Trained as a civil engineer, Cecil Sowell has now dedicated his life to engineering doorways and support to young men and women athletes in their ongoing faith of God, or their introduction to the Christian faith.
Sowell, the Director of Field Development for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in the northwest part of Mississippi, including DeSoto County, credits God with combining his love for the Lord and for college football, a doorway initially opened through his friendship with the late Bob Patterson, a well-known coach and former Memphis athletic director.
“The annual breakfast that the Memphis FCA has is in conjunction with the Liberty Bowl,” Sowell said. “Coach Patterson, who I consider a dear friend, always had a table at the breakfast and most years would invite me to sit at his table. They generally had a comment card that if you wanted to be involved in FCA, you could fill it out and I did.”
Sowell added that since he lived in Mississippi, the Memphis FCA director passed the information on to John Engstrom, who is the multi-area director for the FCA in northwest Mississippi.
“A few weeks later, John came by to see me in my office, as I was still practicing engineering at the time,” Sowell said. “John invited me to join his board and I agreed to do that. Being a Christian and somewhat a follower of college football, I agreed to be on the board as a volunteer.”
The volunteer work became a full-time position in 2013 with the Memphis native now living in Hernando joining FCA in the Field Development role. One year later, Sowell added Director of Events to his responsibilities with FCA.
Two main events that Sowell has charge over is an annual golf outing and the annual FCA breakfast, set this year for Feb. 8 at the Landers Center in Southaven with former NFL player and coach Dan Reeves as the featured speaker.
“We’ve had the golf event for 11 years now and I think we started out with about 12 teams playing and this past year we had 51 teams,” said Sowell. “The breakfast started out with 50 tables. We grew to 91 tables with Brian Bosworth last year.”
The work that Sowell does, which can rightfully be called his ministry, allows him to reflect his love for the Lord and for athletics.
“I think that it is important that we have a spiritual component in the athletic teams and programs that we support in DeSoto County,” Sowell said. “That’s important to me. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the more well-known coaches and athletes that are believers in the Lord and they share the same passion.”
In addition to his FCA work, Sowell is involved as a Gideon, speaking in area churches to represent that organization, and is a greeter and usher at his home church of Hernando Baptist Church.
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer and may be reached at 662-429-6397 ext. 240.