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Bye Week Blues and The Most Important Man @ AU

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Commentary: Bye Week Blues & The Most Important Man at Auburn:

David K. Ward



I got a real case of the Bye Week Blues. It is all the lame jokes about “can we beat Open?” It is the stale retreads from so many call-in shows discussing the same thing from the last game way over a week ago. It is having no game to look forward to watching. It is no tailgating. It is no shakers. It is no screaming. It is no F-U-N!

There are many things we can talk about with my football team, the Auburn Tigers. There is one facet that I want to bring to your attention. It is the most important hire made by Auburn University. It wasn’t Head Coach Tommy Tuberville. It wasn’t Al Borges, the new Offensive Coordinator. It wasn’t the new AD Jay Jacobs, either.

No, the best hire made by Auburn was someone far more important. If Auburn never wins another game, he will keep his job. He is that important to the Auburn Family. I am talking about our team Chaplain, the Rev. Chette Williams.

Chette started his ties with Auburn playing for Coach Pat Dye back in the eighties. He was not the role model player you might think. No, He was a trouble maker. He lettered three times for AU, but Dye still ran him off. He was a bit of trouble around the team. The day he found out that his college playing days were through, he went to see a team mate, one that had been witnessing to him for years. On that night, after a lot of soul searching, Chette Williams accepted Christ. The change was dramatic, profound. Chette had what I call a “Saul of Tarsus” moment. HE CHANGED!

Chette went on to finish up at AU after a very hard talk with Coach Dye. Williams later went on to Seminary, got married and has a great family of his own. After doing some work in Spartanburg, SC for Impact Ministries, and a few other stops along the way, Coach Tuberville brought him on as team chaplain at AU in 1999. NOTHING has been the same since.

I believe that the best a man can hope for in his life is to be paired with a position at the right moment in his life. Churchill, he was one of those so lucky. FDR, JFK, Henry Ford are national examples of this. Chette is the perfect example of this in the AU Family. He has the total respect of our Family. I cannot name one individual that is more universally respected by fans, friends, alumni, students, players, and especially parents of players.

Coach Tuberville claims that Chette is AU’s secret weapon in recruiting. He has been the difference in getting some of the better players on our team since he came aboard. Players and parents both feel they can trust this man with their spiritual life, with their sons’ spiritual lives.

Williams has made such a profound effect on our team that no loss would ever get him removed. When you see the fruits of his ministry in the eyes, the smiles, the hearts of young men at Auburn, you will know that he is a true man of God. Our players march out from the locker room before the games arm in arm. Ninety percent attend 9PM Chapel on the Fridays before the games. They sing the fight song before, during, and after a game. But they also sing hymns of real brotherhood like “Hard Fighting Soldier” too.

What kind of man can take a hundred cynically inclined, hard partying, college men and mold them into a tight brotherhood of believers? I don’t have an answer for that. But I know who does. Chette Williams. He has even had 7-8 of our players commit to full time careers in the ministry too.

With all the press from the 13-0 SEC Title season, Coach Tuberville will tell you that he received about as many calls about Chette and his work with the team than he did about his Coach of the Year Awards, and his coaching philosophies.

Chette Williams, thank you for making a football team, a whole athletic department for that matter, greater by far than just the won-loss records. You have made them into fine individuals to represent AU for the rest of their lives. You have helped make them into more than winning athletes or even winning scholar-athletes. You helped them grow into fine young men and women that will have a great positive effect on the whole world. Thanks for making Auburn a more special place than when you got here.

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