Chaplain serves as mentor for WKU football team

Sean Pugh, a 2006 WKU graduate, is the character coach, or chaplain, for the football team. Pugh is in his fourth season doing the job. “I get to impact peoples’ lives — be a resource to young people,” he said.

Shane Wood

Sean Pugh’s role with the WKU football program goes beyond the field. The Toppers’ football character coach and chaplain said he is focused on faith and eternity.

“Wins and losses are important, especially this being my alma mater, but I am more concerned with where the guys spend eternity,” Pugh said. “I am a firm believer in Jesus Christ. I am a firm believer that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life. I believe that no one gets to the Father, except through Him.”

Pugh said Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and God’s love is shown through Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Pugh said he stands firm in his beliefs, but he isn’t going to force his faith on other people.

“I believe that Jesus is the only way to salvation,” he said. “I do believe that and stand firm in that, but I am not going to push that on someone else. I am going to love everybody.”

Pugh said there are guys on the team with all different beliefs and backgrounds.

“I love every last dude on that team,” Pugh said. “I want the guys to become men. I want them to make a difference in the world. I want them to be great husbands and great fathers.”

Franklin, Tenn., redshirt junior Luke Stansfield, who plays as an offensive linemen for WKU, said he is just one of the players that have been impacted by Pugh’s presence on the team.

“Sean can relate to just about anybody,” Stansfield said. “The biggest thing Sean brings is a genuine faith.”

Stansfield said that Pugh is a good example for the team and a significant figure in and out of the locker room.

Pugh leads coaches’ devotions and individual player Bible studies. Stansfield said Pugh eats lunch with him every couple weeks just to see how he is doing.

“I thought college would be a time where my faith would be challenged, but I can honestly say that my relationship with the Lord wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Sean,” Stansfield said.

Stansfield said Pugh is helping him and his fellow players develop as men, which includes teaching them about money management, time management and community service. Pugh also talks to different organizations on a daily basis to help the team serve the community.

Head Coach Willie Taggart said he greatly admires Pugh’s character through working with his athletes.

Taggart affirmed that any player can come to Pugh, regardless of their faith or background.

Taggart said Pugh is just a “great mentor” and a “great guy.”

“Sean is one of those guys that all our players can go to and talk to about personal problems or football,” Taggart said.

Taggart said Pugh has been influential to the team, especially after what they have been through recently.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard a negative thing come out of him,” Taggart said.

Pugh was raised in Huber Heights, Ohio, by his mother, who he said has been one of his biggest influences.

During his senior year of high school, Pugh and his mother came on an official visit to WKU. As soon as they got to campus, they fell in love with the university. Pugh then decided Bowling Green was the place where he was going to play football.

From 2002-2006, Pugh was an offensive lineman for the Hilltoppers. At that same time, Taggart was the offensive coordinator.

Currently while serving as the team’s chaplain, Pugh also helps serve as a university pastor at Hillvue Heights Church.

Taggart said that Pugh’s character hasn’t changed over the years. Pugh’s love for God and people has remained the same.

“Same character, same personality,” Taggart said.