SFC’s Athletic philosophy is: “Be A Champion for Christ, in relationships, and on the field. We represent Christ in everything we do, and as we serve Him in athletics, we impact our team, the fans, and those we compete against. As we strive to produce championship teams, any success that comes our way, we give God the glory.”

Coach Chad Bickley, SFC’s Athletic Director, not only leads a remarkable athletic program, but lives and breathes the Be A Champion mindset: “Winning championships is not our primary goal but rather a by-product of the leaders and characters we are training and developing. We’re most interested in producing well-rounded students who are not only top athletes, but more importantly, committed scholars with godly characters who in turn, will be godly leaders.”

Because Coach Bickley understands the value of being a highly effective coach and leader, two years ago, he expanded upon the Be A Champion ideology by introducing a comprehensive student-athlete leadership program to SFC, called the Leadership Academy, sponsored by Nuna. The leadership program curriculum was authored by Jeff Janssen, a world leader in sports-leadership development. Nuna, a baby product company, sponsored the program because they believe in leadership and see the value of building strong leaders.

“This program,” Coach Bickley illustrates, “will empower our student-athletes with practical tools necessary to develop them into leaders — not just leaders on the field or in the gym — but godly leaders throughout their lives.” He fervently desires to teach his athletes “to put Jesus in front. In front of their team, their family, their work… in front of every aspect of their lives.”

A DIFFERENT APPROACH TO LEADERSHIP

The Leadership Academy introduces creative ways and innovative perspectives in team-building, mental toughness and coaching. The goal is to awaken a student-athlete’s talent and potential, then provide them with practical tools to become effective godly leaders-by example who are committed to a lifetime of service, success, and significance. Throughout the coursework, the program demonstrates how to become a responsible and respected leader, how to inspire teammates and set a positive tone for collective success, how to overcome team conflict, and how to hold themselves and their teammates accountable.

Coach Bickley explains that being on an athletic team — during practice and while playing competitively — is also a great place to practice leadership skills, a culture of encouraging others, and handling adversity with grace. He says, “We want to see Leadership Academy graduates walk away with the confidence to use the leadership skills we’ve taught them here and be poised to take ownership of their individual leadership style in the years ahead.”

Senior Michael Linguadoca, captain of the SFC football team, and current student in the Leadership Academy, says, “I’m learning about the importance of leadership values and how it takes every teammate to be a part of the bigger puzzle to win and be successful. As a leader and captain, I’m learning how to apply these values to my team through drills and practices, and then in turn, I’ll be able to apply these same principles in my own life.”

THE BREAKDOWN

An integrated approach to leadership development, the program targets three distinct groups of student-athletes: Leadership 101, Emerging Leaders and Veteran Leaders.

Leadership 101 — The Athlete’s Responsibility — is open to all freshman. Leadership 201 — Leading by Example — is for Emerging Leaders and is open to sophomores and juniors selected by coaches and an application process. This curriculum builds a strong foundation for prospective young leaders with insights, strategies and skills necessary to become effective leaders on their team, on campus and in the community. Leadership 301 — Vocal Leadership — is targeted at Veteran Leaders and is open to juniors and seniors who are selected by coaches. This curriculum provides established team leaders with advanced leadership training and support; teaching critical team leadership skills and insight necessary to be effective managers while facing the challenges of being in a leadership role.

SFC’s Be A Champion philosophy, together with the Nuna Leadership Academy, fosters valuable leadership skills and relationships on and off the field. More importantly, these ideals model a culture of Christ-centered core values, high standards of behavior, and a commitment to unified teamwork. SFC is honored to have a godly man like Coach Bickley, who is able to look beyond the trophy case and realize the precedence of developing the next generation of young men and women leaders who will be champions for Christ.