These days, the Rev. Stan Toler's conversation quickly turns to basketball — no surprise with the Oklahoma City Thunder headed to the NBA Finals.
Toler, former longtime pastor of Trinity Church of the Nazarene, said his high school hoops coach had a few simple words for him at the beginning of each game.
“I was certainly no James Harden and my coach always told me two things when he put me in the game: Find the leading scorer and foul him until you foul out, and don't shoot,” Toler said, laughing.
The minister shared the memory during a recent interview about his latest book, “Minute Motivators for Athletes” (Dust Jacket Press, www.dustjacket.com; $6.99). Toler, 61, wrote the book, released earlier this year, with Oklahoma native and NFL tight end Billy Bajema, who grew up attending Trinity in south Oklahoma City.
Toler now serves as a general superintendent on the International Church of the Nazarene's Board of Superintendents. He said the book is part of his popular “Minute Motivators” series, which has sold more than 300,000 copies, with installments focused on men, women, teens, teachers, dieters and other groups.
The concept of the series is to offer short essays that provide inspirational reading for the targeted audience, Toler said. In addition to the essays, the book includes motivational quotes from a variety of sports stars and coaches like Larry Bird, Vince Lombardi, Jesse Owens, Nolan Ryan, Steve Prefontaine and Jack Nicklaus. Scriptures also are interwoven throughout the book.