Former NFL player and coach Dan Reeves spoke to nearly 1,000 in attendance at the recent Fellowship of Christian Athletes fundraiser breakfast held at the Landers Center in Southaven. The Dallas Cowboys football playing great and NFL coach with three teams related his story about how his football life and faith in Christ have intertwined.
Between 1981 and 2003, Reeves coached the Denver Broncos, New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons in a career that included taking his teams to four Super Bowls, three of which came during his time with the Broncos in 1986, 1987 and 1989. He also coached Atlanta in the 1998 Super Bowl against Denver.
As a player, Reeves played his entire NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys as a running back and was part of two Super Bowl-winning teams. Dallas had signed him as an undrafted free agent out of South Carolina as a safety but moved him to running back, where he spent the majority of his playing career.
Tom Landry later in his playing career asked him to become a player-coach with his staff, where he spent three seasons before becoming a full-time assistant coach in 1972. That led to his being named the Broncos’ head coach in 1981.
Thursday, Reeves credited Landry with getting him involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which he has continued to do today in retirement as a speaker and supporter.
“Tom Landry was like a second dad to me,” Reeves said. “Coach Landry was one of the men who helped to start FCA. He was one of those who thought that coaches had a very good influence on young people. I’ve seen from testimonies what FCA has meant to an awful lot of kids.”
Reeves related his life’s story of growing up in his hometown of Americus, Ga., wryly saying that he grew up with a drug problem.
“I had a drug problem when I was growing up,” Reeves said. “I was drugged to Sunday school, I was drugged to church, and I never missed anything.”
Reeves also explained how his mother impacted his father’s life.
“I grew up in a home where my dad was an alcoholic,” said Reeves. “I watched him turn his life around and join the church. With a third-grade education, he became the superintendent of the Sunday school. I was very fortunate I had a mom and dad that did a great job of raising us.”
Today, Reeves continues to support the mission of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes for the impact it has on coaches and students.
“I learned the Fellowship of Christian Athletes is one of those organizations that can expose young people to the Bible, probably for the first time for some of them about the Word of God,” Reeves noted.
Bob Bakken: firstname.lastname@example.org