UT athletes spread the word

Vols, Lady Vols share faith

Tennessee linebacker Nick Reveiz a big hit against Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 at Neyland Stadium. Photo by Joe Howell

Photo by Joe Howell/Special to the News Sentinel

Tennessee linebacker Nick Reveiz a big hit against Ohio on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2009 at Neyland Stadium. Photo by Joe Howell

Defensive end Chris Walker is expected to make his first start for Tennessee in the season opener against Western Kentucky on Sept. 5. Walker was a standout at Christian Brothers High School.

Photo by Saul Young

Defensive end Chris Walker is expected to make his first start for Tennessee in the season opener against Western Kentucky on Sept. 5. Walker was a standout at Christian Brothers High School.

Chris Walker lost his best friend. Nick Reveiz could have lost his sister and brother.

The two Tennessee football players have been tried and tested and overcome the tragedies that are part of life. Both turned to their faith and Jesus Christ to get them through the most difficult of times.

Sunday night, Walker and Reveiz shared their stories of faith during "Night with the Vols," presented by UT's Team United, a joint ministry of Athletes in Action and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Other UT athletes who spoke at the Wolf-Kaplan Room of UT's Neyland Stadium were golfer Lauren Spurlock and soccer player Molly Baird.

Walker, a junior defensive end, was raised in Memphis in a Christian family and joined a church at an early age.

It wasn't until his junior year of high school that Walker's faith was put to the truest of tests.

His best friend, Chris Mosby, was killed in an automobile accident. Mosby was like a big brother to Walker.

"It was something that was really, really traumatic to me, just seeing the guy I looked up to (pass away)," Walker said. "I looked up to him so much I called him Superman. It was really difficult for me to get over, but God showed me a lot of things through his death. (God) said, 'Live life for me, live life to the fullest, because you never know when I'm going to call you home.' That was a really tough situation for me."

Mosby, a year ahead of Walker at Christian Brothers High School, had accepted a football scholarship offer to Kentucky. Walker planned to follow Mosby to Kentucky.

Two years later, Walker was a UT freshman when former team chaplain James Mitchell brought him to an FCA camp in February.

"It was just something that rocked my world, to see other athletes living for God and just being sold out completely for him," Walker said. "That was when I decided to rededicate my life to God and live for him."

Reveiz, a junior linebacker and son of former UT kicker Fuad Reveiz, had a similar awakening in December of 2007 when doctors discovered his younger brother, Shane, had a tumor inside his heart.

Shane had open-heart surgery Jan. 9, 2008.

"God really told me, 'Nick, you're living for football and you love football. I've given you this passion but that's not your No. 1 thing. I should be your No. 1 thing,' " Nick Reveiz said. "That's when I said, "God, I'm committing my life to you. I'm going to live for you and I'm going to play football for you instead of playing for myself.' "

Four months later, in April of 2008, Reveiz's younger sister, Bryanna, was critically injured in an automobile accident.

As Bryanna went through a number of surgeries, Fuad Reveiz was facing a struggling economy. His home-building business was failing. And last Sept. 26, Fuad was dealt another gut-wrenching blow when he saw Nick suffer a torn ACL against Ohio.

Nick is rehabilitating from knee surgery and will play alongside Shane for the Vols this fall. Bryanna has made a full recovery and just completed her freshman year at UT.

"Our family's been through a whole lot of tough stuff," Nick Reveiz said. "When they first told me they thought I tore my ACL, I instantly started balling and crying I was so saddened, but then I remember our chaplain, Roger Woods, said Romans 8:28.

"What that verse says is no matter what happens to you, whether good or bad, it's for the good of you. It's for the good of the believer of Jesus Christ. I also realized how really small a knee injury is compared to a life-threatening situation, which I'd seen my family go through."

Dave Link is a freelance contributor.

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Comments » 131

voloffaith writes:

Thanks for this article that puts sports and life in proper perspective. What counts in the end is what was done for Christ by those 'IN CHRIST'. Glad to have young men of GOOD character to lead by proper example. May they be a light to others who will be tempted to do foolish things like I did when a student at UT. Glad Lord Jesus turned my life around!

CoverOrange writes:

Enshallah.

mercyseat writes:

you guys are just AWESOME!!!! continue to put god first and honor him, and he will bless you in all your ways. go vols!!!!!!!!!!

FWBVol writes:

Great story about the way the Greatest Story Ever Told, the story of Christ, continues to impact athletes today.

westennvol writes:

Great article about our young men at UT doing good things and give our young people an example of what to do with their lives through Christ.

txsvol#372416 writes:

This article helps center believers. It has been an unbelievable, unusually stressful work weekend for me. (Won't violate confidential information by elaborating, except one lady, possibly with early dementia, kept returning to the work area this afternoon to insist that we stop what we were doing for more acute patients, and facilitate her husband's care. After the fourth time, I asked the clerk to contact security to physically remove the woman back to her husband's room should she return, and asked that she also contact the nursing supervisor about a special kind of bed that would have to be brought in by a vendor. I then went to the call room to 'decompress.') On the FoxNews channel was the wonderful testimony of the person from Mississippi who had been protected from the tornado yesterday by crawling under a communion table. "He saved me once before, and He saved me again yesterday!" I needed to hear Mr. Earnhart's testimony at that time!) I had the sudden thought that the reason that we aren't called to heaven immediately after salvation is to bear witness to others! I went back outside, much more calm. This lady was there for the fifth time, asking for water so that she could take her (own) medicine. I gently laid down the chart I had just picked up, went to the water cooler, and gave her a cup! Mark 9:41. What a God moment for me today! SAVol

volpreacher writes:

Our God is an awesome God. Thanks for this article. Makes me like these guys even more.

dlobh writes:

Amen!

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

sums it up.

UT4ever writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

KptDBVol writes:

Thanks for letting our young men make headlines for some of their good decisions and actions. Seems the only off field newsworthy events are the few bad things. Thanks for sharing a couple of good things our kids are standing for.

We have a team full of quality young men who have and continue to over achieve to be where they are. It is tough to put in the time and effort required to excell at the D-1 level. While they certainly should not be given extra credit for doing "the right thing," we should recognize and honor the many good things that they do if they are going to be villified and drug through the mud for their mistakes.

Thanks KNS for a positive article about these fine young men! GO VOLS!

jclowers writes:

It's great to see good stories about our student athletes, I'd like to see more.

BTW for anyone that would like to know two of our former athletes are playing in the NBA D-League Championship series. Stanley Asumnu and JaJuan Smith on opposite teams. Asumnu scored 8 points and his team got the win. JaJuan scored 18 pts.

TommyJack writes:

Nothing in the article offended me.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to UT4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

worldwideturd writes:

in response to voloffaith:

Thanks for this article that puts sports and life in proper perspective. What counts in the end is what was done for Christ by those 'IN CHRIST'. Glad to have young men of GOOD character to lead by proper example. May they be a light to others who will be tempted to do foolish things like I did when a student at UT. Glad Lord Jesus turned my life around!

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

tgw#509824 writes:

in response to UT4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Everyone has faith, It is just a matter of what or who one has faith in. A Christian testifying about how God has impacted his life, even in sports, is no different than one who has faith in man talking about a person who has had an impacted their life. Both happen all the time in sports.
If you cared to investigate a little about the Christian faith, you will find that God expects us to live a life that will bring honor and glory to Him. People should see Christ in us. That extends to every facet of our lives, even sports.

tnaseevol writes:

in response to worldwideturd:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I do not understand your reply to this person. In my humble opinion, he just posted, in his own words, his testimony. YOU are, IMHO, the one who is judgemental.

Oh, another thing, IMHO your screen name really fits you!

tnaseevol writes:

in response to UT4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"pitiful"........yes you are.

Southland writes:

in response to UT4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

no religion has nothing to do with football but it does life. Are you one of the folks that thinks its cool to use God's name in vain and to drop foul language around children?

Southland writes:

in response to Agent_Orange:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

and with out the evangelist spreading the word we would not have the moral foundation in this country and you would not enjoy the freedom to spout off against religious people. Without the evangelist there would be no churches feeding the hungry and ministering to people all over the world. Take away the churches in the world and you would see hospitals disappear all over the world. You would take billions of relief money from people that need it. You would not see people caring for other people nearly as much as they do now because much of the world's morality comes from teaching by the very evangelist you loathe The small church that I attend sent 14,000 to Haiti in one day. We continue to send aid. We send supplies to every major disaster in the world. What have you done lately besides take shots at people of faith??

VolGrad writes:

Only the truth can bring conviction and provoke such responses as some of those we have here.

We could talk about Buddism, Hinduism or Eastern mysticism and very few, if anyone, would get so impassioned- none would feel intimidated or uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, we deal with that every day, and no one objects. But one person testifying to what Jesus Christ has done in his life, and suddenly people get seven kinds of uncomfortable. We really ought to stop and honestly ask ourselves why it makes us feel that way instead of lashing out blindly.

This story is about life. It about real guys who happen to play football, and how they feel their faith helped them during difficult situations. They are not "preaching" to us or attempting to shovel their beliefs down our throats. They are simply testifying to their experiences, and this expression is a protected freedom in this country. If we simply disagreed with their "religious beliefs," that should pretty much be the beginning and end of it. It should have no such impact as we see here. These "intolerant" responses do not make sense at all, unless... there really is the power of the truth behind these young men's expressions of faith that lays bear our own lies.

Of course, if we feel compelled to "lash out" verbally against these "expressions of faith," well, we also have that right. But we should really be honest with ourselves first about why those things affect us so.

VOLinAthensGA writes:

GREAT ARTICLE! This article sums up why we are better off with Dooley as opposed to Kiffin. I cannot recall one event that Kiffin was involved in over his brief 14 months that promoted the glory of God over "the glory of Kiffin."

VOLsince68 writes:

If some of you have nothing good to say, then please say "nothing at all". It's obvious that some of you did not grow up with God in your life or you just simply refuse to admit it.

This was a great article for a change about some of the young people in our sports programs. I myself am glad to see that they are not ashamed to promote God and and their beliefs. I don't do as I should a lot of the time, but I know a good thing when I read it.

GO VOLS!!!!!

volpreacher writes:

in response to UT4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Religion,no. Faith, yes. Thanks KNS for this article. Without God, there's no football, basketball, baseball, tennis, etc. You catch my drift. Anyone who doesn't have a relationship with Jesus Christ is in deep trouble. Sounds like you need a good dose of Jesus in your heart UT4ever.

rockytopatl writes:

Uh, believe that should be "bawling." The word you used is a reference to sex.

jimr07 writes:

in response to UT4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Yes, we need more Tavis Henry stories.

jimr07 writes:

in response to worldwideturd:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Your name says it all.

Mule_Days_King writes:

Those offended by someone else's testimony of grace are usually the ones who need to hear it the most.
I am very proud of these young men.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

hmme, let's see, my comment was deleted. no profanity, no personal attacks, just a quip about religions in general.

But, if I came on here blathering love-jesus this and love-jesus that, all would be well.

Censorship at its finest (and ugliest).

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Mule_Days_King:

Those offended by someone else's testimony of grace are usually the ones who need to hear it the most.
I am very proud of these young men.

I'm offended by religions. Period. Organized religion is the purest form of evil and hatred on this earth.

So, yes, this article ticks me off.

People spill out this nonsense on occasion, typically ignoring the good-hearted people who stop up EVERY DAY to help others out of sticky situations. Religion of lack thereof does not make a person good of bad.

How many people have been helped out by an uncle, a grandmother, a coach...just because that person is a GOOD person at that moment in their lives??

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to jimr07:

Yes, we need more Tavis Henry stories.

You apparently do, you brought him up.

I_Love_Sports writes:

It's amazing to me the violent emotions that Jesus brings out in unbelievers. Believers, help me by praying for these unhappy unbelievers. It's the only hope they have. "Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

silverstang writes:

Great article! Glad to see not everyone on the team is a thug.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to VolGrad:

Only the truth can bring conviction and provoke such responses as some of those we have here.

We could talk about Buddism, Hinduism or Eastern mysticism and very few, if anyone, would get so impassioned- none would feel intimidated or uncomfortable. As a matter of fact, we deal with that every day, and no one objects. But one person testifying to what Jesus Christ has done in his life, and suddenly people get seven kinds of uncomfortable. We really ought to stop and honestly ask ourselves why it makes us feel that way instead of lashing out blindly.

This story is about life. It about real guys who happen to play football, and how they feel their faith helped them during difficult situations. They are not "preaching" to us or attempting to shovel their beliefs down our throats. They are simply testifying to their experiences, and this expression is a protected freedom in this country. If we simply disagreed with their "religious beliefs," that should pretty much be the beginning and end of it. It should have no such impact as we see here. These "intolerant" responses do not make sense at all, unless... there really is the power of the truth behind these young men's expressions of faith that lays bear our own lies.

Of course, if we feel compelled to "lash out" verbally against these "expressions of faith," well, we also have that right. But we should really be honest with ourselves first about why those things affect us so.

No one would get 'impassioned' because those religions mentioned aren't the ones shoved down everyones's throats every second of the day.

Some of us who speak out against this garbage do so with a sense of history, of the need to NOT go lockstep like sheep to the slaughter.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to volpreacher:

Religion,no. Faith, yes. Thanks KNS for this article. Without God, there's no football, basketball, baseball, tennis, etc. You catch my drift. Anyone who doesn't have a relationship with Jesus Christ is in deep trouble. Sounds like you need a good dose of Jesus in your heart UT4ever.

While I am diametrically opposed to your viewpoint, I do respect your expression of it.

You sound like one of those rapture people.

Well, you have until 11-21-2111 or was it 12-12-1212, or is it 12-21-2112....or is it 12-21-2111???

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to silverstang:

Great article! Glad to see not everyone on the team is a thug.

so, anyone on the team NOT a religious freak is a thug??

Great viewpoint you have.

You get a real sense why the crusades lasted so long when you read the comments by 'christians'.

Southland writes:

in response to always_vol:

so, anyone on the team NOT a religious freak is a thug??

Great viewpoint you have.

You get a real sense why the crusades lasted so long when you read the comments by 'christians'.

I feel sorry for you I really do. You think you know history and you don't. You think you are smarter than everyone and you are not. Hopefully changes are in store for your life

voloffaith writes:

in response to always_vol:

I'm offended by religions. Period. Organized religion is the purest form of evil and hatred on this earth.

So, yes, this article ticks me off.

People spill out this nonsense on occasion, typically ignoring the good-hearted people who stop up EVERY DAY to help others out of sticky situations. Religion of lack thereof does not make a person good of bad.

How many people have been helped out by an uncle, a grandmother, a coach...just because that person is a GOOD person at that moment in their lives??

God's word tells to take care of the orphans,widows,etc. It tells us to prefer others as more important than ourselves. It says there is 'no one GOOD but God.' All our attempts at good are all 'filthy rags' since the motivation outside of personal relationship with Jesus Christ is not for His honor or glory. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." You are right religion or the lack thereof does not make a person good or bad. We are born sinners so organized religion does not determine that. God's word determines that and has spoken to man's desperate state of sin and judgement apart from the forgiveness found in Jesus Christ. Run to Him and beg mercy and forgiveness and He will grant it to the sincere of heart. The ensuing peace from Christ passes all the limited understanding this world has to offer and can't grasp this gracious offer apart from God's spirit enabling. Be thankful to see this article vs the articles of recent memory where young men have made some very poor choices that hurt them and tainted UT's name nationally.To the one who castigated me that's ok I forgive you.

PS you are right He is not through with me yet.I didn't say He was. I'm just glad He turned my life around and has it going in the direction of righteousness for His names sake.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to Southland:

I feel sorry for you I really do. You think you know history and you don't. You think you are smarter than everyone and you are not. Hopefully changes are in store for your life

Seriously???

Do a little homework:

Galileo Galilei

Inquisition

Crusades

Jericho

Moses

On and on. And that's just the judeo-christian portion....

when done, study a bit of aztec and inca practices.

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

in response to voloffaith:

God's word tells to take care of the orphans,widows,etc. It tells us to prefer others as more important than ourselves. It says there is 'no one GOOD but God.' All our attempts at good are all 'filthy rags' since the motivation outside of personal relationship with Jesus Christ is not for His honor or glory. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." You are right religion or the lack thereof does not make a person good or bad. We are born sinners so organized religion does not determine that. God's word determines that and has spoken to man's desperate state of sin and judgement apart from the forgiveness found in Jesus Christ. Run to Him and beg mercy and forgiveness and He will grant it to the sincere of heart. The ensuing peace from Christ passes all the limited understanding this world has to offer and can't grasp this gracious offer apart from God's spirit enabling. Be thankful to see this article vs the articles of recent memory where young men have made some very poor choices that hurt them and tainted UT's name nationally.To the one who castigated me that's ok I forgive you.

PS you are right He is not through with me yet.I didn't say He was. I'm just glad He turned my life around and has it going in the direction of righteousness for His names sake.

In you view, your god controls every little thing, every nano-second of the day, correct??

GreerVol22 writes:

in response to UT4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

My church believes in keeping an open mind, and open heart, and our doors open. I would like to understand why you feel this way. Football is a sport played by young men of all backgrounds, faiths, and creeds. Although I respect your opinion, these young men are free to practice religion as they see fit, and thus share any testimony with anyone that will listen. I simply invite you to open your mind first and the rest will follow.

VOLS_SEC_RULES writes:

Its great to see that Nick and Chris are on ultimate winning team!

always_vol (Inactive) writes:

Actually, I'm done with this topic. I have work to do, and don't want to devote the energy into this today.

Those who 'believe' will believe, those who don't, want. What those of us who DO NOT BELIEVE would really, really love for those of you who DO believe: keep it to yourselves, leave the rest of us (and the world) alone.

Please recognize that IF your god exists in the manner you prefer to think, then he does NOT need you to evangelize, convert, pray for, or control. He can handle it on his own. Any one telling you otherwise is simple after a power-grab.

hueypilot writes:

Anything that would cause a young man or woman to do the right thing rather than the wrong thing, is helpful. To classify all religious thought and result by citing something like the Inquisition is unfair and short sighted. You who don't believe, go on to the next article. Those that enjoy stories like this can read it. It's a free country. And reading on this site is strictly a voluntary action. Which is why I don't understand when some of you get bent out of shape when you see believers words in print. What are you afraid of? I'm certainly not afraid of your atheistic or agnostic beliefs. Believe what you want. And let me and hundreds of millions of others believe what we want.

gnm53108 writes:

in response to always_vol:

In you view, your god controls every little thing, every nano-second of the day, correct??

Jesus loves you.

dlobh writes:

in response to always_vol:

Actually, I'm done with this topic. I have work to do, and don't want to devote the energy into this today.

Those who 'believe' will believe, those who don't, want. What those of us who DO NOT BELIEVE would really, really love for those of you who DO believe: keep it to yourselves, leave the rest of us (and the world) alone.

Please recognize that IF your god exists in the manner you prefer to think, then he does NOT need you to evangelize, convert, pray for, or control. He can handle it on his own. Any one telling you otherwise is simple after a power-grab.

If you're really so offended by people of faith, why did you read the article in the first place? Was it hard to understand the subject of the article? You're opposed to the subject, so why open it? Why did you come on here to read the comments and supposedly be offended? Did you think that the comments would be about another subject? If you want to be left alone, don't read the articles about Christianity and then you won't have to read the comments of Christians.

Gbovol writes:

in response to UT4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I don't know if you are a Christian or even believe in anything but yourself. HOwever, to those who follow Christ, everything in life has to do involves Jesus Christ. Everthing we have or aspire to become, comes from Christ, even Freedom Of Speech, of which this is an example. This same God allows you freedom of speech to write what you wrote. We all slhould be thankful for lthat right. GBoVol

Fryinpansvols writes:

in response to UT4ever:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

This is a great article! We need more good news like this. I hope in the near future someone tells you of the "good news" about Jesus Christ. Eternity is forver my friend. Where do you want to spend eternity when you die? In Heaven praising God, living much better than Earth could ever offer or in Hell burning with the Devil? Think about that. GBO and Praise Jesus!

VolsToTheWall writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

Enshallah.

please be a reference to brother barry on youtube

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