Alumnus' Son to Coach Colts Receivers in Super Bowl XLI
CHICAGO, IL (January 24, 2007) – Dick Christensen C’48 S’52 may be in California physically on Super Bowl Sunday (February 4), but his heart and mind will be three thousand miles away in South Florida, where his son Clyde will coach the Indianapolis Colts’ wide receivers as they take on the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.
"For as long as I can remember, Clyde has been sports-oriented," says Dick, age 82. "If we lined up a lot of toys for him to play with, he would always go for a ball." This inclination led to exemplary athletic performances at Fresno City College, where Clyde was named Junior College All American, and the University of North Carolina, where, as a Tar Heel, he experienced both the championship of the Atlantic Coast Conference and, in other years, the Peach Bowl and Liberty Bowl.
Clyde, 50, coached at the college level for 16 years before a friend he knew through his longtime involvement with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Head Coach Tony Dungy, offered him an assistant coaching position with him for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Six years later, when Dungy was hired by the Indianapolis Colts, he asked Clyde to come along as wide receivers coach.
During the late 90s, not only did Dungy and Christensen lead the Bucs to great success in the NFL, but they also became leaders in All Pro Dad
, a program of Family First, a nonprofit research and communications organization dedicated to strengthening the family. As Clyde shares on the All Pro Dad web site, "Working as a coach in the NFL has been incredibly exciting, challenging and demanding, but it doesn’t compare to the responsibility, effort, and fulfillment of trying to be a top-flight dad."
When asked about his own inspiration as a father, Clyde immediately points to his father Dick, who "was always there when [I] needed him." Even now, not a week goes by that Dick doesn’t call Clyde to express his love and affirmation.
Dick enrolled in North Park College, then a two-year junior college, in 1946. After an internship at First Covenant Church in Seattle, Wash., he graduated from U.C. Berkeley and then returned to North Park for seminary in 1950. Dick went on to pastor Evangelical Covenant churches across the country, including a congregation in San Pedro, Calif., which is today’s Rolling Hills Covenant Church, 2,000+ members strong. Yet another North Park connection the Christensens hold is a family friendship with Kathy C’69 and Mike Holmgren (head coach of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks), as the Christensen cabin was "just across the creek" from the cabin once owned by Mike’s parents at Mission Springs Camp in Scotts Valley, Calif.
When asked about last Sunday’s 38-34 Colts’ victory over the New England Patriots to clinch the AFC Championship, Dick can only say he is "elated" for his son. Although his health will prevent him from traveling to Miami next weekend to cheer Clyde on in person, Dick is pleased Clyde’s wife Debbie and possibly his daughters - Rachel, Rebecca, and Ruth - will be there rooting for him.
Dick and wife June both have much to be proud of in the achievements and testimony of their son. As Foundation President of Fellowship of Christian Athletes Carey Casey puts it, "God is using Clyde to help so many. He’s a student of the Bible, known as a man of God.… He’s developed great relationships with his players and is always available to help them in their marriages and in developing their children." In the words of Christensen family friend Bob Bach C’61, in whose 1963 wedding seven-year-old Clyde served as ringbearer, "Clyde is not only a fine football coach, he is a molder of men, and has been a faithful representative of God throughout his coaching career."
Contact: Nicole Daniels Special thanks to Bob Bach C’61, from whose article, "Father and Son," many facts within the above story were taken.