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Gridiron vet Les Steckel to lead Fellowship of Christian Athletes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (BP)–Former NFL and college football coach Les Steckel has been selected as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes’ new president/CEO.

Steckel, who has participated in FCA activities since 1974, will succeed the national ministry’s retiring president, Dal Shealy, on March 1. Shealy will remain involved in the operations of the Kansas City, Mo.,-based organization as director of the new FCA Football Coaches Ministry.

Steckel, 48, said he is “humbled and honored to have been chosen to be the next president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In Dal Shealy’s tenure over the last 13 years, the ministry has experienced tremendous growth. As he passes the baton … he will leave a legacy of integrity and servanthood. With God’s guidance and grace, I will do the same.”

Steckel, a coach for more than 30 years, currently is a national motivational speaker and member of Brentwood (Tenn.) Baptist Church where, as “coach in residence,” he has led several men’s discipleship programs.

During his 22-year NFL coaching career, Steckel served as the head coach of the Minnesota Vikings and helped guide two Super Bowl teams as offensive coordinator — the 1984-85 New England Patriots and the 2000 Tennessee Titans.

FCA, founded in 1954, is one of the nation’s leading ministries to student athletes and coaches. FCA “Huddles” meet regularly on nearly 8,000 junior high, high school and college campuses for Bible study, prayer and other faith-based activities. Other FCA initiatives include summer camps, coaches and community ministries, Sharing the Victory magazine and the nationally recognized anti-drug program, “One Way 2 Play — Drug Free!”

In addition to the Vikings, Patriots and Titans, Steckel has been on the staff of five other NFL teams and, earlier, the University of Colorado, U.S. Naval Academy and Brown University.

He also was an infantry officer in Vietnam and has retired from 30 years of service in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves. He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in athletic administration from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn.

A native of Northampton, Pa., Steckel and his wife, Chris, have three grown children, Christian, Lesley and Luke.

Shealy, a member of First Baptist Church in Raytown, Mo., and former head coach at the University of Richmond during 28 years of football coaching, recounted in his column in Sharing the Victory that he and his wife, Barbara, “I often share that coaching football was the first half of my life, and FCA was the second. Now I’m moving into overtime.

“As I pass the baton of FCA presidency to Coach Les Steckel during our semiannual board meeting at the end of February, I do so with a positive and excited attitude of joy and confidence that Les will lead FCA with integrity of heart and skillful hands.

“Barbara and I are FCA life-timers, and we will continue to lead the FCA Football Coaches Ministry. We will serve the coaches and their families, their players and overall programs. We want to focus on the truth of Christ and help the football coaches understand the impact they have on and off the field,” Shealy wrote.

“Just as quarterbacks and running backs are only successful through the work of the offensive line, Barbara and I have been successful through the great ‘offensive line’ at FCA,” he continued. “We’ve had great Board of Trustee members, Home Office staff, regional directors, field staff, coaches, athletes, volunteers, local leadership board members and donors who have given unselfishly. All have gone above and beyond to lead and serve the Lord through the ministry movement of FCA.

“I want to thank each and all of you for giving to the Lord through FCA. The leadership team that we have now is the best ever, and they don’t care who gets the credit, as long as the job gets done. They truly are fulfilling Colossians 3:23, which states: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men….'”