Catholic Athletes for Christ
The First Name in Catholic Sports Ministry

    CAC Congratulates Mike Piazza on Election to Baseball’s Hall of Fame

    January 10, 2016, 12:27 pm

    Piazza HOFCatholic Athletes for Christ (CAC) congratulates Mike Piazza on his election to Baseball’s Hall of Fame on January 6.  Piazza will be inducted, along with Ken Griffey, Jr., on July 24 in Cooperstown, N.Y.  Toward the end of his career, as well as throughout his retirement from the game, Piazza has been active in promoting and advancing CAC’s activities, especially its Major League Baseball ministry.

    CAC’s President and Founder Ray McKenna said, “On behalf of everyone associated with Catholic Athletes for Christ, I send sincere and heartfelt congratulations to Mike upon his election to the Hall of Fame.  This honor is well-deserved as Mike is undoubtedly the greatest hitting catcher of all time.  Beyond his many baseball achievements, he is true representative of CAC and the Catholic church.  Mike is a very active CAC Board Member and his maturity of faith, hard work, and the grace of God have brought him to milestone achievement.”

    CAC MLB Athletes Welcome Pope Francis to the U.S.

    August 27, 2015, 11:12 am

    CLICK HERE to read an article in the new issue of “Inside the Vatican” magazine, where three of CAC’s Major League Baseball (MLB) players — Mike Piazza, Craig Stammen, and Mike Sweeney — welcome Pope Francis on his upcoming visit to the United States and share their collective message of being “Athletes for Christ”.

     

    Inside the Vatican

    Speaker Bios

    July 21, 2014, 7:27 pm

    bando_icon_3Sal Bando, Former MLB Player

    SAL BANDO captained and starred for the Oakland Athletics during their three consecutive World Series championships in the early 1970s. He was voted to four MLB all-star teams and finished second in American League MVP voting in 1971. Bando played in over 2,000 games during his 16-year major league career while slugging 242 home runs and over 1,000 RBIs. Bando is a member of CAC’s Athlete Advisory Board and was a participant at the first ever Vatican conference on sports in 2005. He is an accomplished speaker and business leader.


    bauer_2014Lauren Bauer, Former Professional Softball Player

    LAUREN BAUER played softball at the University of Arizona from 1998-2001 and was a member of the 2001 National Championship team. She was a four-time All-American and an Academic All-Pac10 student-athlete. Bauer competed as a member of the 2001 U.S. National Softball Team and was named “Softball Athlete of the Year” by the U.S. Olympic Committee. After playing softball at the professional level, she retired in 2005. Bauer’s goal each day is to make Christ the center of her life; her motto is to “learn, live, and love the faith”.


    casper_icon_3David Casper, Former NFL Player

    DAVE CASPER, nicknamed “The Ghost” is a former NFL football player best known for being a prominent member of the Oakland Raiders. One of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game, Casper was elected to both the College Football and Pro Football Halls of Fame. While in college, he captained the University of Notre Dame football team to a National Championship in 1973. Casper’s 10-year professional career, primarily with the Oakland Raiders, was highlighted by five Pro-Bowl selections and a Super Bowl championship in 1977.


    chaneyDarrel Chaney, Former MLB Player

    DARREL CHANEY spent 16 years in professional sports, playing for the Cincinnati Reds and the Atlanta Braves. While with the Reds, Chaney played in three World Series and was a member of the 1975 “Big Red Machine” world champions. He was also a radio and TV broadcaster for the Braves and was a commercial spokesperson for several companies during his playing career. Following a successful post-baseball business career, Chaney now focuses his attention on motivational speaking.


    kellenclemens-Kellen Clemens, Former NFL Quarterback

    KELLEN CLEMENS is a former NFL quarterback drafted by the New York Jets in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft and played collegiately at Oregon. He has also been a member of the San Diego Chargers, New York Jets, Washington Redskins, Houston Texans, and St. Louis Rams. Clemens is a sixth generation cattle rancher. He grew up herding cattle on his family’s ranch in Oregon, where they own over 100 head of cattle. Clemens is an active member of Catholic Athletes for Christ. His family received an unexpected blessing when Pope Benedict XVI blessed and kissed their four-week-old baby girl at the Papal Mass on April 17, 2008 at Nationals Park in Washington D.C.


    cutcliffe_iconDavid Cutcliffe, Head Football Coach, Duke University

    DAVID CUTCLIFFE is the head football coach of the Duke University Blue Devils. Under Cutcliffe, in 2012 the Blue Devils ended an 18-year bowl drought. The following season in 2013, Cutcliffe led the team to a second straight bowl appearance, an Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division championship, and the first 10-win season in school history. He also earned multiple college football coach of the year awards from the Walter Camp Football Foundation, the Maxwell Football Club, and the Bobby Dodd Foundation.


    Jack Del Rio, Defensive Coordinator, Washington Redskins

    JACK DEL RIO is currently the defensive coordinator of the Washington Redskins. Jack spent 11 years playing linebacker in the National Football League and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1994. He retired from playing in 1996 and went into coaching, serving in a variety of positions for several different NFL teams. In 2003 he was named head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, a position he held until November 2011. Prior to his current position, Jack served as the defensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos from 2012-2014, helping lead the Broncos to Super Bowl XLVIII in February 2014. He also served as head coach of the Oakland Raiders from 2015-2017. Jack and his wife, Linda (member of CAC’s Board of Directors) have three daughters, Lauren, Hope, and Aubrey, and a son, Luke.


    linda

    Linda Del Rio, CAC Board Member

    LINDA DEL RIO is President of ExVotos Communications, LLC, and an accredited photographer. She serves as Vice President of The Jack Del Rio Foundation. Linda is also a board member and the NFL outreach coordinator for Catholic Athletes for Christ (CAC), the first name in Catholic sports ministry and serves as a FOCUS Varsity Catholic’s Executive Consultant for collegiate athletes and missionaries as well as on committees within the Vatican Council of Culture in the division of Sport and within the Council of Laity and Sport. She has also organized women’s organizations for professional sport teams for wives, girlfriends, and their families. Linda’s writings and her accomplished and accredited photographs have been published globally in several publications in many newspapers and magazines. She is a Dame of Malta, a Lady of the Holy Sepulcher and supports many charitable causes including Comunita Cenacolo, Catholic Charities, Salvation Army, Knights of Columbus, Children’s Hospitals, and Special Olympics. Linda has been married to Jack Del Rio, head coach for the Oakland Raiders, for 28 years and they have raised four children — Lauren, Hope, Aubrey, and Luke.


    donnellyRich Donnelly, Former MLB Coach

    RICH DONNELLY has coached in professional baseball for over 25 years. Prior to joining the Seattle Mariners’ organization in 2014, Donnelly spent three seasons (2011-2013) as skipper of the Brooklyn Cyclones of the New York-Penn League, Short Season-A farm club of the New York Mets. Donnelly also spent 14 seasons on Jim Leyland’s staff with three organizations – Pittsburgh Pirates (1986-1996), Florida Marlins (1997-1998), and Colorado Rockies (1999). He earned a World Series ring with Florida in 1997. He is also the author of the book, “The Chicken Runs at Midnight.”


    RebeccaDussaultRebecca Dussault, Former Olympic Cross Country Skier

    REBECCA DUSSAULT is a former American cross-country skier who was born and raised in Gunnison, Colorado. She participated in the 2006 Winter Olympics and was featured on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” Catholic TV Show for her zeal of her faith and her active Catholic lifestyle. She is married with four children.


    faust_iconGerry Faust, Former Head Football Coach, Notre Dame

    GERRY FAUST is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at the University of Notre Dame from 1981-1985 and at the University of Akron from 1986-1994. From 1962-1980, Faust was the head football coach at Moeller High School in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he tallied a mark of 178-23-2 that included seven unbeaten seasons, four national prep titles, and five Ohio state titles in his last six seasons. Faust coached 22 high school All-Americans and 39 All-Ohio players. In November 1980, Faust was announced as Notre Dame’s 24th head coach, compiling a record of 30-26-1 in five years, with two Bowl appearances.


    kerryfrazierKerry Fraser, Former NHL Referee

    KERRY FRASER is a former senior NHL referee who holds the record for most regular season and playoff games refereed. He began his NHL officiating career in 1980, and called over 1,900 regular season games, 13 Stanley Cup Finals, and over 261 Stanley Cup playoff games. Fraser also officiated two NHL All-Star Games, the 2010 NHL Winter Classic, the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan.


    GavenEddie Gaven, Former MLS Player

    EDDIE GAVEN is a former professional MLS soccer player playing with the Columbus Crew. In July 2012, Gaven became the youngest player to play in 250 MLS matches at 25 years and 257 days old. He was originally signed by the New York Metro Stars when he was only 16 years old. Gaven has a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother and loves to pray the rosary.


    therese_grentz_iconTheresa Grentz, Former Collegiate/Olympics Basketball Coach

    THERESA GRENTZ is the former head coach of the women’s basketball programs at the University of Illinois, Rutgers University, and St. Joseph’s University. She was elected into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. Grentz’s career record was 671-309 and she served as a head coach for 32 years, with the last 13 as the Illinois head coach. She was the Olympic head coach in 1992 where the team captured the Bronze medal in Barcelona.


    HabetzAlyson Habetz, University of Alabama Softball Coach

    ALYSON HABETZ is the assistant head softball coach at the University of Alabama, where she helped lead the Crimson Tide to the Division I National Championship in 2012. Habetz played professional baseball for the Colorado Silver Bullets and the Long Beach Aces. Her “uncle,” Hall of Fame Major League Baseball legend Tommy Lasorda, has mentored her career. Habetz loves to evangelize and has a special devotion to the Blessed Mother and the rosary.


    holliday_icon_3Johnny Holliday, Sports Broadcaster

    JOHNNY HOLLIDAY is a legendary Washington, D.C. sports broadcaster. Having broadcast more than 1,100 University of Maryland football and basketball games since 1979, he is considered the “Voice of the Terrapins”. Holliday also hosts the pre- and post-game shows for the Washington Nationals baseball team. He was inducted into the Radio and Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2003, and was awarded the Lindsay Nelson Outstanding Sportscaster Award in 2005 and the Chris Schenkel Award in 2006.


    ChrisHornChris Horn, Former NFL Player

    CHRIS HORN is a former wide receiver having played for the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, and the Kansas City Chiefs during his NFL career (2003-2007). He is a member of CAC’s Athlete Advisory Board and is very interested in evangelization. Horn and his family pray the rosary daily and have a special devotion to St. Bridget.


    greg_johnson_iconGreg Johnson, Former NHL Player

    GREG JOHNSON is a former NHL hockey player (1994-2006) with the Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburgh Penguins, Chicago Blackhawks, and Nashville Predators. In over 700 career NHL games, Johnson earned 350 points from 134 goals and 216 assists. His best season was in 1998-99 where he achieved 18 goals and 34 assists. Johnson was also a silver medalist for Team Canada in the 1994 Olympics and won a gold medal for Canada in the 1991 World Junior Championships.


    terry_kennedy_iconTerry Kennedy, Former MLB Player

    TERRY KENNEDY was a four-time all-star Major League Baseball catcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1978-80), San Diego Padres (1981-86), Baltimore Orioles (1987-88), and San Francisco Giants (1989-91). In a 14-year career, Kennedy hit .264 with 113 home runs and 628 RBI in 1,491 games. Kennedy tied Johnny Bench’s National League mark of 40 doubles in a season in 1982. That same year Kennedy won the Silver Slugger Award. He appeared in four All-Star games (1981, 1983, 1985, and 1987) and played in two World Series (1984 with the Padres and 1989 with the Giants).


    bobby_keppel_iconBob Keppel, Former MLB Player

    BOBBY KEPPEL was a first round draft pick by the New York Mets in 2000. After six years in the minor leagues and one arm surgery he broke into the big leagues in 2006 with the Kansas City Royals. Keppel spent time in the majors and minors with the Colorado Rockies, Florida Marlins, and Minnesota Twins. He then spent four seasons (2010-2013) pitching in Japan with the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters. Keppel is currently the publisher of “The 9s” mens magazine in St. Louis.


    klecko_icon_3Joe Klecko, Former NFL Player

    JOE KLECKO was selected by the New York Jets in the sixth round of the 1977 NFL draft and led all NFL rookies that season with eight sacks. He was the first member of what would become one of the most feared defensive lines in the history of the NFL, known as the “New York Sack Exchange”. Klecko, a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro player, was the first NFL player ever to be named to the Pro Bowl at three different positions (DE, NT, and DT). He was also the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1981.


    RichardLaneRichard Lane, Catholic Evangelist

    RICHARD LANE is a recognized Catholic evangelist and motivational speaker. Lane is the son of the Late Dick “Night Train” Lane, NFL Hall of Fame Cornerback. As a convert to the faith in April 2003, Lane has been featured in the national media on “Catholic Answers Live”, Ave Maria Radio, and Relevant Radio.


    BillLazorBill Lazor, Offensive Coordinator, Chicago Bears

    BILL LAZOR is currently the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears. Lazor previously coached for the Miami Dolphins, Washington Redskins, Seattle Seahawks, and Philadelphia Eagles as well as offensive coordinator at the University of Virginia. He played collegiately as a quarterback at Cornell University from 1991-1993, where he graduated with 26 passing and offensive program records.


    Chris Ledyard, Athletic Director, JSerra High School

    CHRIS LEDYARD is the athletic director of JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano.  Previously, he served as the Director of Athletics for Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.


    lombardiJoe Lombardi, Quarterbacks Coach, New Orleans Saints

    JOE LOMBARDI is currently the quarterbacks coach of the New Orleans Saints.   offensive coordinator of the Detroit Lions. His previous coached with the Detroit Lions and Atlanta Falcons. Prior to coaching in the NFL, he coached at the college level at Mercyhurst College, Bucknell University, the Virginia Military Institute, and the University of Dayton. Lombardi also coached for the New York/New Jersey Hitmen of the XFL for one season. The grandson of legendary NFL coach Vince Lombardi, he played as a tight end and graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1994.


    patmccaskeyPat McCaskey, Board of Directors, Chicago Bears

    PAT MCCASKEY began working for the Chicago Bears in 1974 and currently serves on the Chicago Bears Board of Directors. He is also the Chairman of Sports Faith International, an initiative that recognizes people who are successful in sports while leading exemplary lives. As Senior Director of Special Projects for the Bears, he works with players and staff to continue the club’s faith stewardship and community outreach initiatives. He is a speaker known for his moving and humorous presentations on sports, community, and faith. A high school football All-American and record-breaking track star in his youth, McCaskey is an avid runner who competes on the masters track circuit.


    MikeMcglinnMike McGlinn, Former Offensive Tackle, Notre Dame

    MIKE MCGLINN was a Notre Dame University offensive tackle, and part of the Lou Holtz legacy from 1991-1994. He played in major bowl games (Orange, Sugar, Cotton, and Fiesta) over four consecutive years. McGlinn is multi-talented individual who shares his love of the Catholic faith through speaking, writing, and music. He sings, plays piano, guitar and bass.


    RayMcKennaRay McKenna, Founder/President, Catholic Athletes for Christ

    RAY MCKENNA is founder and president of Catholic Athletes for Christ. He has served in sports-related ministry for 15 years including ministries associated with the MLB, NFL, professional boxing, and youth sports programs. McKenna was a participant in Rome at the Vatican’s first-ever sports conference in 2005 and has been working with the Vatican’s sports office to promote the Church’s mission in the United States through CAC. A leading Catholic speaker, McKenna’s favorite discussion topics are: “Jesus Christ: Model of Manliness, Model of Meekness”; “The Victory Disguised as a Defeat: Salvation of the World through a Cross on Calvary” (a reflection on St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians); “Playing and Praying to Win: The Role of Christians in Sports”; and “The Sense of Humor of God”.


    mckeon_icon_3Jack McKeon, Former MLB Manager

    JACK MCKEON is a former Major League Baseball manager. When “Trader Jack” took over as manager of the Florida Marlins in 2011 at age 80, he became the second oldest manager in major league history, behind only Connie Mack. During his previous stint with the Marlins from 2003-2005, McKeon led the team to a world championship in 2003. He also managed the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and Cincinnati Reds. Jack was named National League Manager of the Year in 1999 and again in 2003.


    DarrellMillerDarrell Miller, Former MLB Player

    DARRELL MILLER is a former player of the California Angels (1984-1988) and currently serves as the Director of MLB’s Urban Youth Academy. As a convert to the faith, Miller is especially mindful of the depth and truth of the Catholic faith. He is a dynamic evangelical speaker who loves to share his testimony and faith far and wide. Miller was a participant in the Vatican’s first ever conference on Sports in 2005.


    piazza_icon_3Mike Piazza, Former MLB Player

    MIKE PIAZZA is recognized as one of Major League Baseball’s best players of the late 20th century. A 12-time All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Piazza is often regarded as one of the best-hitting catchers of all time and holds the record for home runs hit by a catcher, with a career total of 427. Piazza played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, and Oakland Athletics, before retiring in 2008.


    Philip Rivers, NFL Player, Indianapolis Colts

    PHILIP RIVERS is the starting quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts.  Previously, he was quarterback for the San Diego Chargers. Rivers was drafted in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft with the fourth overall pick. .


    VinnyRottinoVinny Rottino, Former MLB Player

    VINNY ROTTINO is a former Major League Baseball player and current scout for the Texas Rangers..  A native of Racine, Wis., Vinny played for his hometown Milwaukee Brewers from 2006-2008, before playing for the Florida Marlins, New York Mets, and Cleveland Indians. In 2014, Vinny played for the Nexen Heroes of the Korean Baseball Organization where he helped lead his team to the KBO Championship Series.  Vinny is a cradle Catholic and very interested in sharing the faith with others, especially the young members of the church. He loves attending Mass and is thankful for the special graces the Lord bestows through the Mass.


    seagoAmy Seago, Track and Field Head Coach

    AMY SEAGO is in her 12th year at the helm of the College of Charleston track and field and cross country teams. Under Seago’s tutelage, Charleton’s athletes have captured 19 conference titles in six different individual events and earned three trips to the NCAA Outdoor Regionals. Formerly Amy Schuckert, Seago was a track and field All-American at Allegheny College where she was a two-year captain of the cross country team and qualified for the NCAA Cross Country Championships twice. Additionally, she was a six-time NCAA national qualifier and set a conference record in the 800m. She won 12 North Coast Athletic Conference titles and was named to the all-conference team 18 times.


    BradSengBrad Seng, Professional Ironman Triathlete

    BRAD SENG competes year round as a professional Ironman triathlete (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run). Seng has been the featured guest on EWTN’s “Life on the Rock” television program and several national radio programs including Nextwave Faithful Live and Catholic Connection.


    shurmurPat Shurmur, Offensive Coordinator, Denver Broncos

    PAT SHURMUR is currently the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.  Shurmur previously served as head coach of the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns. During his collegiate career, Shurmur was an all-Big Ten center at Michigan State. He loves his Catholic faith and is interested in sharing that faith through football.


    Kramer Soderberg, Coach and Author

    KRAMER SODERBERG is currently an assistant basketball coach at Millikin University in Decatur, Ill.  Kramer is a former standout college and high school basketball player.  Kramer was named Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Missouri in 2008 and inducted into the Lindenwood University HOF in 2017.  As a cradle Catholic Kramer’s faith life has been shaped through the influence of his parents, especially his father, Brad Soderberg, lifelong college basketball coach and current assistant at the University of Virginia. Kramer recently released a book titled “Fill Your Cup for Christ: A Spiritual Journey Sown and Grown through Sports.”  This book is meant to inspire and motivate Catholics to grow in their relationship with Christ and pursue a deeper and more authentic faith life by learning to strive for spiritual greatness in the midst of everyday life.  As a young, authentic, and enthusiastic Catholic, Kramer is able to connect with people of all ages through his stories, experiences, and simple yet profound understanding of the Catholic faith.


    JeffSuppanJeff Suppan, Former MLB Player

    JEFF SUPPAN is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and San Diego Padres. In 2006, he helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Championship and was named Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series. Suppan, a cradle Catholic and a product of a Catholic school education, was the first athlete to participate in the Vatican’s first-ever conference on Sports in 2005.


    sutulovichEric Sutulovich, Former NFL Coach

    ERIC SUTULOVICH is a former NFL coach with the Atlanta Falcons, Detroit Lions, and Houston Texans. Prior to his stint in the NFL, Sutulovich spent time in the collegiate ranks as a football assistant for the University of Kansas, University of Pittsburgh, and Louisiana Tech.


    sweeneyMike Sweeney, Former MLB Player

    MIKE SWEENEY (Chairman) is the former captain of the Kansas City Royals and a five-time Major League Baseball all-star first baseman. Retiring from the game in March 2011, Mike spent his first 13 years in the majors with the Royals, before finishing his career with the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and Philadelphia Phillies.  In 2015, he was selected as the 26th member of the Royals Hall of Fame. He now works as a special assistant for the Kansas City Royals and also runs his Catholic Baseball Camp organization.  Mike is a cradle Catholic and loves to share his faith at every opportunity. He remains fully committed to sharing the Gospel through athletics to all fellow believers in Christ.


    ThierfelderDr. Bill Thierfelder, Former Olympian High Jumper

    DR. BILL THIERFELDER is president of Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina. He is a licensed psychologist, a two-time NCAA Division I All-American, a former NCAA Division I coach, and a member of the United States Olympic Committee’s Sports Psychology Registry (2000–2004). Dr. Thierfelder participated in the 1980 United States Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon, and was a medalist at the 1981 U.S. Track and Field National Championships. He is also author of the book, “Less Than A Minute To Go: The Secret To World-Class Performance in Sport, Business and Everyday Life”.


    LukeVercolloneLuke Vercollone, Former Professional Soccer Player

    LUKE VERCOLLONE has been a member of the Richmond Kickers soccer club in the USL Professional Division since 2008. Prior to joining Richmond, Vercollone played with the Charleston Battery during the 2006 and 2007 USL First Division seasons. Walked on to Seton Hall University’s soccer team Vercollone quickly became a starter and helped lead the Pirates to three consecutive NCAA tournaments. He earned first team Big East honors and was drafted by the MLS, where he played two seasons with the New England Revolution.


    pat_verbeek_iconPat Verbeek, Former NHL Player

    PAT VERBEEK is a former NHL player from 1982-2002 and played for the New Jersey Devils, Hartford Whalers, New York Rangers, Dallas Stars, and Detroit Red Wings during his 20-year career. Verbeek is currently employed as Assistant General Manager with the Tampa Bay Lightning with former Detroit teammate Steve Yzerman, the current General Manager of the Lightning. He previously served as pro scout with the Detroit Red Wings.

    Athlete Advisory Board

    June 24, 2014, 10:58 am

    SweeneyMike Sweeney

    MIKE SWEENEY (Chairman) is the former captain of the Kansas City Royals and a five-time Major League Baseball all-star first baseman. Retiring from the game in March 2011, Mike spent his first 13 years in the majors with the Royals, before finishing his career with the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and Philadelphia Phillies.  In 2015, he was selected as the 26th member of the Royals Hall of Fame. He now works as a special assistant for the Kansas City Royals and also runs his Catholic Baseball Camp organization.  Mike is a cradle Catholic and loves to share his faith at every opportunity. He remains fully committed to sharing the Gospel through athletics to all fellow believers in Christ. In Mike’s words, “the Eucharist is our common language of communication. Provision of Holy Communion allows athletes to transcend language and other communication barriers and truly unite as one body in Christ. It supernaturally penetrates the hardness of hearts, permeates the receptive soul and promotes tolerance of differences.”


    SuppanJeff Suppan

    JEFF SUPPAN (Vice Chairman) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Boston Red Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks, Kansas City Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, and San Diego Padres. In 2006, Jeff helped lead the St. Louis Cardinals to a World Championship and was named Most Valuable Player of the National League Championship Series. Jeff, a cradle Catholic and a product of a Catholic school education, was the first athlete to participate in the Vatican’s first-ever conference on Sports in 2005. Jeff is currently serving as a pitching coordinator in the Kansas City Royals organization.


    bandoSal Bando

    SAL BANDO was a four-time all-star third baseman and captain of the three-time World Champion Oakland Athletics (1972-74). His playing career spanned 16 years with the A’s and the Milwaukee Brewers. He also served as General Manager for the Brewers and now resides in Milwaukee and Phoenix, Ariz.


    bauer_2014Lauren Bauer

    LAUREN BAUER played softball at the University of Arizona from 1998-2001 and was a member of the 2001 National Championship team. She was a four-time All-American and an Academic All-Pac10 student-athlete. Lauren competed as a member of the 2001 U.S. National Softball Team and was named “Softball Athlete of the Year” by the United States Olympic Committee. After playing softball at the professional level, she retired in 2005. Lauren is excited to be able to share her faith with others through the Catholic Athletes for Christ Speakers Bureau. Lauren’s goal each day is to make Christ the center of her life. Her motto is to “learn, live, and love the faith”.


    CarneseccaLou Carnesecca

    LOU CARNESECCA won 536 NCAA basketball games over 24 seasons as the men’s basketball head coach at St. John’s University. His teams reached the post-season in every season he coached the team, including a Final Four appearance in 1985. Lou was selected as the National Coach of the Year in 1983 and 1985 by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. He was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992. “Little Louie” still serves as a goodwill ambassador for St. John’s and is widely respected for his decency and humanity all throughout the basketball world. He is a daily communicant and retains a strong and vibrant love and devotion to the Catholic Church.


    Jack Del Rio

    JACK DEL RIO spent 11 years playing linebacker in the National Football League and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1994. He retired from playing in 1996 and went into coaching, serving in a variety of positions for several different NFL teams. Jack and his wife, Linda (member of CAC’s Board of Directors) have three daughters, Lauren, Hope, and Aubrey, and a son, Luke. Jack thanks the late Monsignor Reynolds of New Orleans for “patiently leading me through the scriptures and answering my many questions about the Catholic faith. I am a proud Catholic man today thanks to him.”


    DussaultRebecca Dussault

    REBECCA DUSSAULT competed for the U.S. Olympic team in cross-country skiing in the 2006 winter games in Turin, Italy. Among her ambitions are to live a life of heroic virtue to become a saint. She loves to evangelize at all times and has a special devotion to Blessed Pier Georgio Frassati.


    EcksteinDavid Eckstein

    DAVID ECKSTEIN was a Major League Baseball infielder for 10 seasons and helped lead two teams to a world championship – the Anaheim Angels in 2002 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 World Series. At 5’7”, David was told that he was “too small” to play at every level of baseball since little league. Yet his talent and fierce competitiveness allowed him to excel in the major leagues. His manager in St. Louis, Tony LaRussa, described David “as the toughest guy I’ve ever seen in a uniform.” David loves the Catholic Church and its teachings and he is especially touched by the Scriptural guarantee that the Lord will never burden us with more than can we handle. David is married to professional actress Ashley Drane.


    GavenEddie Gaven

    EDDIE GAVEN is a retired American soccer player who played 11 seasons in Major League Soccer, primarily with the Columbus Crew. In July 2012, Gaven became the youngest player to play in 250 MLS matches at 25 years and 257 days old. Eddie has a strong devotion to the Blessed Mother and loves to pray the rosary.


    HabetzAlyson Habetz

    ALYSON HABETZ is the assistant head softball coach at the University of Alabama, where she helped lead the Crimson Tide to the Division I National Championship in 2012. Alyson played professional baseball for the Colorado Silver Bullets and the Long Beach Aces. Her “uncle,” Hall of Fame Major League Baseball legend Tommy Lasorda, has mentored her career. She was inducted into the West Alabama Softball Hall of Fame in 2019. Alyson loves to evangelize and has a special devotion to the Blessed Mother and the rosary.


    HornChris Horn

    CHRIS HORN was an NFL wide receiver for the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, and Carolina Panthers. He is involved in evangelization and his family prays the rosary daily and has a special devotion to St. Bridget.


    terry_kennedy_iconTerry Kennedy

    TERRY KENNEDY was a four-time all-star Major League Baseball catcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1978-80), San Diego Padres (1981-86), Baltimore Orioles (1987-88), and San Francisco Giants (1989-91). In a 14-year career, Kennedy hit .264 with 113 home runs and 628 RBI in 1,491 games. Kennedy tied Johnny Bench’s National League mark of 40 doubles in a season in 1982. That same year Kennedy won the Silver Slugger Award. He appeared in four All-Star games (1981, 1983, 1985, and 1987) and played in two World Series (1984 with the Padres and 1989 with the Giants). Terry and his wife Theresa reside in Phoenix, Ariz., and are active members of the Diocese of Phoenix.


    McKeonJack McKeon

    JACK McKEON is a former Major League Baseball manager. When “Trader Jack” took over as manager of the Florida Marlins in 2011 at age 80, he became the second oldest manager in major league history, behind only Connie Mack. During his previous stint with the Marlins from 2003-2005, Jack led the team to a world championship in 2003. He also managed the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and Cincinnati Reds. Jack was named National League Manager of the Year in 1999 and again in 2003. He is also the author of two books about baseball and has a special devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux and the Blessed Mother.


    millerDarrell Miller

    DARRELL MILLER is the Vice President of Youth and Facility Development for Major League Baseball.  He is instrumental in the developing of MLB’s Urban Youth Academies across the country. Darrell played major league baseball in the 1980s for the California Angels and also was a major league scout for the Angels. He is currently in deaconate training in the Diocese of Orange (Calif.) and is a regular speaker for CAC at men’s conferences.


    PiazzaMike Piazza

    MIKE PIAZZA is recognized as one of Major League Baseball’s best players of the late 20th century. A 12-time All-Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner, Mike is often regarded as one of the best-hitting catchers of all time and holds the record for home runs hit by a catcher, with a career total of 427. Mike played for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Florida Marlins, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, and Oakland Athletics, before retiring in 2008. He shares a desire to spread the “good news” through athletics.


    RottinoVinny Rottino

    VINNY ROTTINO is a former Major League Baseball player, currently serving as a scout in the Texas Rangers organization. A native of Racine, Wis., Vinny played for his hometown Milwaukee Brewers from 2006-2008, before playing for the Florida Marlins, New York Mets, and Cleveland Indians. Vinny is a cradle Catholic and very interested in sharing the faith with others, especially the young members of the church. He loves attending Mass and is thankful for the special graces the Lord bestows through the Mass.


    Pat Shurmur

    PAT SHURMUR is currently the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos.  Shurmur previously served as head coach of the New York Giants and Cleveland Browns. During his collegiate career, Shurmur was an all-Big Ten center at Michigan State. He loves his Catholic faith and is interested in sharing that faith through football.


    Craig Stammen

    CRAIG STAMMEN currently pitches in the major leagues for the San Diego Padres.  A native of North Star, Ohio, Craig played football, basketball, and baseball at Versailles High School and then continued his baseball career at the University of Dayton. He credits much of his career success to hard work, determination, and trusting in God’s providence. Craig is a regular attendee of CAC-hosted Masses both at Petco Park and on the road.

    Start a Chapter

    June 24, 2014, 10:54 am

    Established in 2008, CAC’s Cathletes™ middle and high school chapter program builds on the specific invitation and exhortation of Pope Saint John Paul II to evangelize the world of sports and encourage all Catholic athletes to share the reason for their joy (Jesus Christ) in all things. Nearly 70 schools across the country, including all the diocesan high schools in Trenton (N.J.) and Springfield (Ill.) have either established CAC chapters or are in the final stages of launching the program and other schools are contacting CAC each week to get more information on starting a chapter. The CAC Cathletes in Trenton produced a short video highlighting their local chapter programs (see below).

    Chapter lessons are Sacramentally focused and always begin with sports terminology and stories and then interweave the faith analogies and teachings. For example, the lessons discuss the importance of the virtue of fortitude for individual and team performance and then (and only then) do they explain the theological underpinnings of the virtue as applied to the whole athlete. Our approach is on the teachings of the Catholic Church on the dignity of the human person based on the divinely created wholeness of the body, mind, and soul.

    “The CAC Cathletes™ chapter program has helped spark and reinforce Catholic beliefs within our school community. Our athletic program comes in contact with many different types of schools within our high school athletic association. Having our athletes reflect and represent the core values of CAC in every competition they participate in is a strong evangelization tool. It is a small movement that is having a tremendous impact at both the local and state level.” – Mark Jeanmard, Athletic Director and Softball Coach, John Paul II Catholic High School, Slidell, La.

    Chapter-Photo---Option-BThe Cathletes™ chapter program integrates informative and inspiring sports material with more important Catholic based teachings such as the Holy Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It enlists the service of recognized and successful current and former professional athletes and coaches such as Mike Piazza, Mike Sweeney, Phillip Rivers, Jack Del Rio, Joe Lombardi, and Craig Stammen, to name but a few, to explain the centrality of Catholicism and its teachings to their athletic successes and personal lives.

    We invite you and your school to join our Cathletes™ chapter “team” as we embark on an exciting and fun-filled journey to become the best version of ourselves we can be on and off the playing field. The Cathletes™ curriculum derives its uniqueness by combining diverse and seeming unrelated items such as the musings of Yogi Berra and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI into a compelling series of lessons. Each lesson and our entire “theology of sports” — reduced to its essence — maintain and proclaim that real sporting success is only achieved and measured by reference to eternal Truth.

    For more information on launching a Cathletes™ chapter program at your school, please contact Ray McKenna, CAC Cathletes™ chapter program coordinator (acting) at ray@catholicathletesforchrist.org.

    Catholic Athletes for Christ | 3703 Cameron Mills Road, Alexandria, VA 22305 | 703.239.3070 | info@catholicathletesforchrist.org