JESUP — Former NFL coach and player Dan Reeves spoke at the Altamaha Area Fellowship of Christian Athletes annual Fundraising Banquet Friday.
The event was at Coastal Pines Technical College with proceeds going to support FCA chapters in Long, Liberty and Wayne counties.
Reeves, who is from Rome, Ga., told the packed house about how he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior when he was a freshman at Americus High School.
He joked with the crowd, saying that as a child he had a "drug" problem, in that his mother drug him to church every time its doors were open.
He played football for the University of South Carolina and then walked on as a free-agent with the Dallas Cowboys in 1965.
He said that during his rookie season, Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, who was one of the founding organizers of the FCA, asked him to speak at some high schools to tell kids about what Jesus had done for him. One point that Reeves stressed was how Christ would always be there for them if they accepted him.
"I could always get on my knees and talk to him (Jesus) and ask him for guidance in my life," Reeves said.
Reeves also spoke about playing time with the Cowboys and how during his early years they were known as the NFL team that could not win the "big game." That title finally was lifted in 1972 when the Cowboys beat the Miami Dolphins 24-3 in the Super Bowl.
Reeves said Landry asked him in 1970 to be a player/coach for the Cowboys and this was his first experience in coaching. After being mentored by Landry for 10 years, in 1981 Reeves became the youngest head coach in the NFL when he took over the reins of the Denver Broncos. He said before he left Dallas, Landry gave him two pieces of advice that he has never forgotten.
In addition to Reeves speaking, emcee Victor Drawdy interviewed a coach and a player who worked with the FCA. Former Long County High School assistant head coach and defensive coordinator Jeff Miller was the coach and he talked about FCA and the chaplains who work in it.
"At Long County we have Eric Sizemore as our chaplain, and let me tell you he is a wonderful man who continually ministers to the guys on the sidelines, he’s a great inspiration and I can’t say enough about Eric," Miller said.
He also talked about the faith of both the players and coaches at Long County, saying that no matter how tired or hot the players and coaches were, many always attended the "FCA huddle" fellowship time that Sizemore leads once a week.
"All I can say about the FCA is that it is a big part of many of these kids’ lives," Miller said.
Altamaha Area FCA Director Dylan Brown said the banquet was sponsored by Bone and Joint Institute of South Georgia.