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NFL Legend Randall Cunningham Coaches Football and Lives

Tom Buehring - 700 Club Producer

The NFL’s distinct and legendary Randall Cunningham still leaves lasting impressions!

As one of the most dynamic quarterbacks to impact how his position is played, Randall now coaches high school football in Las Vegas. And the once dual, passing-rushing playmaker also makes impact on Sundays as a senior pastor. Randall says, “Deny yourself, pick up your cross and follow Him. When we decide to take that leap of faith and that step, you’re going into the unknown to serve the known God.”   

Randall was known for his unique, elusive skills that earned him two league MVP’s during his 16-year career. He recalls, “through the NFL, I learned so many things about patience, about morals, integrity, about denying myself and really go to the deeper things of the spirit, rather than just looking at everything as a surface element of life. Being the first quarterback drafted in the ‘85 draft the NFL said ‘you’re the best quarterback’. And I remember walking down the street one day and said, ‘God I owe you something’. And He said ‘yeah, you owe me your life’.  So that experience was a road through Las Vegas.”

A road where two years into his NFL career while visiting with a friend, Randall made a life-altering decision. What did his once-new found Savior Jesus Christ rescue him from?  Randall says, “He’s rescued me from myself and He’s rescued me from destruction. I couldn’t do it myself.  He said, ‘freely you have received; freely you give, And I think OK, I’ve receive salvation and I’m going to freely give you my life.”  

It was a collegiate life that first brought him to Las Vegas where Randall drove UNLV to new heights, while both quarterbacking and punting the Rebels to their first and only 11-win season and conference championship. It was there he caught the eye of scouts when the city and young player developed a lasting bond. Randall explains, “I’ve always been taught, remember where you came from. And I didn't understand that comment until I really became successful. When I came back to Vegas, it was an open door.”

How does Randall view Las Vegas? He responds, “I think of Vegas as a melting pot, a valley of great opportunity. You see these lights and all the other stuff that goes on, and then you find the people and you find out there’s great churches here. This is a family-oriented place. So “Sin City” is just the will to sin. They look at getting here and hiding and doing things. And we’re the people who pick up the pieces, pieces of broken lives. That’s important to us - that we are here for other people.”

Here - is where Randall pastors – Remnant Ministries - a growing, thriving congregation that initiates support within the community. Randall says, “He came to redeem us. And that’s the heart that we have. We want to see people redeemed, restored, reconciled to their families, reconciled to God. It’s the great commission. I’m leaving you with a responsibility to imitate me. You are my disciples, Christ would say, and now go and do what I’ve done. We have to be the vessels that look like Christ.”                             

So Randall went! Silverado High School is just three miles down the road. They needed a head coach. So Coach Cunningham answered, bringing a football mind and pastoral heart to a captive audience. Randall says, “I know that there are kids who don’t have fathers. Christ was a father to the fatherless. There are orphans, people in society who are left out, kids who don’t have anybody to study with them. Kids who people have given up on, kids who are searching for answers. Just a little love, that’s all it takes sometimes.”

And mostly all they can give because of public school laws as their administrators clarify the boundaries of prayer with students – many of them from single-parent families. Youth pastor and assistant coach Stacy Julian explains, “If the kids ask to pray or if they engage you, you can do it. And so often they’ll ask for that. Or we’re walking off a practice and they’ll say ‘my mom lost her job, can you pray for her?’”
Stacy sees how unconditional love satisfies a deeper hunger, saying, “Randall will often take as many kids that’ll fit into our cars and take them over to have lunch after practice and that’s the relationship we try to establish – that we’re here for you.”

Randall recalls, “There was a kid and he didn’t play a lot. As he was leaving he was like, ‘all right, Coach, I’ll see you later’. And I said ‘come here, man.’ I said, ‘I’m sorry I didn’t play you very much.’ He said ‘that’s all right, Coach, can I have some of that food back there (laughing) in the room?’ And I said ‘get whatever you want.’ And as I’m leaving, he says ‘Coach, I love you’. And I’m thinking, wow!”        

The playmaking great Randall Cunningham takes his turn to be wowed, while calling the greatest plays of his life! Randall says, “You know, being a coach and being a pastor are two different things - we have to become all things to all men that we might save some These kids will mature and understand that it’s not about shallow living; it’s about the deeper things of life. It changes a person’s heart.”

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