Chris Rix is the only player to start four years as quarterback for Florida State University. In his 2001-2004 college career, he played for the well-known coach Bobby Bowden. The team claimed three conference titles and played in four consecutive bowl games with Rix calling the snap. Rix kicked off his professional football career with the San Diego Rams in 2005 and also began working in sports broadcasting. He currently commands the mic as an analyst for Fox Sports Radio, regularly contributing on several shows. Rix also founded Champion Training Academy, which develops and mentors young athletes, and serves as the director of Fellowship of Christian Athlete (FCA) ministries in California.
Chris Rix spent his college career calling the snap for Florida State University, the only player to start at quarterback for four consecutive years. He led the team to claim three conference titles and play in four bowl games.
Q: You are involved in covering high school and college sports for Fox, what about the stretch run for the College Football National Championship?
A: You have Ohio State, Clemson, Washington and Alabama for the championship. Now that you’re in, it becomes about who’s going to finish this thing. Who’s going to stop believing their own press – the hype? But this is why we love college football, right? You get here. This is why they play the games – survival of the fittest. Who’s going to be at the top at the end? Its always fun to watch. These next few weeks are going to be exciting!
Q: Let’s get down to business. There are very few Filipino quarterbacks ever to play in the NFL. My dad was the first one. Are you proud to be one of them?
A: Yes, my mother was Filipino. She passed away from cancer, God rest her soul. I’m very proud of my Filipino heritage and big family. And it was my family that let me know about the great quarterback [your father] Roman Gabriel.
Playing quarterback in the Atlantic Coast Conference for Florida State and against N.C. State, you learn a little bit more about your father. You said there weren’t many Filipino quarterbacks in football history. I have always tried to represent that well.
Q: You had the pleasure of playing for one of the great coaches in all of football, Bobby Bowden. Tell me what that experience was like.
A: He gave me the opportunity through a scholarship offer to go to Florida State. I was a good quarterback, but I know there were a lot more out there more talented than me, so I’m appreciative of the opportunity. For him to say this was the first scholarship offered to a California player, he really did recruit predominately from the South. During that process, Mark Richt, the offensive coordinator at the time, was recruiting me heavily. The combination of those two guys really led me to go there, and they had just won the national championship my senior year.
Q: Did Coach Bowden really take a holistic approach to student athletes on and off the field?
A: Hearing him start every meeting with a message of faith, salvation and then telling us about the FCA – it was just a totally different environment than I grew up in. Hearing from other Florida State great alumni like Deion Sanders, Charlie Ward, Corey Simon and Peter Boulware coming back and talking about their faith to me. That really started the faith process for me. Coach Bowden as you know has made such a huge impact on former players. He is one of my heroes. I named my second son after him, Bobby.
Q: You and I have a couple of things in common. One of those is serving with FCA, which I did for almost four years. Aren’t you are doing the same now in Southern California?
A: My wife, Anita, and I have been with FCA going on seven years. FCA made an impact on me in college at Florida State. It started that faith journey for me and got me plugged into a church, then coming back here years later to speak at some schools in Southern California, which led to the opportunity to become a FCA director here in Los Angeles.
Combining two of my largest passions, ministry and sports, this calling from God has been a privilege. Right now we run about 95 campuses. It’s a privilege to share the gospel here in Southern California.
Q: It has become so much tougher to share the gospel on college campuses. Is it so important to reach youngsters in middle and high school?
A: Absolutely. I wish that I had some foundation in junior high or high school; I wasn’t introduced to a fun youth and sports ministry until college. I grew up going to church some, but I would call myself a “CEO” Christian: Christmas and Easter only. Maybe Mother’s Day to honor my mom, but I really didn’t grow up in the church. To have that kind of atmosphere in college was great, but if I had that earlier in my life I definitely would have made some different decisions. To be able to now connect with middle school and high school students has been invaluable. Because once you get to college, you start to get set in your ways. It’s awesome to have the opportunity to plant seeds and encourage students.
Follow Chris Rix at aimforgreatness.com and on Twitter @coachrix.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Roman Gabriel III is an evangelist and motivational speaker. Hear his Sold Out Sports Talk Radio program on American Family Radio in 200 cities nationally or streaming live at afr.net. Visit his website: soldouttv.com; Facebook: Roman Gabriel III; connect on Twitter: @romangabriel3rd. Contact at (910) 431-6483 or email: [email protected].)