Sid: Now my guest really needs no introduction if you’ve heard of Promise Keepers you’ve heard of the person that started it Coach Bill McCartney. This is an organization that had as many as 1.4 million Christians from every denomination; from every background. I mean and that is a supernatural feat to get all of these men together to worship the Lord. But to get to Promise Keepers God had to work with him in other arenas. As a matter of fact God is working with you; you may not realize this but God has something great He has a destiny of greatness. Why do I say this? Because I believe that we’re in the generation that will welcome the return of the Messiah. And to whom much is given much is required. But everything that you’ve done thus far is a stepping stone to the next thing. So I want to find out a bit about Coach Bill McCartney of how he got to the point where God could use him for Promise Keepers and the new thing that he’s doing right now. Coach, tell me a bit about how you came to the Lord.
Coach: I really had a unique beginning Sid. I was evangelized by the conservative community but discipled by the prophetic community. The guys that discipled me were zealous for the things of God. So early on I was exposed to wholehearted believers who gathered and worshiped God without inhibition. It really served to catapult me so to speak into a fiery pursuit of the things of God.
Sid: Well, when you got into coaching you started putting God first and He started actually giving you game plans.
Coach: He did you know I laugh because a lot of people think God doesn’t care who wins football games but that is not what God’s word says. God’s word in Proverbs 3, 5 and 6 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” It doesn’t say in every way but football, it says in every way. So I took Him at His word and committed everything that I did in football. When I was the assistant coach at Michigan I was the defensive coordinator and it was my responsibility to develop the defensive strategy from week to week. I found God helping me to that and had extraordinary results.
Sid: Tell, me one occasion that you can think of.
Coach: Well, we were going to play a Purdue and Purdue had at that time the all-time total offense leader in the history of college football. His name was Mark Herman. And Purdue was coming to Anarbor; six weeks leading up to us they had averaged 45 points a game. So you know this is a tremendous challenge and so as I heal this before the Lord He gave me a game plan that really at that time was unique to even the professional ranks.
Sid: Did you realize it was coming supernaturally or did it just kind of evolve and “Oh, this must be God?”
Coach: Oh no, I jumped up and down I said “I got it; I’ve got it.”
Coach: I mean I ran around the room and I knew that God had spoken to me.
Sid: And needless to say you won.
Coach: And we not only won but we shut them out; we beat them 26 to nothing.
Coach: It shocked the college football world; this was 1980.
Sid: That must have been have put your name on the map as an Assistant Coach.
Coach: Well, what happened was the big Ten Conference, this was a matter of record; they named me the Big Ten Player of the week. Now that’s absurd because it never happened before when any coach was named Player of the Week, but it was just evidence that God was building my faith. He was speaking into me; He was teaching me that I could trust His voice.
Sid: Just for those that are not knowledgeable of football can you explain a little bit about what God said for a layman as far as this special plan that you just shut down this high scoring team.
Coach: Yes sir. What happened was what we would do is go out and practice and we filmed everything that we did on the practice field and then as coaches we would have dinner; the players would go on an study and what not and back to their dorms or fraternities. And the coaches would come back into the meeting room; so we were watching what we were doing during the week as we prepared for Purdue. It was obvious that we couldn’t stop out own scout team in practice. It was made up of inferior players that weren’t as good as the other guys on our team. So I’m praying the whole time; I’m saying “Lord You got to help me.”
Sid: Now does your team know that you’re praying?
Coach: No, and the other guys in the room the other assistant coaches don’t know either I’m praying below my breath. I’m saying “Lord help me; I got to have help me I don’t know what to do.” And right in the midst of that the idea that He gave me was that if we defended them with 6 defensive backs in the game at one time we could match up with them. Well that… currently today it’s pretty customary for teams to do that on occasion, but back then nobody was doing that.
Sid: So you really caught them by surprise.
Coach: Well, they couldn’t adjust to it.
Coach: Well, we had them off balance the whole game. They couldn’t hardly make a first down after the 1st quarter. So it was just one of those things that really shocked and surprised the college football world and it built my faith.
Sid: And you got a few awards for that particular activity.
Coach: Well, that particular game I was named the Big Ten Player of the Week but it did lead to my being hired. It was instrumental to my being hired as the Head Football Coach at Colorado shortly thereafter.
Sid: Now you had a prophetic word about that, “You will be His Rock in Boulder.”
Coach: What happened was when I got hired at Colorado and elderly lady from the east I’ve never met her; never heard from her before or since. She wrote me a letter within one week of me being hired and she said “Coach McCartney, Almighty God told me to tell you that you will be His Rock in Boulder.” And not only that I got a letter; I had 4 guys from the state of Texas make an appointment to see me. I’m still only 1 week on the job and they said “Coach God sent us here to tell you that He’s going to use you greatly in the days ahead.” Well, what do you do with those things except you carry them in your head and you hold them before the Lord and you trust that He’s going to glorify Himself.
Sid: Tell me about that time that you were really involved in intense practice and all of sudden the worst time of the world your Pastor comes trolling down the football field to see you. You see him coming you know that you’re so preoccupied, what happened?
Coach: This is a great story. It was 1989 the best record that we had had in Colorado in my 8 years there was 8 and 4. We were looking forward in having a great team and we were practicing in August during two day sessions. These two day sessions are very intense; everything that we do has been discussed and rehearsed in advance meaning we don’t do anything indiscriminately. Every play that we practice we have discussed it and researched it. So it was in the midst of that kind of a laboratory experience that I look over and the pastor of my church is running out on to the practice field. And I’m thinking to myself “Pastor don’t come out here.” I’m kind of giving him body language and you know and it would be tantamount to him preaching on Sunday and me tapping him on the shoulder and interrupting him. I mean you wouldn’t do that.
Coach: But he’s undeterred, he gets there he says “Coach, coach you’re not going to believe this.” He said “I had a dream last night, and in the dream God showed me that your team is going to have a golden season and you personally will be the national coach of the year.” Well, we haven’t even played the game yet and he’s got me winning the National Coach of the Year. So obviously you know when he…
Sid: There’s a Hebrew word he’s a little “Mashuga” he’s a little crazy. Did you think or did you believe that was from God?
Coach: He had my full attention and matter of fact I was no longer offended that he was out there.
Coach: And I was ready for anything that he was going to tell me. Well, he wrote it all down and two weeks later we opened on National Television the first game of the season it was a home game. And we played the University of Texas; we win the game and the next day in the Denver post right across the front page it says in bold letters, “Colorado Buffaloes Debut Golden Season.” I mean the very thing he said.
Sid: And the end of the year what happened?
Coach: One game and having people call it a Golden Season. Furthermore you don’t win one game and make the Front Page; you make the Sports Page.
Coach: But anyway it happened just like he said; we won all 11 games; I was voted the National Coach of the Year and we had a Golden Season.
Sid: I love it when it’s true prophetic words from God. Coach we’re out of time right now.