From the Church

‘Meek yet strong’: How BYU athletes help the Church’s image, according to BYU athletic directors

BYU’s Kenzie Koerber hits the ball against Utah during an NCAA volleyball game.
Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

A uniquely sports-themed episode of the Church News podcast recently featured Brigham Young University’s Athletic Director Tom Holmoe and Liz Darger, BYU’s senior associate athletic director/senior woman administrator and a member of the Young Women general advisory council. The episode also featured a unique guest host: BYU sports enthusiast, executive vice president and chief content officer of Deseret Management Corporation, and former member of the Relief Society general presidency, Sheri Dew.

Throughout the episode, the guests discussed the role that sports and athletes play at BYU and the way they represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to their competitors and the world.

► You may also like: BYU senior associate athletic director explains her mom’s analogy of creating ‘home-court advantage’ for people in our lives

Both BYU athletic leaders shared incredible and uniquely BYU stories of players standing out and making a noticeable impact on other teams, coaches, and players, from the women’s basketball team leaving early on a Sunday morning dressed in their Sunday best to a student-athlete beginning her home MTC training just days before her team’s national championship game.

When Holmoe and Darger were asked point-blank what BYU sports and student athletes do to help the Church, they both discussed competitiveness combined with a unique and distinct light and attitude toward others.

“A lot of people realize and talk about [it]. People notice that,” Holmoe remarked. “How can you be meek and strong? Well, we learn about that in the gospel. When you are meek, you are strong, and the Savior is such a great example, and our kids know that. And so, I think that it’s just so much a part of who they are.”

“Part of [the athletic department’s] mission statement talks about … building a distinctive, exceptional athletic program,” Darger said. “And those two words: ‘distinctive’ and ‘exceptional,’ we talk about every year at the beginning of the year with our student athletes. And I think they really take that personally. We believe in being exceptional. If we’re going to have an athletic program, we want to be the best, we want to do it as well as we can. And we also are distinctive. We’re going to do it differently than other programs, and our student athletes that sort of embrace that, of knowing that we are a little bit different here, but seeing that as a strength and seeing the strength that comes from being in a place where we can combine our spiritual progression with our athletic progression, and academic and social progression, and seeing things through the lens of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how we treat others.”

You can listen to the full episode in the player below or read the full episode transcript on Church News.

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