Highly successful coach enthused about work with FCA
VERSAILLES, Ky. — Even though she was one of Kentucky’s most successful high school coaches, Bug Brown knew it was time to get out.
Five years later, she can’t wait to see what each day brings. And she believes it was all part of God’s plan for her life.
She’d just completed a five-year stint coaching girls’ soccer at Scott County High School with an 11-7-4 record. Even though the Cardinals had consistently been an 11th Region contender and had finished 21-2-0 the year before, she felt something pulling her away from the game she loves. “It was definitely time for me to say I have had enough,” Brown remembers, “because I felt the Lord was leading me to something else.”
Today, Andrea Brown — nearly everyone calls her “Bug,” a nickname she’s had since childhood — isn’t drawing up plans to get more shots on goal. Her life revolves around serving God as the Area Representative for Anderson and Woodford counties along with Midway University. She’s behind the scenes now, but excited to be in there as she can devote all of her energies toward leading others to living for Christ.
“I know the pressures coaches face,” she says. “I know what it’s like to be a student-athlete because I was one,” says Brown, who played soccer at Woodford County High School and was later an All-American at Midway. She eventually took over the girls’ soccer program at Woodford where her teams made the state Final Four three times in six years. She later coached at Nelson County and Scott before leaving the sideline.
While she had a stellar coaching record, Brown says she never kept track of wins and losses or championships. According to the Kentucky High School Athletic Association website, her teams won eight district crowns and four regional titles.
“I have no regrets,” she says. “Teaching and coaching got me ready for what I am doing.”
She went to work for State Farm insurance, but while there, she felt the calling for some form of ministry pulling harder. It grew when her one of her high school teachers, famed wrestling coach Rusty Parks, asked her to share her faith with the Scott County wrestlers, for whom he was serving as “character coach” through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
“That was a big nudge,” she says. “I talked to my boss at State Farm and said I believed that the Lord was calling me into a ministry but I didn’t know what facet.”
Last summer, that facet became the FCA. Brown says she’s loving every day of her new calling. “It’s a humbling experience but it’s also a strong learning experience when you see lives changed and encouraged and see students come to Christ. That’s what it’s all about. The studying of God’s Word. The reading of God’s Word. The prayer time. Letting God talk to you and you talk to Him. It changes your life and I am truly blessed by this ministry.”
She says her outreach is not just to student-athletes but also to coaches and her duties include being an encourager and prayer partner.
As we talked at Journey Church, the Versailles congregation she now calls home, Brown brought along Dustin Webb, a recent graduate of Anderson County High School to share his life-changing experiences with FCA.
Webb, who was a member of the Anderson marching band for six years, recalls that a friend invited him to join a prayer circle before school one day. “He just invited me. I had no idea this was even a thing,” says Webb, who will enroll at Campbellsville University this fall to study for a career in ministry.
He began attending FCA meetings, which were held in the morning before school, then eventually spoke at one. “FCA has really been good for me,” Webb says. “It’s one thing to go to church and have people that are like 30 years older than you but it’s a really different thing to be able to walk side-by-side with people that are your age, especially for teenagers. We are surrounded by people who don’t care what they say. It’s really good to know to have people that believe just like I do and I can talk with them about stuff.”
And Webb says that FCA reminded him that the Christian walk doesn’t take off days. “I feel like today it’s easy for us to go to church on Sunday, maybe even Sunday night, even Wednesday night and that is all Jesus would get during the week,” Webb says. “FCA is a reminder that following God is not just a Sunday morning thing. Following God is an everyday thing throughout the entire week.”
As he talked, Brown could only smile at the testimony. It fits the mission of FCA perfectly. It’s about building relationships that enable stronger walks with Christ. And the ministry is not just for people who can run fast, jump high or throw a ball. Anyone can be a part of FCA, even those not involved in organized sports.
“That’s a misconception,” Brown says. “You don’t have to be an athlete. The first word is ‘fellowship.’”
Brown recounts the story of a young man who plays football and is part of the Woodford County FCA. His mother, a single parent, recently died, so the chapter reached out. “They took up money for him and they were able to give him a gift card from Dick’s so he could buy cleates for the upcoming season,” she says. “We always try to be there for the student athletes.”
Brown adds that Christians need support in a world that she says has become “so numb to God” and even the mention of God’s name can incite the opposition.
“We are the underdogs,” she says. “What happened to freedom of speech? What happened to freedom of religion? Other people want to force their rights (to not follow God) on you. What about my rights? That is where you have to step in and prayerfully ask God to lead. There are certain things that get me riled up and I have to bridle my tongue and body language. I want to be sure that I speak for Him. It is not of God if there is anger and I hurt them.”
Brown knows about being an underdog as her mother enrolled her in youth soccer to help deal with her parents’ divorce at age 6. “Little did we know it would be a God-given gift. It was a natural gift. I was the only African-American on my team. I was the only female on my team. It was a natural God-given gift.”
Brown says she still sees God working in the number of coaches who wish to be Christian role models for their teams even though they are limited in what they can say. “It’s really awesome to see when the coaches are in the trenches with you,” she says.
At the same time, Webb says the restrictions on public school teachers and coaches puts more young people in leadership roles. He says Brown and Anderson County FCA sponsor Brittany Baxter are doing just that. “They are the leaders, but they are teaching us we are to be the leaders as much as they are,” he says. “They can’t kick me out of school for talking about (my faith). It is our job to make sure the gospel is spread.”
Webb says he has been considering going into the ministry for several years but adds that FCA allowed him to explore his calling. “I never really had a chance to see what my gifts were but in FCA, I was able to see what some of my gifts are. I really think teaching is one of them,” he says. “I love it.”
Just as Andrea “Bug” Brown does. Her life has certainly changed since leaving the soccer sidelines nearly five years ago. Her smile is the only punctuation needed as she says, “Everything He does is for a reason.”
FCA Leadership Conference at Western Kentucky University
The Kentucky FCA will hold its annual Leadership Conference at Western Kentucky University from June 30-July 3.
“Right now we have 28 kids from Anderson and Woodford counties going,” Brown says. “The worship is amazing. The Word of God (in lives) is amazing. The fellowship is amazing.
“Our goal in central Kentucky — Frankfort, Lexington, Richmond, Nicholasville and those areas — is 100 kids. We are pretty excited about it.”
Partnering with “Bug” Brown
If you are interested in partnering with “Bug” Brown and the work of the FCA, see https://myfca.org/andreabugbrown.