College Sports

A journey of faith through sports for new FCA president

New FCA president Shane Williamson, who played football at Wofford coached in South Carolina, with former NFL coach Les Steckel.
New FCA president Shane Williamson, who played football at Wofford coached in South Carolina, with former NFL coach Les Steckel. Special to The State

Shane Williamson gave his life to Christ at a Fellowship of Christian Athletes camp in Black Mountain, N.C., when he was 16 years old. Since then, he has been on a journey to help spread God’s word through sports.

That journey has led the Loris native to be named the FCA’s eighth president and CEO, effective Jan. 1. Williamson, who played football at Wofford College, has been serving as the executive director of field ministry for the FCA.

Before joining the FCA, Williamson coached high school football in different parts of South Carolina from 1992-2002. He has served in several different roles with the FCA since joining the organization in 2002.

“After all these years of coaching and being a part of FCA, I’m incredibly humbled and honored to lead a ministry as significant as this one,” he told The State.

Williamson credits his high school coach at Green Sea Floyds, Tim Renfrow, as well as Wofford coach Mike Ayers, for providing the driving force for him to get involved in coaching and eventually the FCA.

“Going into coaching gave us the opportunity to really see the whole thing come full circle. To be able as a coach, then to invest in our athletes and coaches with FCA and run huddles and take those kids to camp is really cool,” Williamson said. “It was really cool to do for others what my coach had done for me. I had lots of great times and success in coaching.”

Renfrow, the current athletic director at Socastee High and the father of Clemson receiver Hunter Renfrow, remains in touch with Williamson. He is not surprised by his former player’s career path.

“He was very involved in our school chapter. That was when he was introduced to FCA. He loved athletics and loved the Lord and tied those things together,” Renfrow said. “He was a leader. That you could see from an early age. It was fun watching the process. He played for me and coached for me. I don’t think he was looking to climb the ladder, it just happened because that’s who he is. People see his passion for the Lord and athletics.”

When Williamson started working for the FCA in 2002, he was hired to be the area director for Upstate, South Carolina.

Even though he enjoyed the work, he expected to get back into coaching. That changed after a conversation with Dal Shealy, who was the president of the FCA at the time.

Williamson told Shealy that he was interested in becoming a coach again and Shealy replied with a life-changing response.

“It helped me to understand how FCA could be a big part of their lives, a big part of their marriage, a big part of their team. That was a real defining moment personally and in my journey with FCA as a staff person.”

Williamson moved to Atlanta in 2005 and served as the multi-area director for Metro Atlanta until 2011 before becoming the vice president of field ministry for the Carolinas in 2011 and keeping that role until 2014.

He has held his current role of executive director of field ministries since 2014 and believes his previous jobs with the FCA and as a coach have prepared him for his next responsibility of being the CEO and president.

Williamson’s passion for the FCA comes from personal experiences and hearing examples on a daily basis of how the organization is changing lives for the better.

Four Questions

Q&A with new FCA president and CEO Shane Williamson:

Q: When were you first introduced to FCA?

I was introduced to FCA as a high school athlete through my high school football coach Tim Renfrow. I started in high school and began my faith journey in high school. He started the FCA at my high school in the lower part of the state. I played at Wofford for coach Mike Ayers and had some tremendous years with FCA as a college athlete.

Q: How often do you receive positive feedback that FCA is making a difference?

That’s a daily occurrence. I firmly believe that after all the years I’ve been involved in ministry and sports, outside of the parent in the home, the most influential people in children’s lives are coaches. At the very core of FCA today is this idea that we can be there to help resource and support and connect with coaches at all levels, helping them to be the men and women that they can really be. They really are the most influential group of adults in America, other than the parents in the home.

Q: What experiences helped prepare you to become president and CEO?

As an athlete, as a coach, as a staff person, I’ve played almost every role we have in FCA. It’s just amazing the perspective that it gives you when you’ve had that kind of experience. I’ve been very fortunate and very blessed to work with some of the best coaches you could ever have the opportunity to work with. It’s really unique in a way that every step of the journey has literally been a significant part of preparation for the role we play now.

Q: When did you view FCA as a possible career option?

I can remember Dal Shealy, the president before the current president. I was in my first year on staff in Spartanburg, Gaffney, Rock Hill and the upstate area, he called me and asked me how I felt about being on FCA staff. I said, “Coach Shealy it’s going really good and things are going well.” He said, “Do you think you’d want to go back into coaching?” I said, “Yes sir, I have to admit to you I have a passion for coaching and I do think about that a lot.”

FCA facts

What: Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Founded: 1954

Mission: The FCA has been challenging coaches and athletes on the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels to use the powerful medium of athletics to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA focuses on serving local communities by equipping, empowering and encouraging people to make a difference for Christ.

The Four C’s of Ministry: Coaches ministry, Campus ministry (including a USC chapter), Camp ministry and Community ministry