Bill Thierfelder

Episode 56

24 FEB 2020

Currently in his 16th year as president of Belmont Abbey College, which is a Catholic, Benedictine liberal arts college, he has been involved in sports in a variety of roles. He was the president of the York Barbell Company, was principal and co-founder of the Joyner Sports Medicine Institute, has served as Executive Director of the Player Management Group – which was a sports representation company providing services to professional athletes – plus he is a former member of the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Sport Psychology Registry.  He was an Olympian himself and a national champion and two-time All-American in high jump. He also authored the book, Less Than a Minute to Go: The Secret to World-Class Performance in Sport, Business and Everyday Life.  He is a member of the Sport Faith International Hall of Fame.

Guest quotes:

“I had no intention of ever going into higher education.  This was an absolute call to come (to Belmont Abbey College)… I have ten children, so it was no small decision to come here.  But this was a real call to come here, and I only came here because this was a Benedictine monastery that actually had a college.  This was their apostolate.”

“It’s about prayer and work.”

“This is a story of divine providence.  We are located just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, and for those that maybe know North Carolina you’d know that the whole state of North Carolina today is only about four-and-a-half percent Catholic.”

“Jesus Christ put this place here 144 years ago for a reason.  And the reason we are here is to bring that to full flowering and fruition.”

“Too often people think the problem is sport; and it’s not sport, it’s how we approach sport.”

“There’s a quote from St. Augustine that begins, ‘As a boy I played ball games’.”

“Too often there’s this sense of either we’re going to be a world class athlete or we’re going to be a good person, as if somehow the two are mutually exclusive.”

“I’ve worked with hundreds of athletes.  I’ve worked with Olympic athletes.  I’ve worked with professional athletes.  I’ve worked with winners of Super Bowls, Olympic gold medalists, world record holders.”

“What doesn’t end is, in a sense, your journey to heaven, your journey to eternal life.”

“We should be approaching sport the way we coach it, the way we train it, the way we perform, literally as a whole person because it’s how we’re going to perform best and it’s also how we’re going to glorify God.”

“We’ve got to cooperate.  God’s not going to force us into anything.  But His grace is raining down like Niagara Falls, and I think often we stand under it with umbrellas up wondering why we’re not getting wet and we complain about it.”

Related link:

Bill’s book

[This episode contains a prayer from the Play Like A Champion Today Coaches Manual (University of Notre Dame), as seen in Play Like A Champion Today’s prayerbook for sports, God, Be In My Sport]