In 1954, Don McClanen sent 19 letters to various well-known athletes across America to share an idea of bringing athletes and coaches together in the service of Jesus Christ. The organization would later be known as the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). This organization has grown to over 800 employees nationwide and operates on a multimillion dollar budget and involves more than two million athletes around the globe each year.
When he took this first action towards the creation of FCA, he was employed as the head basketball coach and athletic director at Eastern Oklahoma State College.
Over the years, there were attempts by Eastern to memorialize Mr. McClanen and FCA on the campus with no success. In 2008, Eastern completed a successful fundraising campaign to honor the man that began FCA. A bronze bust was created of Mr. McClanen and is displayed on the first floor of the E.E. Tourtellotte Student Center.
A special tribute was made on Dec. 5, 2008 to Mr. Don McClanen. Former basketball players from the early 1950s, coaches, mayors from McAlester and Wilburton, the Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor and more than 800 others gathered for this special event.
The bronze bust was unveiled and Wilburton Mayor Stephen Brinlee presented McClanen with a proclamation declaring Dec. 5th as Don McClanen day in Wilburton. Gov. Brad Henry sent a proclamation presented by Lt. Gov. Jari Askins declaring Dec. 5th as Don McClanen Day in Oklahoma.
Eastern is very proud to honor Mr. McClanen and hopes it may inspire students who attend our college.
The impact that FCA has had on millions of young people is phenomenal and it all started with the vision of one man.