STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — Former college All-American and NFL All-Pro linebacker Dat Nguyen is known as one of the top players of his era. But these days, the husband and father also wants to be known as a mentor and motivator.
His past and present are why Barney Sarver, FCA area representative, asked Nguyen to be the featured speaker at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes community luncheon from noon-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21, at the Marble Falls Church of Christ, 711 Broadway. Cost is $20 per person or $200 for a table of eight or $500 for a table of eight and a FCA football autographed by Nguyen. Choccolatte’s in Marble Falls will cater.
Nguyen was a member of the famed Texas A&M “Wrecking Crew” defense from 1995-98 then spent six seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
He has been active with FCA for some time and worked with Sarver when in South Texas. The former linebacker will also travel to San Antonio that day to play in an FCA golf tournament named after him.
Sarver began organizing this luncheon four years ago and thought so much of Nguyen that he wanted the former player to be the guest speaker.
Nguyen is originally from Rockport, born into a family of fishermen that escaped from Vietnam to the Texas Gulf. He played soccer before football and was quick and strong. He was a punter on his junior high team and became one of the top nationally when he played for Rockport-Fulton High School.
The family had a restaurant in Aransas Pass though Sarver wasn’t sure of its status following Hurricane Harvey’s devastation.
Nguyen’s work ethic comes from his family.
“He has a great testimony,” Sarver said. “He’s a real person.”
Money raised from the luncheon helps the FCA with other events such as the “Huddles” on campuses during which a coach who is a FCA member leads gatherings. While FCA staff don’t meet with student-athletes, they do meet with the coach who is part of the organization, hand out Bibles to every coach for FCA chapters at the schools, and help organize the Fields of Faith events that happen at least once a school year on a Wednesday night.
In past years, those living in Burnet would come to the Mustang Stadium in Marble Falls for Fields of Faith. Now, the two schools each have their own event.
“We pay for stadium costs, speakers, Huddle speakers … who know about drugs and alcohol and can help, too,” Sarver said. “If our coaches need something specific, we try to help them get it.”
FCA also has camps and will pay for those fees for students.
Sarver said FCA wants to help student-athletes be their very best because the organization understands a simple truth.
“It’s tough being a teenager,” he said.