Former Green Bay Packers chaplain packs up, brings his talents to Miami
Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 01:10
While college athletes, coaches, trainers and staff members are often working toward a career with professional teams, chaplain Steve Newman came to Miami University after working in the NFL for over two decades.
After his 23 years in Green Bay, Newman opened up an AIA training center in Xenia, Ohio. AIA, according to their web page, is a campus ministry who aims “to come alongside athletes, teaching them to glorify Jesus Christ through their sport and use it as a platform to spread the love of God.”
Newman has worked at Miami through the Athletes in Action Program since 2002, bringing his NFL experiences to athletes in Oxford.
“’Newms’ time with the Packers was huge in terms of him coming to Miami, because he’s bringing so much wisdom from pro athletics and investing it in athletes here,” former varsity swimmer Ian Joyce said.
Joyce, a current fifth-year, worked with Newman for all four years of his swimming career at Miami, and continues to meet with him weekly.
“I really enjoy working with college athletes because they’re at a critical stage to make major decisions in their life,” Newman said. “My goal is to help individuals find what the true meaning of living a purposeful life is all about.”
On top of running weekly AIA meetings on campus, Newman also spends one-on-one time with many of Miami’s varsity athletes and coaches.
Fifth-year Zac Murphy, the primary punter on Miami’s football team, is a member of AIA, and meets with Newman regularly.
“Besides my parents, [Newman’s] had the greatest impact on my life,” Murphy said. “Miami is so blessed to have him here, and it’s crazy because he has all of that experience, but he’s so humble. It’s awesome for athletes at Miami to have someone like him to go to.”
Senior Stephen Crea began meeting with Newman during his two-year varsity baseball career at Miami. While Crea no longer plays on the varsity team, he continues to meet with Newman on a regular basis as well.
“I think it’s really cool that ‘Newms’ had the desire to change things up, and invest in the younger guys and build them up before they even get to the professional level,” Crea said. “It’s cool that he has the experience, because we younger guys can trust him. He’s been there, and been a part of the lives of pro athletes.”
In addition to working with competing athletes on campus, Newman also invests time working with Miami’s varsity coaches. Mike Bath, recently named Miami’s head football coach, met Newman at Miami in 2004.
“For the last ten years, [Newman] has been a mentor of mine, and someone I really look up to as a great resource and friend,” Bath said.
Since 2004, Bath and Newman have worked together in Bible studies, with the football coaching staff and in monthly meetings.
“It’s great to have Steve lead young men at Miami in their walk with Christ,” Bath said. “He’s seen everything in the NFL and the different issues grown men deal with, and now applies his experiences to our young men and women across campus. The relationships he has built at Miami are going to last for years to come. What a great legacy to have him here.”
Newman said he feels that working with collegiate athletes—and the coaches who interact regularly with these athletes—is crucial, especially as these individuals prepare to be sent out into the world.
“An athlete’s drive is often to find their security and their identity in their sport, when in reality, some day, they will no longer be in their sport,” Newman said. “When you apply Biblical principles to your performance, it really does give you a deeper understanding of why God gave you a love for athletics and how you can use that platform to love other people. It is my prayer that they’ll find their identity in their relationship with Christ.”