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Collected wisdom: Former Oklahoma football player Bubba Burcham

The former OU football captain resigned last month after six years as Coweta's football coach to pursue a career in ministry.
by Jason Kersey Published: January 11, 2014

Bubba Burcham couldn't resist his true calling any longer.

That's why the former OU football captain resigned last month after six years as Coweta's football coach to pursue a career in ministry.

Burcham, who played high school football at Mustang, walked on at Oklahoma in 1996 after receiving no scholarship offers. He eventually earned a scholarship and became the starting center on the Sooners' 2000 national championship team.

Mark Mangino, OU's offensive coordinator and offensive line coach that year, once said that Burcham, “might be the most reliable person I've ever been around.”

Burcham was an OU graduate assistant coach, then worked his way through the high-school ranks and became Coweta's head coach in 2008.

Burcham will finish out this school year teaching at Coweta before entering the ministry full-time. He and his wife, Miranda, have three biological children and are currently foster parents to 9-month-old twins.

My parents divorced when I was a freshman in high school. It was a very pivotal point, where I was just trying to figure out what's going on. As I grew, there were different men who came along in my life and mentored me. I was just trying to be the same kind of person to these young men as their coach.

Divorce is an epidemic in America. A lot of these young players are having to deal with it themselves. I'm just trying to be there, saying, “Hey, I've been there. I've dealt with that, and here's how God helped me through it.”

I have two sons, so anything I could get my hands on that had to do with manhood, biblical manhood, authentic manhood, I just devoured it. Going to seminars, reading books. At my church, I started leading a men's group.

Going through that, trying to implement that here in coaching, running bible studies out of the field house, my desire to do that just became so great.

There's been a lot of talk this year about coaches and time and effort, and all the hours they put in. Knowing the time and effort it takes to be successful, to do it right, I didn't feel like I was doing the players fair because my heart was not the same.

God puts a path for a man to do something, and you have to follow that path. I couldn't deny what God was doing in my heart. So I jumped off the school bus.

Three years ago, I said, “I'll coach forever. There's nothing else in the whole world I would want to do.”

Two years ago, I said, “I could see something different someday.”

Last year, I said, “Am I avoiding the inevitable? That ministry is calling me?”

So this year, it was just on my mind all the time. “What am I doing? Why am I having these feelings?”

God was pushing me in a different direction.

When we were first married, my wife said, “I want to be a foster parent someday.” I knew a little bit about it, and I said, “No, that ain't happening.” 

Then just over time, her prodding, prayer, seeing the hurt and the pain in so many kids' lives just changed my thinking.

One of my eighth-grade students told me a while back that he had to go to the shelter.  

We went to visit him, and come to find out, he's got a little brother and a little sister. My wife and I just looked at each other and said, “OK. Here we go.” We just jumped off.

My oldest son was 3, and my daughter was maybe 8 weeks old. In a matter of eight weeks, we went from a family of three to a family of seven. We fostered all three of them for about six weeks.

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by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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