April 30, 2008
Wes Yeary, a national leader in the training and development of Fellowship of Christian Athletes college team chaplains, will return to his alma mater as Sports Chaplain, Baylor University Director of Athletics Ian McCaw announced Wednesday.
"Creating the athletics chaplain position has been a high priority for our department," McCaw said. "We are truly blessed to have recruited one of the nation's finest athletics chaplains in Wes Yeary. He will have an incredible impact on the lives and spiritual development of our student-athletes, and we are excited to welcome him back to Baylor."
Yeary, who played defensive back for coach Grant Teaff's Bears from 1983-86 and was a member of three bowl teams, will join the Baylor staff June 1 from Auburn, where he has served since 2006. In addition to his national FCA work, Yeary coordinated the chaplain internship program hosted by Auburn and assisted with chaplain services for Auburn student-athletes.
"Wes was a spiritual leader on our teams when he was a student and in the intervening years he has committed himself to the spiritual development of athletes through his work with the FCA," Teaff said. "Wes will be a tremendous asset to Baylor football, the athletic department and the university as a whole."
In his new position, Yeary will oversee Baylor's team chaplain program and have daily interaction with Baylor's student-athletes with an emphasis on spiritual growth and support. He will also maintain Baylor's relationship with FCA, develop faith-based programming and organize student-athlete bible studies, prayer groups and small support groups. Yeary will work directly with the Baylor football program as its team chaplain.
"When you're talking about America's top team chaplains, you're talking about Wes Yeary," said Baylor head football coach Art Briles. "We are honored to bring back one of Baylor's own. His leadership with our student- athletes and staff will transcend generations."
After earning his undergraduate degree from Baylor in education (emphasis on recreation and church recreation), the Fort Worth, Texas, native spent five years as a football coach at Coral Gables (Fla.) High School from 1988-92. Yeary coached defensive backs for two years and spent three seasons working with quarterbacks and running backs. During that same time, he also served with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at the University of Miami, where he worked with Hurricane linebackers coach Tommy Tuberville, and in Miami's inner-city high schools.
"I am thrilled to have the privilege of coming back home after all these years and getting to give back to a place where I experienced such tremendous growth in my relationship with Christ," Yeary said. "It is an honor to get to serve under godly men like Ian McCaw and Coach (Art) Briles who have such a strong desire to provide opportunities for spiritual growth for student athletes and have such a passion to bring glory to God through athletics.
"I had the privilege of getting to be a part of some great teams here at Baylor, but even greater than all the wins and bowl games was how God used the game of football, and a Head Coach committed to Him to lead young men into a relationship with Him and equip them to impact in the world through Jesus Christ," he added. "For me, coming back to Baylor and serving our coaches and athletes is an opportunity that could impact our campus, community and even our world for Jesus Christ as they leave and go compete, work, or serve somewhere in the state of Texas, across the U.S. and in countries all over the world."
Prior to his time at Auburn, Yeary served as FCA Campus Director and Team Chaplain for the football, basketball and baseball teams at Ole Miss from 1996 through 2005. He also worked as the recruiting coordinator and receivers coach at Carson-Newman College from 1994-95 and directed a recreation program through Atlanta's Dunwoody Baptist Church from 1992-94.
A licensed (1992) and ordained (1994) minister, Yeary also served as Chaplain at the 1994 Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
"I hope to be an encourager, an example, and a servant that models the love of Christ, shares the truth of God's Word and helps them grow through the challenges and adventure of the college experience by building relationships and walking with them through the highs and the lows each day," Yeary said.
"Through team chapels and Bible studies I hope that seeds can be planted that God will grow in His time and in His way and I pray that those who do have a relationship with Christ can grow even deeper in their knowledge and understanding," he added. "Another role will be that of an intercessor. I know I will need to pray with and for them on a daily basis. More than anything I just hope I can represent Christ in a way that brings Him glory and draws others to Him."