BY MARYANGELA BENTHAL
Students and faculty all gathered with excitement to hear Chicago Bears owner Pat McCaskey speak at Franciscan University of Steubenville on March 3.
McCaskey was introduced by Director of Athletics Chris Ledyard. Ledyard explained McCaskey’s involvement with numerous sports organizations.
“He is the chairman of Sports Faith International, an initiative that recognizes people who are successful in sports while leading exemplary lives,” Ledyard said.
Growing up, McCaskey attended Bears games regularly and grew a strong love and skill for football. Unfortunately, medical issues discovered in his late teenage years prevented him from continuing to play football. But no medical difficulty could stop the young McCaskey from finding a way to excel in sports. McCaskey began running cross country for Cheshire Academy, where he proved to be an exceptional runner.
“I had thirteen races, and I won nine—while setting seven records. My nickname was ‘road-runner,'” said McCaskey.
McCaskey’s dedication to living a full life continued on through college, and he began working full-time for the Chicago Bears in 1974. In addition to his career with the Bears, McCaskey coached his son’s junior high football team, where he taught the boys not only to play well—but to play with the heart of a humble servant, following the example of Christ.
“I think the worst thing I ever said to an official was ‘Jesus died for your sins!'” said McCaskey with a smile.
Through determination, a thirst for knowledge and success, and steadfast faith, McCaskey succeeded in his endeavors. He attributed his success to God.
“George Halas was my grandfather, and that’s a great legacy,” said McCaskey. “I work for the Bears, and that’s a great opportunity. I have it made because Christ died for my sins. I believe that God has a plan for everyone and for every family. We have the freedom to be obedient. I think that God’s plan for me is to work for the Bears, and choose to be obedient.”
McCaskey explained that before the Bears play a game, Mass and chapel service are available in the team hotel.
McCaskey concluded his talk in applauding Franciscan for serving as a strong example of faith, by performing his original rendition of Chicago Bears’ fight song, ‘Bear Down, Chicago Bears’. He sang, “Thank you Franciscan U, for being so passionately Catholic. Thank you Franciscan U, for your academic excellence. We’ll never forget Fr. Terrence Henry, he is the school president. Thank you Franciscan U, your life serves as a witness to the world. You spur your minds to enlighten men. Franciscan U, thank you!”