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Sports Spectrum Podcast

Launched in 2017 and now with over 4 million downloads, Sports Spectrum's podcast features stories on the intersection of sports and faith. Hosted by former ESPN Senior Producer Jason Romano, new conversations drop 3 times each week.
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Now displaying: 2019
Jul 18, 2019

Today on the podcast we throw it back to February 2018 and a conversation we had with 3-time NAIA Division II National Champion coach Greg Tonagel of Indiana Wesleyan. 

Coach Tonagel just finished his 14th season as the head coach of the Wildcats and is a 3-time NABC/NAIA Division II National Coach of the Year.

On this throwback edition of the podcast, we talk to Coach Tonagel about discipleship in his program and teaching his players the "I am Third" model, Jesus first, others second, ourselves third.

You can listen to the entire interview with Coach Tonagel from Episode 84 by searching on this podcast app or by clicking on our website here

 

Jul 17, 2019

Episode 334

Jimmy Mellado is the president and CEO of Compassion International. Compassion is a sponsor of our podcast and partner with us as we help them release children from poverty.

Jimmy is a graduate of SMU where he was a member of the Division 1 Track and Field championship team in 1983.  He competed in the 1987 Pan American Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea as a decathlete. Representing his birth nation of El Salvador, he set national records for the highest ever performance in the decathlon, men's high jump, 100m high hurdles and pole vault. 

In 2013, Jimmy was named CEO and President of Compassion and has dedicated his life to helping children around the world, who are living in poverty and providing them with hope and a way out. 

On this episode of the podcast, we learn about Jimmy's journey, moving around from country to country as a youth, why failure is such a great teacher, trusting God when things don't go well, competing in the Olympics and how he came to join Compassion International.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 16, 2019

Episode 333

Zerbin Singleton has experienced the highs and lows of life. The Marine Corp Major was born to a mom addicted to drugs in a home surrounded by domestic violence, drugs, poverty and even homelessness. At the age of ten, Zerbin's mother was incarcerated. 

At the age of fifteen, Zerbin met his father for the first time. Just seven days before graduating from high school, he was in a head-on-collision caused by a drunk driver. Despite a broken collar bone, he graduated Valedictorian from his high school. 

Football was a big part of Zerbin's life and he would walk-on to the Georgia Tech football squad before transferring to the Naval Academy, where he would play running back and win the Disney's Wide World of Sports Spirit Award and the FedEx Orange Bowl Courage Award in 2007.

Today, he is an officer in the United States Marine Corps, flyng the AH-1Z Cobra Attack Helicopter.

On this episode of the podcast, you'll hear the incredible story of Zerbin Singleton, overcoming obstacle after obstacle to become a football player for the Naval Academy and a Marine pilot. Zerbin says "misery is your ministry" and his marvelous story is sure to inspire you. 

For more podcasts and stories like this, visit our website at http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 15, 2019

Episode 332

Patrick Dimarco is a fullback with the Buffalo Bills. He played his college football at South Carolina under Steve Spurrier before entering the NFL in 2011 as an undrafted free-agent. His football journey would take him from San Diego to Kansas City and then to Atlanta, where he would spend 4 seasons with the Falcons.

In 2016, he helped the Falcons to the NFC Championship and a berth in Super Bowl LI against the Patriots. Dimarco's tenure with Atlanta also included a Pro Bowl berth and making the NFL's All-Pro Second-Team in 2015. 

Dimarco signed a 4-year deal with the Buffalo Bills in March of 2017 and has remained a member of Bills Mafia ever since. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Pat about Bills Mafia, being a fullback in the 2019 version of the NFL, his grind in making it to the NFL and the powerful story of how his career almost ended before it began.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 12, 2019

Episode 331

Chris Norton went from talented 18-year-old college football with a promising future to flat on his back with a broken neck and a 3% chance of ever moving or feeling anything below his neck, much less walking again.

Determined to prove the doctors wrong and to find love, Chris pushed himself through grueling, daily workouts until four years later, when he walked across the stage to receive his college diploma. 

Chris would marry his wife Emily and at his wedding, would tackle the seven longest yards of his life, walking down the wedding aisle and into a new life.

They tell their story in the new book "The Seven Longest Yards," released July 9, 2019. Tim Tebow wrote the foreword. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Chris about his incredible story, how his faith sustained him after his football accident, God's better plan, walking the seven longest yards at his wedding, and why adoption is something he and his wife Emily have dedicated their lives to. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

 

Jul 11, 2019

Today we look back to Episode 7 of the podcast from May of 2017 with Ernie Johnson from TNT. 

A 3-time Emmy award winner, Johnson joined TNT in 1989 and is most notable for his hosting of the NBA on TNT with Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and Kenny Smith. 

On this throwback edition of the podcast, we talk to Ernie about adoption and his son Michael, whom he and his wife adopted from Romania and why adoption is so important to him.

You can listen to the entire interview of Episode 7 with Ernie by searching for it on this podcast app or by clicking on our website here.

Jul 10, 2019

Episode 330

Casey Sadler is living the life of a professional baseball pitcher right now. He is currently with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization at AAA Oklahoma City. 

He played his college baseball at Western Oklahoma State University before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 25th round of the 2010 MLB Draft.

After going through the grind of the minor leagues, Sadler made his MLB debut on May 2, 2014 with Pittsburgh. After pitching in 7 games total over two seasons with Pittsburgh in 2014 and 2015, Casey would miss the 2016 season after having Tommy John surgery. 

After spending all of 2017 in the minor leagues, Casey made it back to the majors in 2018 with Pittsburgh and again in 2019 with Tampa before being traded on July 3 to the Los Angeles Dodgers and optioned to AAA Oklahoma City. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Casey about the crazy life of a yoyo pitcher going up and down from the minors to the majors, the crazy story of driving 15 hours in an RV to arrive and pitch for the Rays, coming back to Christ after falling away, and how having Tommy John surgery tested his faith. 

For more stories and interviews on the intersection of sports and faith, visit our website http://SportsSpectrum.com 

 

Jul 9, 2019

Episode 329

Life hit Harvard team chaplains Pat and Tammy McLeod hard when their son Zach collapsed on a high school football field—he had sustained a severe brain injury. Two emergency brain surgeries later, Zach began waking up. Slowly the entire family woke up to the reality that life would never again be the same. The fallout of his injury would reshape their marriage, their family, their future and their faith in ways they never saw coming.

What would it take for them to navigate the endless fallout of their son’s life-transforming injury? How could they reconcile their grief over the life Zach lost, with gratitude for the life that remained? And how does a couple move forward together in their search for hope, rather than letting indefinable loss drive them apart? Hit Hard releases todayand is the true story of the McLeods’ journey through ambiguous loss—both having and not having their son. It’s the story of a family who faced unexpected heartbreak, a story that offers us all glimpses of how we can pick up the pieces, redefine expectations, and find hope in the midst of unresolved pain.

On this podcast, we hear Zach McLeod's story, learn from Pat and Tammy about ambiguous loss, why they wanted to tell Zach's story, what it is like to grieve the loss of their son when he's still alive, and safety on the football field in 2019. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 8, 2019

Episode 328

Mitchell Traver is a former professional baseball pitcher who was selected in four different MLB drafts. He was selected by the Astros in the 39th round of the 2012 MLB Draft. He was selected by the Cardinals in the 28th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He was selected by the Reds in the 17th round of the 2016 MLB Draft and in 2017, was selected by the Angels in the 20th round. 

He played his college ball at TCU, where he helped the Horned Frogs to the College World Series in 2017. After his collegiate career ended, he signed with the Angels and played two years of minor league baseball before retiring in 2019.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Mitchell about retirement at the age of 25, why he is stepping away from pro baseball, playing through pain, trusting God in the process, and the awesome story of giving his life fully to Christ in 2014. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 5, 2019

Episode 327

Steven Elliott joined the military in 2003 and served as a member of the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. After being deployed to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border in 2004, Elliott found himself in the midst of an enemy ambush. He was one of four Rangers who mistook Pat Tillman's position for that of the enemy and fired there. He is one of two Rangers considered likely to have fired the fatal shots. Elliott served the remaining years of his enlistment and returned to civilian life in 2007. 

Tormented by remorse and PTSD in the aftermath of Tillman’s death, Elliott descended into the depths of guilt, alcoholism, and depression; lost his marriage and his faith; and struggled to stay alive. The war that began on foreign soil had followed him home.

Elliott's story is depicted in the new book "WAR STORY: Sometimes The Real Fight Starts After the Battle."

On this episode of the podcast, we look at Steven Elliott's incredible story of pain and purpose, love and tragedy and ultimately renewal by the grace of God. Steven shares about his relationship with Pat Tillman and candidly talks about how forgiveness and faith have freed him from the demons that tormented him for many years. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 4, 2019

Today we look back to Episode 54 of the podcast with Chad Robichaux, a former Marine and professional MMA fighter. 

Chad is the president and founder of Mighty Oaks Foundation, a leading military nonprofit serving the US military active-duty and veteran communities with highly successful peer-to-peer, faith-based, combat-trauma programs and combat-resiliency conferences. Chad and his team are dedicated to helping America’s military warriors and their families suffering from the unseen wounds of combat such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This is a powerful conversation that takes us through Chad's life as a member of law enforcement to fighting in Afghanistan to a broken marriage, suicidal thoughts and a life falling apart. And then Jesus came, and saved Chad from himself. 

You can listen to the entire interview with Chad from Episode 54 here or by searching his name on iTunes or Spotify. 

Jul 3, 2019

Episode 326

Justin Simmons is a safety with the Denver Broncos. He was selected in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by Denver out of Boston College. 

In college, Simmons named Second Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and ACC head coaches. He was named to Phil Steele's All-American Fourth Team and ProFootballFocus.com All-America honorable mention.

After coming to Denver, Simmons has solidified himself as the starting free safety the past two seasons. In 2018, he started all 16 games and recorded a career-high 97 combined tackles (71 solo), four pass deflections, and three interceptions.  

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Justin about goals for the 2019 season, learning how to be a pro, being all in for Christ and staying connected to the Lord during the NFL season. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 1, 2019

Episode 325

Matt Brown is an evangelist, author, and founder of Think Eternity, a ministry dedicated to amplifying the gospel every day to millions through podcasts, devotionals, videos, live events and more. 

He is the author or co-author of 8 books including his latest release, "Truth Plus Love: The Jesus Way to Influence." Matt has built a large following on social media with over 1 million people following his pages.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Matt about loving others without compromising the truth of who God is, the mistaken idea of spiritual maturity, living in an age of online megaphones, getting baited into anger and living a life that's relational instead of transactional.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jul 1, 2019

Episode 324

Rick Barnes is the head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers Men's Basketball program. In 2018-19, Barnes was named the Naismith College Basketball Coach of the Year for leading Tennessee to a 31-6 record and an appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. 

Barnes began his head coaching career in 1987 with George Mason. After that, he has had stops at Providence, Clemson and Texas before coming to the Volunteers in 2015. 

He is a 4-time Big 12 Coach of the Year during his time with Texas and led the Longhorns to the Final Four in 2003. His 690 career wins ranks him 22nd on the all-time list for Division 1. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Coach Barnes about the 2018-19 season, winning coach of the year, his amazing testimony of faith in Christ, why he partners with Nations of Coaches, and his desire to preach the Gospel wherever he goes. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 28, 2019

Episode 323

Hunter Kemper is one of the most decorated U.S. triathletes in history. A four-time member of the U.S. Olympic triathlon team, he was one of only two men in the world to qualify for the first four Olympic triathlons (2000-2012).

His best finish at an Olympics was seventh in the 2008 Beijing Games. In 2005, he was ranked No. 1 in the International Triathlon Union world rankings, one of only two American male triathletes to earn such a ranking. He ended 2005 by being named the U.S. Olympic Committee Sportsman of the Year. In 2003, Kemper won a gold medal at the Pan American Games, becoming the first U.S. male to do so.

Last year in 2018, Kemper was inducted into the USA Triathlon Hall of Fame. At the ceremony, he also announced his retirement from competition.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Kemper about the difficult adjustment to retirement, competing in four Olympic Games, what faith looked like at the Olympics, how he came to know Christ in college at Wake Forest, his favorite moment at the Olympics, and the tension he wrestled with in sharing his faith as an elite athlete.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 27, 2019

Geoff Blum played 14 MLB seasons with Montreal, Tampa, Houston, San Diego, Chicago and Arizona. He was a World Series hero in 2005, hitting the game-winning home run in the 14th inning of Game 3, leading the White Sox to a victory and their first championship in 88 years.

He joined us in October 2017 for Episode 49 of the show where he looked back at his 2005 World Series moment, previewed that epic 2017 World Series between Houston and the L.A. Dodgers and shared why he is loved and hated in the city of Houston. 

Blum is currently a TV analyst for his former team, the Houston Astros and on this THROWBACK edition of the podcast, we bring back Geoff's story of faith, how he came to know Christ and what it was like to live as a believer in Major League Baseball. 

Listen to the entire interview with Geoff from Episode 49 in October of 2017 here

Jun 25, 2019

Episode 322

Ryan Succop is the kicker for the Tennessee Titans. Ryan was selected as the 256th and final pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs.  The 2-time All-SEC Second Team kicker played 5 seasons with Kansas City before being released on August 30, 2014. Two days later, September 1, 2014, he signed with the Tennessee Titans, where he has been ever since. 

Ryan holds the NFL record for most consecutive successful field goals from inside 50 yards (56) and in his rookie season, he tied an NFL record for highest field goal percentage by a rookie with 86.2%.

In February 2018, Ryan signed a new 5-year contract extension.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Ryan about his 11-year NFL career, the offseason routine of a kicker, when he made Christ Lord, being picked as Mr. Irrelevant, and having teammates to keep him accountable in his faith walk. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 25, 2019

Episode 321

Nick Hays is not your typical Navy SEAL. After cutting weight as a wrestler, his growth was severely stunted. Standing just over 5 feet tall, he was often bullied as a kid and was laughed at when he told others of his dream to become a member of one of the world's most elite units.

Hays learned that what first seemed like a deficiency was indeed his greatest strength because it made him immune to adversity.  After leaving the SEAL teams following 10 years, he tried out for a para-military unit within the CIA. His operating days came to an end when he ruptured a disk while preparing for an operation in Afghanistan.

Disillusioned, broken and without means to provide for his family, Hays was left without a purpose in life. After recovery, his training kicked in, and he remembered the lessons learned from the SEAL teams and put them to the test with professional athletes. Word spread and before he knew it, he was training the Miami Heat and eventually worked with the Atlanta Falcons on their way to a Super Bowl.

Hays holds a BA from the University of Maryland, a Masters in Business from the University of San Diego, and a post-graduate degree from the Harvard Business School.

On this episode of the podcast, we hear Hays' journey of becoming a Navy SEAL, what it's like to train and live the SEAL life, how his faith in Christ keeps him grounded, how he came to help develop culture with NFL and NBA teams, and why he has the nickname Nick "The Heart."

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 24, 2019

Episode 320

Jefferson Bethke is a New York Times-bestselling author and speaker who has written three books. In 2012, Bethke’s YouTube video, “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus,” went viral and has since received more than 34 million views. After the video, he decided to write the book “Jesus > Religion,” which would go on to become a New York Times bestseller.

He has since released two more books: “It’s Not What You Think” and “Love That Lasts” with his wife, Alyssa.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Bethke about his love for baseball and the Seattle Mariners, dealing with sudden fame, coming to faith as a high schooler, and doing ministry with his wife.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 21, 2019

Episode 319

Johnny Quinn is an author and speaker who went from NFL football player to Olympic bobsledder.  He is the author of the book "PUSH: Breaking Through the Barriers" which was released in February of 2018. 

In college, Johnny was a wide receiver with North Texas, where he was a member of 3 Sun Belt Conference championship teams, ultimately being inducted into the North Texas Hall of Fame in 2011.

Cut three times from NFL teams, Johnny lost 2.6 million dollars in NFL contracts and blew out his knee. Then he became an Olympian for the United States of America.

Johnny is just the third person ever to have played in the NFL and have competed in the Winter Olympics. (Herschel Walker/Jeremy Bloom were the others)

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Johnny about his crazy journey from football to bobsledding, becoming a new Dad, his pursuit of an NFL career, the viral moment at the Olympics (it's not what you think), and what it looks like to stand for Christ and live unashamed for Him. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 20, 2019

Inky Johnson is a motivational speaker, author and former college football player with the University of Tennessee.

He joined us back in May of 2018 on Episode 112 of the show to talk about his journey of faith, how the worst day of his life actually turned into the best day of his life, why it’s important to have a “relationship” with God, why there’s a lesson and blessing in everything that happens for us, and how he’s seen people impacted by the message of his story.

On this THROWBACK portion of the interview, Inky shares the moment he realized that his message, his trial, his story, could actually impact and help other people. 

Listen to the entire interview with Inky Johnson from Episode 111 here

Jun 19, 2019

Episode 318

Lauryn Williams is an Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter and an Olympic silver medal-winning bobsledder. She is one of six athletes to have won a medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games, as well as the first American woman to do so.

At the age 20 in her first Olympics (after winning gold medals at the junior world championships, Pan American Games and NCAA Championships), Williams won the silver medal in the women’s 100-meter dash at the 2004 Athens Games. She went on to win gold in that event at the 2005 World Championships, where she also won gold in the 4x100m relay. Two years later at the 2007 Worlds, she won another relay gold while finishing second in the 100m.

Williams also competed in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but left without a medal. She placed fourth in the women’s 100m, and the U.S. women were disqualified from the 4x100m relay due to a dropped baton. Williams and the U.S. women redeemed themselves by winning 4x100m relay gold at the 2012 London Games, the final Summer Olympics for Williams.

She then shifted her focus to bobsled in 2013, and teamed up with veteran driver Elana Meyers, who had won a bronze medal at the 2010 Vancouver Games. Williams helped push her to silver at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

In March 2019, Williams released her first book, “The Oval Office,” to provide actionable advice on how you can succeed at building a career as a professional athlete.

On this episode of the podcast, we talked to Williams about her journey to the Olympics, coming to faith in Christ, and trusting Him through the tough moments of her life.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 18, 2019

Episode 317

Matt Mooney is a former college basketball player who played at Air Force, South Dakota and, most recently, Texas Tech.

His one season with the Red Raiders saw him make second-team All-Big 12, the Big 12 All-Defensive team and the 2019 Final Four All-Tournament team in helping Texas Tech reach its first-ever national championship game, where it lost in overtime to Virginia. Mooney scored 22 points in Tech’s 61-51 win over Michigan State in the national semifinals, and he finished with 10 points in the loss to Virginia.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Mooney about the thrill of victory, responding to defeat with grace, NBA draft preparation, playing in the Final Four, coming to faith in Christ, and living that out on college basketball’s biggest stage.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 17, 2019

Episode 316

Jade McCarthy is an Emmy-Award winning sports commentator. For 5 years, she was an anchor at ESPN, working on shows such as SportsCenter and NFL LIVE. She was released from her job at ESPN as part of a larger group of layoffs, on April 26, 2017.

Prior to ESPN, Jade had broadcasting stops in Springfield, MA, Huntsville, AL, Philadelphia, PA and Boston, MA. 

In the Fall of 2018, she returned to broadcasting, working for NBC Sports Boston as a host on its Patriots coverage. 

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Jade about her broadcasting journey and how her faith in Christ grew after being let go by ESPN. 

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

Jun 14, 2019

Episode 315

Shawn Purdy is a former pro baseball player. He played his college baseball at the University of Miami in Florida. After being selected three times in the MLB Amateur Draft in 1987, 1989 and 1990, he signed with the Angels after being selected in the 16th round of the 1991 draft.

After pitching for eight seasons in the minor leagues from 1991-1998, he retired at the age of 29.

Today, Purdy is the dad to three kids, all playing sports at a high level. His daughter, Whitney, plays softball at Southeastern University. His son, Brock, plays quarterback at Iowa State and was the Big 12 True-Freshman of the Year in 2018. His youngest son, Chubba, is a four-star high school QB recruit entering his senior year in 2019.

On this episode of the podcast, we talk to Shawn about his pro baseball journey, coming to faith in Christ in 1995, being a father to three kids who play elite sports, raising them up in the Lord, and the importance of keeping Christ at the center, even as they pursue their sports dreams.

For more, log on to http://SportsSpectrum.com 

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