media outlets whose persistence had besieged the family for days. One came all the way from London to ask for an interview, while others have made good use of the phone. At one point, Houston said, calls from inquisitive journalists across Europe and the United States were coming at the rate of one every five minutes.

Houston said the stories he most enjoys telling about his uncle are the ones involving family get-togethers – of birthdays, Christmases and special visits. “I have lots of good memories, and I treasure all the time he invested in me,” Houston said.

But it’s the stories of how Houston dealt with international media contacts that had his fellow students so interested. Here are a few things he said he learned:

  1. When dealing with media, learn to keep personal details to yourself. Reporters will ask for the moon, but it pays to know when to quit talking.
  2. Reporters are persistent. Give them a “no” and many will keep coming. Some will be pushy, while others will be respectful.
  3. Mass media is not always reliable. Houston said every network misstated at least one significant fact or resorted to fear-mongering. “I challenge you future journalists that when you’re working for major news organizations, get your facts straight,” he said.
  4. Networking is important. Houston says he was glad he had older adult friends who knew plenty about crisis communication and were willing to share their knowledge with him on short notice.
  5. Ignore the haters. Donald Trump tweeted and Ann Coulter shared comments by way of an essay that were hurtful to the Brantly family. “You just have to shake it off and remove yourself from the situation,” he said.
  6. Remember to seek spiritual strength. Houston said he has found himself praying “constantly, without ceasing” all through the travails his extended family has faced. He also tried fasting and found the practice to be a source of strength.
  7. Remember your community. “Several people came up and said, ‘Hey, we’re praying for you and your family. How are you doing? I know everyone is saying this to you, but I want to let you know you’re on my mind.’ Well, that was comforting to me every time,” he said.
  8. Keep your ACU community even closer. “Look around the room,” Houston said. “These are people you might grow apart from, but these will be the same people who will rally around you when you need them. Hold your ACU friends near and dear to you, because they really are the ACU difference.”

DaDaDa, DaDaDa: Fans, team on ESPN stage

August 27, 2014:  Abilene Christian vs Georgia St - Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GAThe Abilene Christian University Wildcats didn’t play football this past weekend, but only because they opened the season with a rare midweek game last week. They’ll be on national or regional TV four more times this season but won’t have the captive audience it had Aug. 27 when their matchup with Georgia State University was the only college football game being played, much less broadcast on ESPNU.

August 27, 2014:  Abilene Christian vs Georgia St - Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

McKenzie grew up near Atlanta, where he was a fan of the NFL’s Falcons, who call the Georgia Dome home.

Head coach Ken Collums’ team came four seconds short of making it a memorable one when GSU kicker Wil Lutz booted a 24-yard field goal at the end of the game to spoil a 37-35 Wildcat lead and give the Panthers a 38-37 win. Still, it was a memorable experience to play on national TV in the sports history-rich Georgia Dome, site of the SEC football championship, the Chick-Fil-A Bowl and several NCAA men’s basketball Final Four games.

Sophomore quarterback Parker McKenzie had his own cheering section and the native of Georgia gave his fans plenty to be excited about, completing 30 of 40 passes for 403 yards and four touchdowns in his first college start. That was good enough to be named Southland Conference Offensive Player of the Week and represent the best passing performance of any first-time Wildcat starter in ACU history.

A pass he completed to senior wide receiver Demarcus Thompson in the second quarter of the game (see inset) was No. 6 on SportsCenter’s Top 10 Plays of the day. Thompson had a career day as well, catching nine passes for 156 yards and a touchdown.

ACU alumni, friends and family gathered before the game for a tailgate sponsored by the ACU Alumni Association.

The Wildcats open their home season this Saturday at 6 p.m. when they host Northern Arizona University at Shotwell Stadium.

Demarcus Taylor wowed fans and ESPN with this backward-diving catch of a tipped pass.

Demarcus Thompson wowed fans and ESPN with this backward-diving catch of a tipped pass.

August 27, 2014:  Abilene Christian vs Georgia St - Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA

Family and fans of sophomore offensive lineman Codey Funk of Gridley, Ill.

The Matt (’99) and Amy (Chupp ’00) Melching family from Aragon, Ga., attended the tailgate meal.

The Matt (’99) and Amy (Chupp ’00) Melching family from Aragon, Ga., attended the tailgate meal.

Shey (’06) and Rebecca (Adams ’06) of Kennesaw, Ga.

Shey (’06) and Rebecca (Adams ’06) Howard of Kennesaw, Ga.


Wildcats open season tonight on national TV

Georgia Dome West Plaza 600x600 webIt would be an understatement to refer to Abilene Christian University’s game tonight in Atlanta with Georgia State University as the only game in town.

In fact, it’s the only college football contest being played in America and ESPNU will broadcast it nationally beginning at 6 p.m. CST. ACU’s Alumni Association is hosting a pregame tailgate on site for fans at 5 p.m.

The venue – Atlanta’s 71,250-seat Georgia Dome, home field for GSU and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons – will be the third largest in which ACU has ever played. The Wildcats played in the historic Cotton Bowl (92,100 capacity) in Dallas in 2009, and have twice played in AT&T Stadium (80,000 capacity), home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.

Don’t expect to see a crowd anywhere near that, as attendance at Panther home games can look meager in that large of a venue despite GSU enrolling 32,000 students. Still, it’s a thrill for Wildcat student-athletes to play in the Georgia Dome, which is one of the top sports stadiums in the nation and the largest cable-supported domed stadium in the world. Georgia Dome field 600x600 web

The Georgia Dome hosted the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four in 2002, 2007 and 2013; the NCAA women’s Final Four in 2003; Super Bowl XXVIII and XXXIV; and gymnastics and basketball events for the 1996 Olympic Games. It also is the site of the annual SEC Football Championship, the Chick-fil-A Bowl, Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game(s), and various Georgia high school competitions, among a host of concert and other events.

The 2014 season is just Georgia State’s fourth to play college football. The ambitious Panthers began competition as a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team in 2010, and moved up to Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) last year. They are members of the Sun Belt Conference. After tonight’s game with ACU, the Panthers have games with New Mexico State of the Sun Belt and non-conference opponents Air Force and Washington. The Panthers have a non-conference road game Nov. 22 with Clemson.

The Sun Belt is one of the nation’s most geographically far-flung FBS conferences with member institutions in Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas. ACU plays another Sun Belt member – Troy State – in Troy, Ala., on Sept. 13 in a game that will be broadcast on ESPN3.

The Wildcats’ 2014 schedule (* = Southland Conference game):

  • August 27 – at Georgia State (Georgia Dome), Atlanta, 6 p.m. (ESPNU)
  • September 6 – Northern Arizona, Abilene, 6 p.m.
  • September 13 – at Troy (Ala.), 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • * September 20 – Incarnate Word, Abilene, 3:05 p.m. (Southland Conference TV)
  • * September 27 – at Houston Baptist, Houston, 7 p.m.
  • * October 4– Lamar, Abilene, 7 p.m.
  • October 11 (Homecoming) – Ave Maria, Abilene, 2 p.m.
  • * October 18 – at McNeese State, Lake Charles, La., 6 p.m. (ESPN3)
  • * October 25 – at Sam Houston State, Huntsville, 3 p.m.
  • * November 1 – Central Arkansas, DFW-area location TBA, 2 p.m (Fox Sports Southwest, delayed broadcast)
  • * November 8 – Northwestern (La.) State, Abilene, 2 p.m.
  • * November 15 – at Stephen F. Austin, Nacogdoches, 3 p.m.

Brantly grateful to be released from hospital

Kent Brantley, M.D. (’03) was joined at today’s press conference by his wife, Amber (Carroll ’06).

Kent Brantley, M.D. (’03), was joined at today’s press conference by his wife, Amber (Carroll ’06).

“Today is a miraculous day. I‘m thrilled to be alive, to be well, and to be reunited with my family.”

Those words – the first Abilene Christian University graduate Kent Brantly, M.D. (’03), has said publicly since he contracted the Ebola virus two months ago – came during a Thursday morning news conference at Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital.

Brantly’s hospital care team says he appears to have fully recovered and “can return to his family, to his community and to his life without public health concerns,” according to Bruce Ribner, M.D., an infectious disease specialist and professor in Emory’s School of Medicine.

“We are tremendously pleased with Dr. Brantly and Mrs. [Nancy] Writebol’s recovery and we are profoundly grateful for the opportunity to have applied our training, our care and our experience to meeting their needs. All of us who have worked with them have been impressed by their courage and determination,” said Ribner.

Emory University Hospital officials said Writebol, a nursing coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse, had been released Tuesday.

During his statement to reporters, Brantly spoke about the events leading up to his infection and treatment.

“We moved to Liberia because God called us to serve the people of Liberia,” said Brantly. In March, he and his team began “preparing for the worst” and started treating patients in June, taking every precaution to protect themselves from the disease.

On July 20, Brantly said his wife and children returned to the United States and redoubled his efforts to fight the epidemic. Three days later, his life “took an unexpected turn” with the first sign of his illness.

Over the course of nine days in bed while still in Liberia, Brantly said he prayed God would help him be faithful through illness. “I prayed that in my life or in my death, He would be glorified,” Brantly said.

He said he was moved to learn that there have been “possibly millions” of people praying for him around the world.

“I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and your support, but what I can tell is that I serve a faithful God who answers prayers. … God saved my life – a direct answer to thousands and thousands of prayers,” he said. “Thank you to my family, my friends, my church family and all who lifted me up in prayer, asking for my healing and recovery. Please do not stop praying for the people of Liberia and West Africa for a quick end to this Ebola epidemic.”

Brantly said he and his family are “going away” to reconnect, decompress and regain strength.

“Above all I am forever thankful to God for sparing my life, and I’m glad for any attention my sickness has attracted to the plight of west Africa in the midst of this epidemic,” he said. “Please, continue to pray for Libera and the people of west Africa, and encourage those in positions of leadership and influence to do everything possible to bring this Ebola outbreak to an end.”

Brantly became infected with the Ebola virus while serving a two-year fellowship for Samaritan’s Purse, working at a missionary clinic outside Liberia’s capital. He served his medical residency at John Peter Smith Hospital and attended Southside Church of Christ in Fort Worth before he and his family left for Liberia in October 2013.

Franklin Graham, president and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse, shared a written statement on the organization’s website:

“Today I join all of our Samaritan’s Purse team around the world in giving thanks to God as we celebrate Dr. Kent Brantly’s recovery from Ebola and release from the hospital. Over the past few weeks I have marveled at Dr. Brantly’s courageous spirit as he has fought this horrible virus with the help of the highly competent and caring staff at Emory University Hospital. His faithfulness to God and compassion for the people of Africa have been an example to us all. I know that Dr. Brantly and his wonderful family would ask that you please remember and pray for those in Africa battling, treating and suffering from Ebola. Those who have given up the comforts of home to serve the suffering and the less fortunate are in many ways just beginning this battle. We have more than 350 staff in Liberia, and others will soon be joining them, so please pray for those who have served with Dr. Brantly – along with the other doctors, aid workers and organizations that are at this very moment desperately trying to stop Ebola from taking any more lives.”

Follow coverage from Samaritan’s PurseCNN and USA Today here.

Moore asks grads to shower the world with love

Steven Moore 2014 Aug Commencement 600x400Dr. Steven Moore, associate professor of language and literature, was the featured Commencement speaker Aug. 8 in Moody Coliseum at ACU. A native of Prince William, Va., he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin in 1994, and a master’s (1996) and doctorate (2007) from the University of Nebraska. Moore was named ACU’s Teacher of the Year in 2004 and annually is one of the most popular professors on campus for the energy he brings to his classroom, which as his students know, can just as easily be a local restaurant or the Abilene Zoo or a missile silo as a more conventional venue.

Steven Moore 2009 200x300 1-1

As professor of American literature, I read numerous novels and short stories. I experience vicariously the diverse circumstances that have shaped the characters’ lives and am intrigued by the varied outcomes. However, tonight I want to celebrate your stories.  The astonishing, heart warming and moving stories of this graduating class inspire me. Tonight we celebrate those of you who never gave up on your dreams, and we look forward to the impact that you will have.

Sometimes it is hard to be optimistic about our futures because we live in very difficult times. We live in a stifling environment that is in serious economic decline; people are losing their jobs and their homes; and our country is bitterly and ruthlessly fighting against each other debating such issues as immigration, gun control, race, and gender.

We live in a world where there are brutal and senseless wars in countless lands; we live in a world where dusty bodies travel to lands of early graves because of the scarcity of food, clothing and shelter; we live in a world where incivility is walking hand in hand with apathy; we live in a world where greed is walking hand in hand with power. And we wonder why countless faces no longer believe in love, peace,and hope. However, as Christians we should not give up.

Philosopher and social critic Cornel West said, “… as Christians what we are required to do is to just love our neighbor, which means love especially the least of these – which means give their situation priority – which means talk about our present situation as a matter of national and international emergency in the sense of urgency so that the love takes the form of both thought as well as deeds and to bear witness.”

Since these are urgent and desperate times, we need Christians who are going to bear witness by showering their workplace, by showering their neighborhood, by showering their communities with the radical love of Christ, the kind of radical love that fights for the oppressed, the kind of love that fights for those who are powerless, and the kind of love that fights for what is right!

Crowd reaction to Stephen Moore

To the future CEOs, future professors, future artists, future writers, future theologians, future politicians, future scientists, future judges, future lawyers, future doctors, future nurses, future firefighters or whatever your calling may be: do not become cynical about the difficult times we are living in.

Instead, shower down the love of Christ in radical ways. There is a drought among us, and people are thirsting for love and kindness.

Pray for God to send you to those places where you will become a refreshing rainfall of change.

Pray for God to lead you to cities and towns – near and far – where you will become a reviving rainfall to those souls who are weary and exhausted.

Pray for God to carry you into arenas of disastrous disputes and convoluted challenges where you will become a revitalizing rainfall of wonderful hope and beautiful love.

My dear graduates: Since you all are glorious rainmakers, pray for rain and start carrying your umbrellas because this world is tired of this drought.

Carry your umbrellas and expect God to perform awesome miracles in your future careers.

Carry your umbrellas in the street, in your home, on your job, all alone, and in every hi-way and bi-way!

Carry your umbrellas and expect God to send the rain.

Congratulations on this phenomenal achievement!

Wildcat mom reviews inaugural football camp

We asked Amber (Gilbert ’99) Bunton, ACU manager of creative services, to describe her experience in the July 31 Football 101 Camp for Moms, an inaugural event on campus sponsored by the Wildcat football coaching staff. She is married to former ACU football letterman John Bunton (’94).

Amber (Gilbert ’__) Bunton

Amber (Gilbert ’99) Bunton

I am the daughter of Baby Boomers who lived during the women’s movement in the 1960s. I grew up wearing my Mom’s old “A woman’s place is in the House and the Senate” T-shirt. I appreciate Sheryl Sandberg reminding me to “Lean In.” I hashtag #likeagirl.

I have lived in small-town Texas my entire life and have spent my fair share of time around football. I’ve been to junior high school games, junior varsity high school games, varsity games, college games and powder puff games. I’ve even spent a little time at Jerryworld.

When I saw the advertisement for Abilene Christian University’s first-ever Football 101 Camp for Moms, my feminist side emerged. My first thought was, “So, head coach Ken Collums, do you think because I’m a woman I can’t possibly know about football?”

Admittedly, I only have a big-picture knowledge of the sport. I know the field is 100 yards long; that each team has an offense, defense and special teams; and that the goal is to score more points than the other team. I know the offense has four downs to move 10 yards toward the end zone or the other team gets the ball. I know a touchdown is worth six points with an option to score one or two extra points and a field goal is worth three points.

Assistant head coach Mark R____ prepares to engage ______ in a blocking drill.

Linebackers coach Mark Ribaudo prepares to engage Jana Gray of Abilene in a blocking drill.

I love to hear stories about females excelling in football at all levels. Women like Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State and member of the college playoff selection committee), Liz Heaston (first woman to play and score in a college game), Shannon Eastin (the first woman to officiate an NFL game), Amy Trask (former CEO of the Oakland Raiders) and Erin Andrews (journalist at ESPN and Fox Sports) prove that anyone can be a student of football. You. Go. Girls.

So, my second thought about a football camp for women was, “I want to check this out.”

At the sign-in table in the Teague Special Events Center on July 31, we were greeted by Kendrick Holloway (’10), assistant coach for wide receivers. I noticed a basket labeled “Questions” and asked about it. He explained we could write down a question in case we didn’t want to ask in front of the whole group. Feminist Amber laughed. I watched almost all of the other women sign in and ask about the basket and then laugh. I was proud to see this wasn’t that type of crowd. We were there because we figured we had some things to learn and weren’t embarrassed to ask the professionals.

Steven Thrash, assistant coach for tight ends, escorted us from the Teague Center to Room 114 of the Onstead-Packer Biblical Studies Building and promptly offered us water or a soft drink. I was impressed that the entire football coaching staff was there. Collums began by telling us we were meeting in the same room in which his team meets. I liked that it is in the Biblical Studies Building. Then he said, “I am more nervous about talking to this group of ladies than talking to a room-full of our guys.” I liked that he was nervous.

The schedule for the evening was to review the role each position plays, the role each official plays and to run some drills on the practice field. Collums creatively tasked each of the assistant coaches to compare their players to a particular breed of dog. We learned a quarterback is like a golden retriever, a wide receiver is like greyhound, the offensive line is like a pack of St. Bernards, a tight end is like a German shepherd, the defensive line is like a pack of Doberman pinschers, a safety is like a Weimaraner, a linebacker is like a pit bull, a cornerback is like a Brittany spaniel, a running back is like a Jack Russell terrier and a fullback is like a bulldog. The presentation was equally hilarious and informative.

Head coach Ken Collums talks with participants in Football 101 Camp for Moms.

Head coach Ken Collums talks with participants in Football 101 Camp for Moms.

Questions were welcomed and answered. We talked 4-3 defense and debated shotgun versus pistol formations. We learned the zones each official covers. After a lesson in play calling, Dr. Laura (Cleek ’88) Phillips, associate professor of management, suggested players get a language credit.

We got a glimpse at the intense strategy and nuances of the game. On the practice field we learned stances, hit bags and laughed. We had two-and-a-half hours of fun.

Beyond learning some technical aspects of the game, we witnessed what makes team sports such as football so important to people. We watched the camaraderie among the coaching staff. We saw the passion each man had for his work. We felt the responsibility the coaches feel to positively influence their team. We caught the competitive spirit that pushes players to do more than they think they can. We were reminded that one player can not win a game on his – or her – own. Every member of the team is essential.

My final thought about football camp for women was “Good job Wildcat football staff. I’d recommend this to any of my girlfriends.”

I hope that Volleyball Camp for Dads is as well received.

Go Wildcats!

VIA news: Office relocation work underway


The north entrance to McGlothlin Campus Center is scheduled to reopen this Friday, Aug. 16, after crews finish installing an elevator and reworking the entrance patio and stairs.

When students return to campus this month, they’ll notice some changes as campus offices prepare for the eventual demolition of Chambers Hall.

Upon completion of fundraising for the $75 million Vision in Action initiative, 85-year-old Chambers (and a one-story building currently housing WFF custodial services) will make way for the new Halbert-Walling Research Center. But that means its occupants – psychology, and language and literature, as well as WFF – need new homes, and to make room for them requires setting up and knocking down a series of proverbial dominoes that ultimately involve seven buildings, on and off campus.

Here’s how it works:

  • The Department of Language and Literature is moving into the second floor of the Hardin Administration Building’s south wing, replacing the Graduate School, which mostly has moved into the third floor of Brown Library, replacing a suite of study carrels. Graduate School staff are working in their new offices as construction finishes up, while crews have finished repainting and laying new carpet for language and literature, whose faculty and staff began setting up their new spaces last week.


    Boxes of books have made their way from Chambers Hall to the Hardin Administration Building, new home of the Department of Language and Literature.

  • The Department of Psychology will move into McKinzie Hall, where it already has counseling space, replacing the Office of Student Life, which will consolidate all of its personnel in the lower floor of McGlothlin Campus Center, including the space formerly occupied by the bowling alley. Campus Center renovation is expected to be finished during the fall, meaning psychology will not move out of Chambers until after the semester ends in December.

  • WFF will move across Campus Court into the Nichols House, currently occupied by the Office of Technology Support Services, which will move into the second floor of Zellner Hall, replacing members of University Marketing, who began moving into the renovated Vanderpool Building last week.

Two other projects indirectly related to Vision in Action also are taking place on campus this summer:

In Brown Library, crews soon will move all books on the third floor into compact shelving on the bottom floor, opening up a common area east of the AT&T Learning Studio that will include additional Graduate School offices, including one for the new Graduate School dean, Dr. Stephen Johnson (’90). That project is scheduled for completion in October.

In the Campus Center, crews are renovating the north entrance as part of a project to install an elevator for easier access to the lower level. Along with making the north entry plaza and stairs more unified aesthetically with the surrounding landscaping, crews will shore up the walkway, which had begun to sink after decades of use. The north entrance is scheduled to be open by this Friday, Aug. 16, while Campus Center work is expected to be done in October.

Likewise, Phase 1 of the Vision in Action science component – the renovation of Bennett Gymnasium into laboratories for the Department of Engineering and Physics – is expected to wrap up in October, with classes beginning there in January.

Kinnaman to share research about Mosaics

David Kinnamon

David Kinnaman

David Kinnaman, president of the Barna Group research firm and a best-selling author of books about trends regarding young people’s views of the church, will present “Your Role in the Faith Journeys of the Next Generation” at an Aug. 12 luncheon at Abilene Christian University. The content is especially designed for ministry professionals, church leaders, educators and parents.

ACU’s Siburt Institute for Church Ministry is sponsoring the event in the atrium of the Williams Performing Arts Center from 11:45 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Seating is limited for the $20 event, which includes lunch.

In 2007, Kinnaman co-authored UnChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity … and Why it Matters. In 2011, he wrote You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church … and Rethinking FaithBoth books focus on 18- to 29-year-olds in the Mosaic generation, the first on how young outsiders view the church and the second on those from that demographic who have grown up in the church but are leaving it in large numbers. Kinnaman advises how congregations can begin to more effectively attract and retain them. From UnChristian:

“What are Christians known for? Outsiders think our moralizing, our condemnations, and our attempts to draw boundaries around everything. Even if these standards are accurate and biblical, they seem to be all we have to offer. And our lives are a poor advertisement for the standards. We have set the gameboard to register lifestyle points; then we are surprised to be trapped by our mistakes. The truth is we have invited the hypocrite image.”

From You Lost Me:

“In a misguided abdication of our prophetic calling, many churches have allowed themselves to become internally segregated by age. Most began with the valuable goal that their teaching be age appropriate but went on to create a systematized method of discipleship akin to the instructional model of public schools, which requires each age-group be its own learning cohort. Thus many churches and parishes segregate by age-group and, in doing so, unintentionally contribute to the rising tide of alienation that defines our times. As a by-product of this approach, the next generation’s enthusiasm and vitality have been separated from the wisdom and experience of their elders.”

Register online here by 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8.