Jenni Carlson: FCA is now 55 years old. It still looks pretty good at 55, doesn't it?
Don McClanen: It was incorporated in Oklahoma in '54. It's just a sheer miracle of grace. God continues to bless it.
JC: You started FCA while you were coaching basketball at Eastern Oklahoma State in Wilburton. Times were different then, but even now, FCA is still vital and vibrant. Why does it still work after all this time?
DM: I would guess that answer might be that it's maintained its humility. That's a remarkable for an athletic program to do that. (Laughs.) Even to have humility as an organization has to be of God. I just came from Haiti a couple days ago.
JC: Oh, really?
DM: Haiti is broken, and it does know it. The United States is broke, and it doesn't know it. It's finding this out right now in this crisis. We have been drunk with greed and all of that kind of thing. The answer as near as I can guess it is that FCA, in spite of the tendency to hero worship and get carried away with the numbers and the success, has been blessed to retain its humility.
JC: What is it like when you interact with current FCA members and they tell you how important the organization is to them?
DM: I just agree with their assessment that it's meaningful and relevant and down to earth. FCA ... I hope it continues to be open to the danger (of not remaining humble). There's an old monastic saying — when you become disciplined, you automatically grow and the growth invariably destroys the discipline. The discipline breeds abundance, and then, the abundance destroys the discipline. It's a vicious cycle. FCA ... they have been blessed to realize it. They realize God is the one who is doing this, God is the one who is in control, and God is the one who gives the growth.
JC: You started the whole thing, though, and now, the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum has named a chapel in your honor. It was dedicated Friday.
DM: It's just overwhelming. It's a surprise and honor.
JC: The room is beautiful, too.
DM: It's really amazing. Just another of a series of miracles unfolding.
JC: You know, they don't usually name chapels and churches and such after folks who aren't saints.
DM: (Laughs.) There are so many special things happening. I don't know how to evaluate one over another. It's just a miracle of grace.
JC: Did you have anything to do with the design of the chapel and the stained glass?
DM: No. They just sent to me the pictures of it and said, “This is what we're doing.”
JC: There's even a bronze bust of you.
DM: I didn't know that was being done.
JC: Looks pretty good.
DM: Before they had the sign up, I went up and said, “Who's this?” (Laughs.)
JC: Oh, come on.
DM: It looks good.