Baptists of Arkansas: Todd Knight

Todd Knight is the head football coach for the Ouachita Baptist University Tigers. Coach Knight has been a head coach for 27 years with  21 of those at OBU.  Coach Knight is the longest standing college head football coach in Arkansas. Under Coach Knight’s leadership, the OBU Tigers have won five Great American Conference (GAC) titles and continued a streak of twelve consecutive winning seasons. Coach Knight and his family are active in the Arkadelphia community and are members of First Baptist Church.

“I was raised in Star City, Arkansas in a Christian home. My parents are strong believers and were influential in me becoming a Christian. First Baptist Star City is where I gave my life to Christ and started on a strong foundation in my faith. My love for football and my love for sports comes from my dad. Growing up in Star City and playing high school football and baseball started my love for team sports. My passion for the game of football started with my family, coaches, and teammates. I knew at an early age I wanted to coach.

I attended Ouachita and had a great experience playing football under Legendary Coach Buddy Benson and his staff. It’s during that time that I decided coaching football was what I was called to do. I really do feel like coaching is a calling because of the influence you have with so many young men. 

When my wife, Julie and I were trying to make a decision about returning to [Ouachita Baptist University] it was a tough process.  Delta State Football was on track, we had a great church and many great friends so we initially turned the Ouachita job down. Over a period of time, and several conversations with President Andrew Westmoreland, and much prayer, we started to feel the calling. Some of the resistance was knowing how much work it would take to turn the program around. We finally realized that if Ouachita was where we were called to be the uphill climb would work out.  The early years were hard but we have been truly blessed by the players and coaches who have worked so hard to rebuild the program. 

It’s a lot like raising kids, you develop a relationship with your children while instilling discipline and work ethic.  Doing that while providing a faith based education is a great way for a young man to grow. Over time your kids become your best friends and really that’s what coaching is all about. You bring in the young guys and over time you develop a relationship that lasts a lifetime. One of the greatest joys is watching these guys mature in all aspects of life.  

Many of us in the coaching profession feel football is a ministry.  It’s been a real honor to be a part of one of the greatest professions on earth. My pastor, Jimmy Darby, talks about taking the church into our community every day and I think that’s what we’re called to do. You have to do it in a way where you live your life as an example and look for opportunities to share your faith. Throughout my career I’ve learned from coaches and players that have made me a better coach and man. I’m thankful for the many that I’ve served side by side with and feel blessed to have a job called coaching.”

Todd Knight, #BaptistsOfArkansas

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