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January 12, 2011

Catching up with Chris Rix

Warchant.com recently caught up with former FSU quarterback Chris Rix:

Talk about the 03' UF game, what you remember about it…was that your favorite game ever?

I remember the 2003 Florida game in Gainesville like it was yesterday. It was a sunny, fall afternoon with a little chill in the air…but perfect football weather in my opinion. I remember how much I liked our game plan we had installed that week. It wasn't a conservative one like we often had in big games like this, i.e. Miami. The plan was to 'attack' the Gator defense because the staff felt we had, "Nothing to lose." Coach JB and Coach Dickey seemed to just "let us play." I wish we had done that more often. I recall it being such a back and forth game with both teams making big, emotional plays. I remember the controversial calls by Jack Childress and his crew (I personally agreed with them), and Gus Scott perfectly knocking the ball out of my hand on a QB keep and Keiwan Ratliff returning it for TD. I remember Lorenzo Booker and other teammates getting my back after that play and reminding me there was still a lot of game left to be played and that we would be okay. I recall Kamerion Wimbley coming up behind me after Chris Leak threw a TD pass to Ben Troupe (man, Leak threw a pretty ball) and saying so confidently in my ear, "Now, this is your time, this is your time." I remember that last drive and fumbling a shotgun snap while scanning the defense and looking at the coverage and thinking, "Dadgummit, Chris!" Then came 4 and 14 and the great catch "D-Rob" made on a dig route with a pass thrown a tad behind him…Clutch. Lastly, I remember the exuberating feeling that flowed from my feet all the way to the top of my head when I saw PK stand up in the end-zone with the ball in his hand. All I could do is fall to my knees and thank God that He answered that 'prayer' I threw up.

You ask if it was my favorite game ever? That's a great question…When asked that a few games come to mind…the shootout with Maryland 01', 1st bowl win vs. Virginia Tech in the 02' Gator Bowl, Florida 02' @ Doak, getting revenge on Notre Dame in 03' in South Bend, and even the 04' Gator Bowl vs. West Virginia and concluding my career with a Victory. If we had had made the last second kick in the 02' Miami game, in which we all fought so hard or the kick with about 5 minutes left in the 03' Orange Bowl, I would probably add one of those games on the list…or if I protected the ball more in the 01', 03', 04' UM games, one of those might have made the list too! : ) However, being that this win was against our biggest rival, and seeing the look on the 'Gator Nation' after we beat them in such dramatic fashion…I would have to say that it WAS my favorite and most memorable game as a Seminole.

What is your title now and what is life like for Chris Rix these days?

This past year I was called into full-time ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. For years, FCA has been a ministry near and dear to my heart because Coach Bowden and our Chaplain Clint Purvis introduced me to FCA while at FSU. I will always remember the weekly Bible studies that my teammates and I would attend to hear coaches share about their faith like Bobby Bowden, Sue Semrau, Mark Richt, Dave Van Halenger, and former athletes like Ron Miller, Adrian Crawford, Clay Shiver, Peter Boulware, Cory Simon, Charlie Ward, Kez McCorvey, and others! Their testimonies about their faith in God were instrumental in helping me grow and deepen my faith while in college as a young man.

I have always loved sports. Over the past few years, I started to develop a real heart for ministry, but I didn't know in what arena that would be in. When I was presented with the opportunity to minister to athletes and coaches for Christ, I knew in my heart it was something the Lord was calling me to. It is now an honor to serve as a Director of Ministries for FCA and have the awesome opportunity and responsibility to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ on multiple middle school, high school, and college campuses on a daily basis.

Tell us about your work with FCA? What do you do?

The neat thing about FCA is that it is a sports ministry that primarily takes place on school campuses. FCA ministry takes place on many private school campuses, however we strategically target public campuses where the Gospel is seldom, if ever presented and discussed. There are definitely challenges in starting an FCA ministry in public schools, however in many states there are laws that permit FCA to be present if there are any other non-curriculum clubs that meet on that campus as well. FCA is not a church, but rather an extension of the church. One of our goals is to reach athletes and coaches and help them find a healthy church if they do not attend or have never been to church.

The Bible studies or "Huddles" as they are called present a comfortable, casual environment in a coaches or teachers classroom where students and coaches can go mobilize with teammates and other coaches to hear the Gospel of Jesus and share their faith with each other.

FCA also holds various outreach events, such as sport-specific camps around the country. This summer, FCA held over 300 camps with top college and pro coaches covering nearly every sport you can think of concluding with powerful chapel services every evening.

What have you been able to teach the students who go through your program?

I believe the biggest thing that we try to teach students that attend FCA is that God has a plan for your life. He has a great destiny for you, and you have to want to find out what that destiny is by reading His word and pursuing a relationship with him. Not just 'religion', but a real, living, active relationship! It is amazing when you see the look on some of the students faces when they hear something like that for the first time. Especially when you talk to a young athlete who is going through tough times at home, or another one who was just chewed out by a coach at practice, or a young lady who just broke up with her boyfriend and is contemplating having an abortion. I see that this world is full of more negative influences and lies towards our youth and I love FCA because it presents a message of hope and that "you can make it in life!"

How has Bobby Bowden inspired you not only for FCA but in life?

I will always consider Coach Bowden more than a coach to me. To me, Bobby Bowden is a friend, mentor and hero. He has impacted and influenced me as a husband, father, coach, friend and man of God. I remember when I called him to tell him that I had been called into ministry with FCA, he was so excited exclaiming, "That's great boy, and you're perfect for that!" I will also never forget that he was the first one to step up and support my ministry, without me even asking. I just wish I could have won more games for the man. As far as the men who recruited me, Coach Bowden and Coach Mark Richt, I will forever remember that they stood for something and set themselves apart from most other coaches I have had throughout my entire athletic career. For their influence and genuine care, I will always be grateful and consider them heroes of mine.

What's it like being a father?

That question is hard to answer in words, but I would say that the simplest way to describe being a father to my son Luke is, "the Grace of God physically present in my life." For a long time, I told God that I 'wanted' a boy…but that all I 'needed' was a healthy baby. He was so gracious to bless me with both! Also, with my background and various challenges throughout my upbringing, it was extremely humbling to realize that God would entrust a precious life to me (and my Wife, Anita) using me to help raise and train such a precious gift from Him. There is something about kneeling down, spreading your arms out wide and having your child smile back at you and run into your arms! I love being a daddy and pray for many more if that is His will.

To find out how to support Chris' FCA ministry contact: Mark Olson, FSU Alum (78') and FCA Board Member @ (949) 230-5864 or email: MTOlson@Armstrong.com. You may also visit: www.lafca.org for more information


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