Houston Nutt and the FCA Week of Champions were a perfect fit.
"I've been a big fan of FCA since high school," Nutt said Thursday.
The FCA has announced it has secured the former Arkansas and Ole Miss head football coach and current CBS Sports college football analyst to be the keynote speaker for the banquet to wrap up the 35th Week of Champions, set to be held June 17-21 around Beaufort and Jasper counties.
Nutt calls himself a "fortunate victim of circumstance." His father was a longtime coach and teacher at the Arkansas School For The Deaf, and Nutt grew up around coaches and sports.
In the company of those coaches, and later mentors like Frank Broyles, Lou Holtz and Jimmy Johnson, Nutt said he learned lessons that he can pass on to younger athletes.
"My goal was always to be in the NFL, the NBA. My goal was to play both. That ought to tell you where my thinking was," Nutt said. "I've learned that God plays a very important role and has a plan for everybody's life. Sometimes doors shut for a reason.
"I know what these kids are thinking when they're playing. I know their dreams and their aspirations. Sometimes you fall down, and they have to learn to get back up and come back fighting. Sometimes a setback can be a positive."
Nutt was 135-98 as a head coach at Murray State (1993-96), Boise State (1997), Arkansas (1998-2007) and Ole Miss (2008-11) over 19 seasons. He led Murray State to two Ohio Valley Conference titles and the Racers' first NCAA FCS playoff victory, took Arkansas to three SEC championship games and eight bowl games in 10 seasons in Fayetteville and led Mississippi to two Cotton Bowl victories in four seasons in Oxford.
Nutt said a sports camp like the Week of Champions, where former pro athletes mentor young athletes, is invaluable.
"You're going to hear about the negative, about the poor decisions some of our athletes and our heroes make. You're going to hear about it on the six o'clock news," Nutt said. "For our young athletes to be around these role models and athletes, you just can't put a price on it."
Nutt's commitment is not the only news regarding this year's FCA Week of Champions, the first since the departure of longtime volunteers Gary and Wanda Weatherington and Greg and Connie Brezina, who had guided the organization since they founded it.
In other developments:
Workman said the FCA's involvement has opened doors to even more potential involvement from athletes.
"It is now the largest FCA camp in the country, and there are athletes that love the Lord and just want to have an impact on a student's life. They have the opportunity to use their Christian character and leadership ability to have a Christ-like impact on our students."
According to Workman, the Weatheringtons will be honored in some fashion, as well, though he did not have specifics.
"Their part in the Week of Champions ministry will be honored," Workman said. "Now that FCA and Week of Champions have joined, I think we've learned to respect the Week of Champions' ministry and the Weatheringtons' part in it even more now that we're involved."