Valdosta Daily Times

December 8, 2013

Dinner with a Legend

Desiree Murphy
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — The Valdosta State University Fellowship of Christian Athletes hosted “Dinner with a Legend” with special guest Fisher DeBerry Thursday night.

The event was held at Crosspointe Church and featured a seafood dinner for attendees.

The night began with Valdosta State University athletes and members of the VSU Fellowship of Christian Athletes escorting guests to their designated tables.

Mary Gooding, Valdosta State University FCA board member and volleyball chaplain, welcomed guests to the dinner and thanked everyone that makes the VSU FCA the successful organization that it is today. An opening prayer was presented by Bubba Thomas, VSU FCA board member and football co-chaplain.

This night honored not only the VSU FCA as a whole, but also awarded two of its members with the Ben Jackson Athlete of the Year award. Football player Chris Pope was named Male Athlete of the Year while soccer player Blakely McClellan was named Female Athlete of the Year.

Shane Goodwin, VSU FCA campus director, gave his heartfelt testimony to attendees. He explained how much of an impact Christianity and sports has had on his life. A plan for the future of the VSU FCA was also presented along with an opportunity for guests to become partners with FCA through donations. 

VSU head football coach David Dean introduced guest speaker Fisher DeBerry.

DeBerry is a prominent member in the Christian community as well as in the sports community. His contributions to the sporting community span from his 23 years as head coach at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he led 17 of his 23 teams to a winning record, with 12 capturing bowl bids to his coaching the Falcons to three conference championships. He is the “winningest coach” at any service academy, with a remarkable 35-11 record against Army and Navy.

DeBerry was named coach of the year in 1985 when his team finished with a 12-1 record, received the State Farm Coach of Distinction Award, and is a member of the South Carolina Sports Hall of Fame and Wofford College Hall of Fame.

Off the field, he has made himself a prominent member of the Christian community and devotes much of his time to helping others in need. He was inducted in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hall of Champions in 2004 and has assisted in fund-raising efforts for the Ronald McDonald House, American Cancer Society, Easter Seals, March of Dimes, Salvation Army, and the American Heart Association. He also has the Fisher DeBerry Foundation which provides children with opportunities they may not otherwise have.

DeBerry, a current resident of Oklahoma, expressed honor in being asked to speak at this particular function and hopes that people will “get excited about supporting FCA.

“I have been involved with FCA since 1963,” says DeBerry. “To me, it is the most important organization in America.”

He was also able to see some of his former players who are currently at Moody Air Force Base and reminisced fondly on the memories shared with these men.