AISD Athletic Director Michael Bass was among eight individuals honored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes during the organization’s inaugural Coaches of Influence Dinner Thursday evening at the Bayou City Event Center in Houston.
Bass, who has served in the education/coaching field for 34 years, said he was introduced to FCA in 1976 by Kelly Reeves, who was the defensive line coach at Brazosport High School at the time.
“Coach Reeves told us there was an organization on campus that we should take a look at and basically in those days, Coach Reeves and his wife would invite us over to their home for devotionals, prayer time, fellowship and food,” Bass said. “I then went to my first state convention in Dallas in 1976 or ‘77, where the keynote speakers were (Cowboys’ coach) Tom Landry, (quarterback) Roger Staubach and (linebacker) Bob Breuing.
“I’ve been doing it ever since, for 43 out of a soon-to-be 57 years.”
During those above years, Bass has seen FCA deliver a considerable positive impact on both himself and others involved in the organization’s work.
“Outside of being raised by our parents and family, there are things on the outside that can impact you in a negative way,” he said. “FCA always gave you the chance to be around other folks, who like Proverbs 27:17 says, iron sharpens iron. It would get you ready for things you would face on a daily basis.
“I was fortunate to always be around godly men. I played for coaches, who didn’t cuss you. They would challenge you and make you work hard, but they were men of God and men of faith.”
While he knew God was calling him to work with kids, Bass said he chose the coaching profession over being an attorney or a minister, because “it gave him a platform to be a minister on campus 24/7 and 365 (days a year).”
“As an attorney, I felt they would already be in trouble when they came to me and as a pastor, I might not be able to get that close relationship with them, because I might only see them once or twice a week,” Bass added. “It’s all about serving my Lord Jesus Christ, sharing that faith on a daily basis and walking it, knowing we have an opportunity to reach out to people.”
Other coaches honored at the event included Joann Berry (Needville), Jarrod Penright (Westfield), Chris Quillian (Pasadena Memorial), D.W. Rutledge (Texas High School Coaches Association), Zoe Simpson (Kingwood), John Snelson (Dickinson) and Bruce Taylor (Barbers Hill).
Former NFL, college and high school coach Les Steckel served as the guest speaker. While the Fellowship of Christian Athletes annually honors its coaches of influence, this was the first year for the organization to hold a dinner for the event.