Non-LDS BYU football players talk faith

by | Aug. 19, 2010

Saints & Sports

BYU is a private religious institution with the mission to help those who attend grow both academically and spiritually. However, the unique environment BYU has to offer doesn't just affect the LDS student body enrolled at the university; it's also become a nurturing place for many religious athletes outside the LDS faith.

The headline of an ESPN article written after Coach Mendenhall became BYU’s head coach read, "Can Bronco Mendenhall return BYU football to glory and still honor the school's mission?" Given that Coach Mendenhall has won at least 10 games each season since after his first year, it would appear he has. However, while most in the arena of football will judge Mendenhall's success based on wins and losses, some people closer to him feel he's helped them win in ways that can't be tallied on any stat sheet.

"I've become more religious since coming out here, definitely," J.J. Di Luigi said with a smile. "I've become a better person since being out here and just I love it out here. You know, we don't just have LDS members on this team. We have Baptists, Methodists and Catholics and all different sorts of people who want to be here and have the BYU experience. It's really a neat thing and it's great.

"Me and all the non-LDS players meet once a week," Di Luigi continued. "We have Coach Weber's pastor, Pastor Scott, meet with us once a week and he’s teaching a Bible study for us. Pastor Scott loves us and he loves BYU. He says we're going to be great and he comes to all of the games. He's always following how we do and he'll text us and show us support and things like that."

Read the rest of this story at scout.com
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