It was the winter of 1995, on the heels of a fall football season for the Hurricane High School Redskins. Mandy and I were living in West Virginia, serving as Youth and Family Minister for the Hurricane Church of Christ.
Gary Eggleton, the high school football coach at Hurricane High School was a faithful member of our church family and invited me to participate in the annual post-season football banquet. Best I remember, the banquet was held at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club and the house was packed.
As the pray-er for the meal before the awards presentation, I was privileged to sit at the head table. And it just so happened that seated beside me for the entire evening was, at that time, the 32-year old head coach at Glenville State, a small NAIA school in West Virginia.
Following his success at Glenville State, his career led him to opportunities to coordinate offenses at Tulane and Clemson under Tommy Bowden before returning to his home state of West Virginia to lead the Mountaineers for the last six years.
So, if you guessed I got to once spend an evening sharing dinner and conversation with Rich Rodriguez, you would be correct. Yesterday, Rich Rod was introduced as the coach of the Michigan Wolverines, one of the most prolific coaching jobs in all of college football.
You know, had I only known that night what I know today, I might have at least asked him to autograph the napkin on the table!
The greatness of Rich Rodriguez pales in comparison though to the greatness of my mom!
Today my mom celebrates a birthday and while I'd give anything to be with her this day, she and I both realize that God has larger plans for us both than the possibility of being physically together today.
Every sermon I preach. Every prayer I pray. Every visit I make. Every act of ministry bears the imprint of my mom's influence. I hope to have caught just half the grace and dignity with which my mom lives her life.
Happy Birthday, Mom! It's taken me 36 years to realize it, but I was unmistakeably privileged as your son to brush greatness everyday. Thank you for leaving an eternal impression on my life.
I hope you have a wonderful, blessed day.