Ole Miss Football Coach Houston Nutt is an alumnus of Oklahoma State University where the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) originated.
Nutt's ties to the organization run deep.
"I've been involved in the FCA since I was in high school at Little Rock Central and I have seen it change young people's lives for the better many, many times," said Nutt. "Yes, they are here to get an education and to play football, but there's more to it than that. It's about developing as a human being and doing it the right way.
"The direction and spiritual guidance a student-athlete can get from the FCA has a value that cannot be measured."
The organization is critical, now more than ever, according to Nutt.
"We get a lot of kids who have no Fathers in the home, about 50% is a rough estimate. There is no male authority figure in their lives and they are not used to a coach telling them what they have to do and when they have to do it," Houston related. "To have someone like our FCA Director Jonathan Rainey in their lives teaching them the right path to walk is very, very important.
"As coaches, we can be a big influence on teaching them how to be a man, avoiding the temptations of college life and things like that, but the FCA reinforces those ideals from a different approach. Sometimes we are barking at them and demanding whereas the FCA is somewhere they can be heard and open up."
Nutt said he was fortunate growing up to have had all the proper influences in his life, but many children are not as lucky.
"I had strong parents, FCA, Bible School and every advantage to be led in the right direction, so I want those things for our players. I want them to have that source and that avenue. Coaches can't provide it all and there are always problems young people have to deal with. The FCA is there to help them grow, prosper and deal with life in a Christian way," Houston explained. "They need an outlet, a comfort zone, and to me the comfort zone on campus has always been FCA."
Houston has a great appreciation of what Rainey does at Ole Miss, almost singlehandedly.
"Jonathan works all the sports and is stretched thin, but he does a great job with all our student-athletes," Nutt closed. "He has a great relationship with our players - they trust him - and that is what I look for. He's approachable and can talk to everyone under any circumstance. He's always there when they need him and that's what I go by. I think the FCA and Jonathan are as important to our football team as anything we do here at Ole Miss."
As Nutt said, Rainey and the Ole Miss FCA Chapter reach much further than football. Men's Basketball Coach Andy Kennedy also understands the importance of Rainey's ministry.
"As the men's basketball coach, I understand that my role as the leader of our team far exceeds mere wins and losses on the court," Kennedy noted. "I have a responsibility to our players in helping them in the process of developing as men. Jonathan has been very instrumental in assisting our staff in this process through his encouragement, mentoring and by challenging our players spiritually. We are very fortunate to have a strong FCA Chapter and to have Jonathan on our team."
Baseball Coach Mike Bianco was also quick to respond with a strong testimonial of the Ole Miss FCA Chapter and Rainey.
"Jonathan is very vital in the lives of our players. His inspirational stories to our team are very important motivators for us on game days and the time he takes to get to know each of our players on a personal level is just as important," Bianco added. "We would not be as complete a program as we are if it were not for his influence. We appreciate him very much."
As most of you are aware, the FCA is self-supporting and depends on donations and special projects, such as the annual FCA Golf Tournament, for its existence.
Rainey invites each of you to participate in the FCA at Ole Miss.
The address for your helping hand to this cause is: FCA, P.O. Box 788, University, MS, 38677.
Give generously to this vital, wonderful cause.
The following are links to getting on the FCA e-mail list, viewing a video about the Ole Miss FCA Chapter and watching an FCA testimonial by Ole Miss football player Jason Cook.
To Register Your E-Mail With FCA
Jason Cook Testimonial
FCA vital at Ole Miss
OM Spirit Top Stories
Spirit's Take: Predicting Ole Miss - AuburnOle Miss hosts Auburn Saturday at 6:15 p.m. The Ole Miss Spirit staff gives their thoughts on the game ahead.
OM SpiritYesterday at 12:30 PM
Who's In the Running for LB Monty Rice?Monty Rice makes a lot of noise on the field with his play at linebacker, but off the field, he likes to stay quiet. The talented linebacker has cut his list of schools, so who…
Scout FootballYesterday at 5:55 AM
Does New Offer Change Things for Burley?Jeffery Burley has been committed to Wake Forest since July, but an offer from an SEC school this week has him re-thinking things. Get the latest on Burley here...
Scout FootballYesterday at 5:40 AM
Freeze Frames: Players Meeting and MoreOle Miss head coach Hugh Freeze met the media Wednesday to preview Auburn, as well as discuss the recent players-only meeting, the development of Charles Wiley and more.
OM SpiritWednesday at 4:21 PM
Inside the Matchup: Auburn vs Ole MissThe Tigers and Rebels square off from Oxford
Scout CFBWednesday at 1:15 PM