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Jenni Carlson's Q&A: Fellowship of Christian Athletes founder Don McClanen

by Jenni Carlson Published: June 27, 2009

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.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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