The FCA has worked for more than 60 years to unite faith with sports in the lives of its members. Don McClanen, a young basketball coach in the 1940s and 1950s, wondered why high-profile athletes were lending their names to advertising for consumer products, but not for the strengthening of spiritual life. In 1954, he wrote a letter to more than a dozen sports figures, asking for their support for his new organization. With the help of influential figures from the worlds of sports and the ministry, he cofounded the FCA later that year. It hosted its first-ever national conference in Estes, Park, Colorado, in 1956.
Sports Illustrated magazine was a logical early partner for the FCA. In April 1956, it ran a piece on some of the dedicated Christian athletes who had volunteered their time to discuss their own personal relationships with God in Sunday schools and other venues.
Now among the foremost faith-based groups in the nation, the FCA today continues its tradition of providing fellowship and witnessing opportunities for athletes and coaches at all levels of competition.