STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
SPICEWOOD — It wasn’t so long ago that the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in the Austin area had only eight groups on eight campuses, none in the Highland Lakes.
But Arthur Wesley Adams changed that with the help of a legendary football coach. His effort brought the FCA to campuses in Blanco, Burnet, and Llano counties.
Adams, 78, who was a Spicewood resident, died Saturday, July 29, after a 26-year battle with prostate cancer. According to friend Reagan Lambert, Adams was initially given two years to live when he was diagnosed with the disease in 1990.
Adams, who played baseball for the University of Texas at Austin as a shortstop for coach Bibb Falk, returned to the Highland Lakes in 1988, living first in Horseshoe Bay, after serving on the FCA board of directors in Dallas.
Because of that experience and how much he loved what FCA stood for, Adams contacted a friend of his, Dallas Cowboys head coach Tom Landry, about starting something similar in Austin. Landry had a home in the Barton Creek area and was a University of Texas student himself.
Landry, daughter Lisa Landry Childress, and her husband Gary Childress started a golf tournament in 1988 to raise money for the new Greater Austin FCA. The tournament was played for three years with each year’s goal at $25,000 before a director of the Austin FCA was named.
After the completion of the third tournament, Lambert became the FCA director of Austin/Central Texas/Hill Country.
Lambert said Adams’ goal was to combine two of his passions in life: sports and faith.
“He was a great friend, golf partner, and prayer partner,” Lambert said.
Today, 138 FCA groups, called huddles, exist in 13 counties under the Greater Austin/Central Texas/Hill Country umbrella, including Blanco, Burnet, and Llano counties, a far cry from the original eight.
While those initial huddles were successful, Lambert noted having a Greater Austin umbrella has allowed FCA to grow in so many ways at a faster pace. Part of that growth goes back to Adams’ efforts.
To honor Adams, the Greater Austin FCA officials have decided to rename the Champions of FCA award the Art Adams Champions of FCA. The award is given annually during fellowship’s end-of-year banquet. The event features a well-known speaker and a student who gives his or her testimony. In 2014, Marble Falls High School graduate Sarah Stripling was one of the speakers.
Another honor in memory of Adams is the Art Adams College Scholarship that will go to an area high school senior.
The golf tournament, which was originally played in Lake Travis, will be conducted at Escondido Golf Course, 9090 RR 2147 West in Horseshoe Bay, on Monday, Oct. 2.