By WVUA 23 Student Reporter Keith Huffman

GORDO – Sports and religion have everlasting appeal in Alabama, and 52-year-old Gordo resident Wayne Davis has tackled both.

Achieving – and still holding – the career record for most tackles (327) at the University of Alabama from when he played as a linebacker for the Crimson Tide (1983-1986), Davis afterward played for the Arizona Cardinals in the National Football League (1987-1988) and the Orlando Thunder in the World Football League (1989).

Following his departure from professional football, Davis began pursuing his calling into the Christian ministry and became an ordained minister in 1991 while living in Arizona.

In reflecting on what it was like to transition from football player to minister, Davis said doing so was challenging.

“You know, put me on the football field, I’m fine,” he said. “But to have to stand and deliver –  speak in front of audiences – that was something that I felt was not for me. But then again, the Lord has something else in store.”

Returning to his hometown of Gordo in 2007, Davis has since served as the pastor for New Home Missionary Baptist Church, the same church he and his family attended during his upbringing. Also during that same year, Davis began working at Zion Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Cuba.

Having earned a master’s degree in Bible and Pastoral Ministry from Selma University in 2013, Davis said there are three vital elements essential in being an effective football player and minister: preparation, discipline and particularly perseverance.

“The ability to persevere through adversity, work your way through the hard times, and give all that you can give, even when things may not be going your way,” Davis said. “So perseverance is vitally important. In fact, Christ encourages us to persevere, to endure hardships. Not as the world, but as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

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