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2018 Lunch With The Legend Keith Byars

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes engages coaches and athletes to grow in their faith and sport.

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2018 Lunch With The Legend Keith Byars


2017 Legends Recap: Thank You

On behalf of Central Ohio Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I want to thank you for attending and sharing lunch with us at the Lunch with the Legends event!

God is good; as we were blessed by this year’s honoree, Coach Tom Ryan, and his testimony that ignited an impactful life-change in the room.

We were proud to include in this year’s program a testimony from Coach Greg Lahr and his guest, Adrian Fuller, whose testimony, communicates how FCA touches lives.

The DeSales Wrestling Team was also in attendance as our special guests as it is about Jesus and his kids.

We hope you had an opportunity to meet some of our special guests. What a pleasure to be able to recognize 1938 Wrestler, High School Coach and U.S. Veteran of War, George Beshara, and, to have his family in attendance as it made the Lunch special. It was also a special treat to hear from Congressman Jim Jordan, who had a distinguished high school and college wrestling career.

We were thrilled to have so many new folks introduced to FCA. We welcome all to be part of the FCA Family as there is place for everyone.

What you can expect from us as part of the FCA family is:

  • Timely Thank You Notes

  • Regular Prayer Requests

  • Seasonal and Event Updates

  • Helpful Tips for Parents and Kids

We are well on our way to reach $50,000 for the Legends Event. To put us over the top, we welcome your generous giving which supports our Quantum Leap goal to weekly reach 20,000 students, 1,000 coaches, across 400 schools and teams with the Word of God.

We would love to hear from you how this event may have impacted you. We hope you have a chance to pray about investing in the cause for Jesus and His kids.


 Rye D’Orazio

A Most Influential Life By: Drew Bracken

2017 Legend: Tom Ryan


COLUMBUS, OHIO – Tom Ryan is the highly successful wrestling coach at Ohio State University. In 2015, his team even won with the program’s first-ever national championship.

Before that he was an assistant at Hofstra and Indiana universities. And before that he had a storied wrestling career at the University of Iowa.

With all his awards and accolades, it’s easy to see success has been the hallmark of his career. But that doesn’t even come close to telling the real story. Of his life. Or his career.

While he was coaching at Hofstra, his son, Teague, was playing hide-and-seek around the house with his mother. Suddenly, his heart stopped. Ryan administered CPR while his wife screamed over the phone for paramedics to hurry.

Tragically, Teague was pronounced dead within minutes. It was February 16, 2004. He was only 5 years old.

“There was no warning whatsoever,” Ryan said. “He was healthy. Life was great.”

Teague, in fact, had a physical exam just three weeks earlier and was declared healthy. But it was later determined an infection in his body months earlier had apparently spread to his heart.

For Tom Ryan and his wife Lynette, and their other children, life was forever changed.

“When we returned home from the hospital, our three other children were waiting for us at the door,” Ryan recalled, painfully. “The question was, ‘Where is he? Where’s Teague?’ That’s what an 11, a 9-year-old and a 4-year-old ask. But the pathetic answer was, I didn’t know where he was. I just knew I didn’t like the way we were feeling.”

Ryan started to dig for an answer to their question. Was Teague in heaven? Or where? He looked into evolution, but he soon determined the answer wasn’t there. So he dug into the Bible – anything that might let him spend more time with his son.

“If he’s in heaven, I want to go to heaven,” he said. “I wanted to be with him, so even my initial move toward Christ was very selfish. It was very ‘me’ based.”

“So I looked into Jesus more,” he added. “And if I found the facts I needed, then I’d surrender.”

It was a painful search. It took time.

“It was the pain, the loss, that led me to quiet the world and pursue the possibilities of this life,” Ryan said. “I came to the point of what I call the two options. Option one is, there’s a God. Option two is, no God. So, for me, it was, ‘Is Jesus who He said He was? Or am I here by chance?’ The scales tipped toward Jesus, so I became a believer.”

“Once I got to know Him, what He stood for and what He taught,” Ryan added, “then I decided this was a God I want to follow.”

Tom Ryan, now 48, grew up in Wantagh, New York, too busy to pursue a relationship with Christ, by his own admission.

“We went to church every week,” he said, “but I didn’t really understand what a relationship was like.”

Still, he gives credit to his mother who, he said, “was the closest thing to God I’ve ever met.”

“I was raised everyone is equal,” he continued. “You don’t treat the janitor any different than you treat a professor. So I think, in general, I always had a lot of respect for people.”

“Now, I see every human being as a designed product, with a God that wants them to be the best version of themselves. I think that’s helped me a lot as a leader.”

As such, Ryan tries to coach by three principles of leadership.

“The first is example,” he said. “So if you’re going to coach you’d better lead by example. And if you fall, which I have, then you apologize. The second principle is embracing pain and suffering. And then truth and love is the third.”

“I really believe our team is where it is because of these principles,” he explained. “I believe Ohio State has become one of the premier wrestling teams because of these principles.”

He also believes practicing the right principles attracts the right recruits.

“A lot of the guys we’re getting now are guys who think this way and they’re pursuing that,” he said.

Still, as busy as he is, and with all his teams’ successes, Ryan said his son is never far from his thoughts. He readily admits he talks about Teague “a lot.”

“I want his life to have an impact on others,” he concluded. “He only lived 5 years, but it’s the most influential life mine has crossed.”

Shaping Talent focuses on the influences that lead athletes to succeed. The people who helped them. Their work ethic. How and why they turned something they like into something they do. In other words, how God shaped their growth. If you have a suggestion for a future profile, contact Rye D’Orazio at Central Ohio Fellowship of Christian Athletes at 614-682-6551 or email

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