Conference encourages and equips coaches and athletes

Thursday, July 28, 2011


“Never place a period where God has placed a comma.”

These words were used to inspire many coaches and athletes during the Virtue First Conference sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and hosted by Corban University.

The conference offered encouragement and advice to athletes and coaches who desire to leverage high school and college athletics to mentor and train young men and women, who in turn will have a positive impact on the world around them. Keynote speakers, including head football coaches Mark Speckman from Willamette University and Dean Hood from Eastern Kentucky University, talked about not giving up on their players and about how to teach positive life skills and virtues as part of their athletics programs. 

The Virtue First Conference was born during a meeting at Corban University between Athletic Director Dave Johnson, Virtue First Foundation founder Randy Traeger, and Greg Bradstreet, the Willamette Valley area director of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

“We really wanted coaches and players to focus on what is good and bring that into their leadership style,” Johnson said. “This conference gave coaches an opportunity to learn how to be led and to lead in a virtuous way.” He also noted it was an opportunity for others to see Corban’s program being modeled at the university level.

“The people who were here are excited about Corban and I think it will get bigger each year,” he said. “Parents and coaches can see what we’re about and will encourage students to come here.  As Coach Hood said, we need to lead by example, and this is a place where I really see it happening.”

  • Mark Speckman, the head football coach at Willamette University, spoke with Virtue First attendees about overcoming adversity as a coach or a player.

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