FCA focuses on rebuilding with new adviser, members

Marlene Brueggmann

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes on Western’s campus has had its share of ups and downs.

After building one of the biggest huddles in the country, FCA almost vanished from Western’s campus. Then the recently re-established group lost its adviser this year.

FCA’s last adviser was Donald Spann, the strength coach for Western’s men’s basketball team.

Spann was forced to leave Western when Darrin Horn became head coach and brought his own person for that job.

Brodhead junior Cheyenne Carmack is part of the FCA leadership team at Western. She said when former head coach Dennis Felton left without taking Spann with him, it was unclear whether Spann would stay.

“When we left for the summer, we thought Donald would still be there,” Carmack said.

But when the fall semester began, FCA found itself without an adviser.

Spann could not be reached for comment. Carmack said that he is at home in Charleston, S.C., looking for a new job.

“It was a loss of awesome leadership.” Carmack said.

David Abernethy, the new strength coach for the football team, stepped in as Western’s FCA adviser two weeks ago.

“I want to try to help young people find Christ,” he said.

Carmack said that the involvement of coaches helps FCA reach out to the different athletic teams.

“It is really exciting for Coach Abernethy to come in,” she said.

She said that she was very involved with FCA in high school, but there was no huddle on campus when she came to Western.

She and some friends went to a meeting of the FCA volunteer board for the Barren River region in September 2002.

There Carmack met Eric Oliver, a member of the volunteer board.

Oliver was already involved in fund raising and an effort to re-establish FCA on campus. He had also approached Spann, who had an FCA background, about taking the adviser position for a new huddle.

The first meetings of the reformed Western group began in late November 2002.

Oliver said the volunteer board is working to create a new administrative position for the Barren River region. The full-time position would include advising, overseeing fundraising, promotion and bringing FCA huddles into middle and high schools.

“Our long term vision is to get FCA really big and strong,” Oliver said.

And the group is already growing.

Shelbyville sophomore Chris Nation attended an FCA meeting for the first time last Sunday and plans to become a regular.

He said he enjoys the fellowship with other Christian athletes because they are more focused, determined and make a lot of sacrifices.

“I’ll definitely be back,” Nation said.

FCA meets at 6 p.m. every Sunday in the Tate Page Hall auditorium.

Reach Marlene Brueggemann at [email protected]