Fighting Tiger football builds a team of servants and champions

Fighting Tiger football builds a team of servants and champions

Nov. 19, 2014
For Immediate Release


Campbellsville University football team coach Perry Thomas talks about servant leadership with his team. (Campbellsville University Photo by Chris Megginson)


By Chris Megginson / Sports Information Director

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Team mottos are nothing new in the world of sports, and nothing new for Campbellsville University Fighting Tiger football. In 2008, Perry Thomas looked to “Restore the Roar” in his first year as CU’s head coach. A few years later, the program looked to go “Over the Top” with a return to the postseason.

However, during this fall, Thomas and his staff decided to throw slogans out the door and adopt a new team motto, one that would help define Campbellsville University’s Athletic Department slogan of “More Than A Game.” The new motto and acronym is S.E.R.V.A.N.T.S.

“We adopted the S.E.R.V.A.N.T.S. motto to emphasize how we will compete and conduct ourselves on the field and off the field,” Thomas said.

The motto breaks down as: S=Selfless, E=Earned, Not Entitled, R=Responsible, V=Victorious, A= Assertive, N=Never Backs Down, T=Triumphs as One and S=Single Vision.

Now one year after its full implementation, the motto is reaping rewards in the CU football program. On the field, the attitude has shifted; helping lead the 17th-ranked Fighting Tigers to the NAIA Football Championship Series for the first time since 2001 after winning its third Mid-South Conference championship in program history. Also, Thomas was named the recipient of the Ron Finley Mid-South Conference West Division Coach of the Year award for his coaching performance.

However, the biggest reward to both the team and community is occurring off the field.

This fall, Thomas and his coaching staff increased the program’s already effective community service and outreach schedule. Beginning with the first day of fall camp, every member of the team, 185 strong, helped donate to a local need.

“Each of our team members, including managers, participates in service activities beginning with the first day they arrive on campus. This participation continues throughout the entire school year,” Thomas said.

First-year players reported to camp with 125 shoeboxes of household items to donate to the Green RiverMinistries Homeless Shelter. The next day, returning players brought in 65 bags/boxes of back to school supplies to donate to the local schools’ Family Resource Centers.

Since that time, CU football has participated in events to raise food for the Taylor County Food Pantry; raise funds and used cell phones for Spring Haven Domestic Violence Shelter in Elizabethtown, Ky.; helped raise awareness during games for Duchene muscular dystrophy and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), helped host an athletic-department-wide Fall Festival for the local community and more.

Through all of this, Campbellsville University football is a nominee for the Buffalo Funds NAIA Champions of Character Team Award, which is presented annually to one team nationally, which best exemplifies the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character initiative.

Thomas believes his team’s focus on character and service, regular team prayer, having weekly devotions led by a coach or senior and the team’s involvement in Fellowship of Christian Athletes has helped mold his team. Also, three members of the football program serve in the U.S. military and report monthly for drill, even if it means missing a game.

“A true team blends together all the core values of character.You can have a squad without those values, but there is no way that you can have a team that works together for a common goal without those core values,” Thomas said.“We are a program that began the year with 185 players, and we have only six coaches. Focusing on the core values has enabled us to build great team chemistry and championship spirit despite the challenges that come with managing so many student-athletes with so few coaches.

“The trust, respect and sacrifice that is needed for success, has continued to grow.Because of our guys’ commitment to being better men, our program has grown on the field and the social and academic focus of our guys has improved.”

The 17th ranked Fighting Tigers (7-3) will travel to No. 3 Saint Xavier University, the 2011 NAIA national champions, Saturday, Nov. 22 for a 2 p.m. EST kickoff at Bruce R. Deaton Memorial Field. Tickets are $10.The game will be pay-per-view streamed live by SXU athttp://portal.stretchinternet.com/sxu/#and will be broadcast by CU on 88.7 The Tiger, which can also be heard via the TuneIn Radio app on mobile devices.


Campbellsville University Football Service over the past year includes:

March
- St. Baldrick’s – shaving heads and raising funds for cancer
- Football players’ spring break trip to minister to inmates in Florida prisons with Sports Reach
April
- Landscaping at Green River Ministries Homeless Shelter
May
- Conducting field day for Kentucky Christian Academy
July
- Coaches’ mission trip to Costa Rica with SCORE International
August
- First year players reported to camp with 125 shoe boxes of household items to donate to Green RiverMinistries Homeless Shelter
- Returning players reported to camp with 65 shoe boxes of back to school supplies to donate to the local schools’ Family Resource Centers
September
- Held Taylor County Food Pantry Day in conjunction with a home game to donate food items to the Pantry
- Seniors players sponsored a Professors Day at a home game to recognize professors that have impacted his college education
- Participated in the Coach To CURE MD event
October
- Team members helped Kentucky Christian Academy move to its new location
- Team members donated money and items to the Spring Haven Domestic Violence Shelter
- Team participated in the SIDS Awareness Campaign
- Olympic medalist Nate Carr spoke to entire athletic department about respect
- Senior players and coaches participated in the Fall Festival (Halloween event on campus for thelocal youth) providing games and candy
- Head coach was a facilitator in the campus wide Dialogue on Race Program
- Players read to students at Taylor County Elementary
November
- Players read to students at other local elementary schools
- Coaches served as host for the Mid-South Conference Soccer and Volleyball Championships
- Operation Christmas Child boxes – Four captains head this up - 8 total boxes
December
- Coaches and players will be ringing bells for Salvation Army around town

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