The University of the Cumberlands (UC) football team has had a tremendous impact on the football field in recent years. The awards and success have been historic including a recent undefeated regular season, the program's first ever NAIA #1 ranking, and an NAIA national championship game appearance. The Patriots have also been well known to make a huge impact on the community. Three Patriot football players have continued this trend in the summer working for the University of the Cumberlands' Mountain Outreach (MO) summer team.
Iquan Deed (Montezuma, GA), Chad Bond (Tullahoma, TN), and Randy Maynard (Pikeville, KY) are working with Mountain Outreach this summer, giving back to the tri-county area in Southeastern Kentucky. Those three Patriots as well as others have helped build two homes for families in need over the summer break. One of the houses is located in Whitley County while the other is located in London, Kentucky. The football players have not been the only ones helping in building the homes this summer. Patriot football Head Coach Matt Rhymer and UC baseball Head Coach Brad Shelton also donated their time and services to help build the home in Williamsburg.
Coach Rhymer is happy about the impact his team has had on the community commenting, "Mountain Outreach is a picture of what our University stands for in regards to serving others. We are blessed as a University with people who care about other people. Some people are less fortunate, and as Christians, it is our responsibility to look after those people. Mountain Outreach exemplifies teamwork, sacrifice, humility, service, and commitment to see a vision completed. We have three young men working this summer with them and I'm excited to see how much they have matured as young men after serving all summer."
Rhymer continued saying, "Our theme for the season will be 'Serve' coming from Matthew 23:11 which says, 'The greatest among you will be your servant.'" As a staff and team, we will focus on being servant leaders. We will take on community service projects as a staff and team. In addition, we will study scripture each week that focuses on serving others. There will be several guest speakers that will expand on the subject as well. I'm looking forward to seeing these three young men take on leadership roles and be examples of servant leadership on campus, on the field, and in the community."
Marc Hensley, Director of Mountain Outreach, is pleased with the work he has been getting from the football players, as well as the rest of his summer team saying, "They have definitely been contributors. One, two, or three people don't make a team, but they are a part of a much bigger team. What I have been pleased with is that all college athletes have a big demand on them and it always impresses me when an athlete gives up a summer vacation to help and to give back. All three of these young men have good character and live their lives for others."
Mountain Outreach has been nationally recognized for its work several times: the Action Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty selected it as one of ten charities to receive the Samaritan Award; USA Today noted the program in its 1996 "Make a Difference Day" competition; and President George H. Bush honored Mountain Outreach as his 220th Daily Point of Light.
The University of the Cumberlands football team is preparing for their upcoming 2014 season, where they hope to continue their success of last season. The Patriots will host their 2014 Media Day on August 29th at 5:00 PM at James H. Taylor, II Stadium. Parents, students, and fans are encouraged to come out for the event where everyone will have the opportunity to meet the 2014 Patriot football team.
For more information on the University of the Cumberlands football team as well as other Patriots athletics, visit the website at www.cumberlandspatriots.com