Staff

John White

JOHN WHITE

Director

Contact: John_B_White@baylor.edu

John is a native of the Midwest, and in particular, he is a Hoosier. One of his sports highlights came when he raced in the legendary cycling race "The Little 500" at Indiana University on Team Cutters (dramatized by the film Breaking Away). Along with his involvement with Team Cutters, John managed to make time for school, receiving a B.S. in Business with his favorite subject being Economics.

After college John sensed God's call to sports chaplaincy and ministry. His work included serving and ministering on various college campuses, at the Olympic Training Center, and in Europe. While serving in ministry, he also completed an M.Div. and an M.A. at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He graduated summa cum laude for both of his graduate degrees.

John eventually moved with his wife Cindy and three children to Scotland to study moral theology and to earn a Ph.D. from The University of Edinburgh. After graduating, he came to Baylor University to assume the position of Harold and Dottie Riley Associate Professor of Practical Theology and Director of the Sports Chaplaincy Program. John’s publications have appeared in Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, Implicit Religion, Studies in Christian Ethics, Practical Theology, The Oxford Encyclopedia of Bible and Ethics, and he recently co-edited books with Routledge Press (2016, 2018), Cambridge Scholars, and Mercer Press (2017).

He is grateful to serve at a research university like Baylor University where his scholarship and leadership can integrate faith and sports in order to contribute to the transformation of the people and culture of sports.



Cindy White

CINDY WHITE

Co-Founder

Contact: Cynthia_A_White@baylor.edu

Cindy grew up in a family of nine in Akron, Ohio, where she played volleyball, basketball, and softball competitively. She went on to earn All-American honors in volleyball and graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Health and Human Performance with graduate studies in Exercise Physiology. Following a year of coaching at The University of Texas, Cindy received an M.A. from Moody Bible Institute in Biblical Studies and Ministry which prompted her to pioneer the women’s campus ministry with Athletes in Action, where she has served for 35 years.

Cindy develops curriculum for global leaders in sports and has traveled the world speaking at retreats and conferences, particularly in the areas of identity formation and mentoring in elite sports. She has co-authored or contributed to three books related to sports and faith and is committed to helping young people aspire to true greatness. She also is Adjunct Professor at Truett Seminary and facilitates ministry in Baylor Athletics. She is married to John and has three wonderful adult children.



Brian Gamel

BRIAN GAMEL

Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact: Brian_Gamel@baylor.edu

Brian grew up in the Show-Me State (Missouri) where he attended the University of Missouri and received a B.A. in Microbiology and ran far too many 5k, 10k, and half marathon races. Although he was planning for medical school, upon graduation he chose instead to work on staff with a local college church in Columbia, MO, ministering to college students for six years.

He went on to pursue an M.Div. at Duke University before heading to Baylor to complete his Ph.D. in New Testament. He has taught classes on Scripture, Theology, Interpretation, and History at Houston Baptist University, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Baylor University’s Department of Religion, and Truett Seminary. In 2017, he published his first book, Mark 15:39 as a Markan Theology of Revelation: The Centurion's Confession as Apocalyptic Unveiling, with T&T Clark's "Library of New Testament Studies" series. He has also authored several articles for the Lexham Bible Dictionary and the Journal of Theological Interpretation.

Brian joined the Faith & Sports Institute as its first Postdoctoral Fellow in 2020, with the goal of writing a new book on the athletic imagery in the New Testament. He has three amazing children. In his free time, he runs, reads, and pretends to be learning how to play the guitar.



Paul Putz

PAUL PUTZ

Assistant Director

Contact: Paul_Putz@baylor.edu

Paul was born and raised in McCook, a small town in the southwest corner of Nebraska. Although he grew up in football country, basketball was his sport of choice. He played in high school and in college at Grace University, where he graduated with a degree in secondary education. Later, he earned an M.A. in history from the University of Nebraska-Omaha and a Ph.D. in history from Baylor University. He has spent most of his professional life in education, serving as a high school social studies teacher and a college history professor before accepting his current position with the Faith & Sports Institute at Baylor.

Paul’s research focuses on the intersection of sports and Christianity. His first book, The Spirit of the Game: American Protestants, Big-Time Sports, and the Contest for National Identity, is under contract with Oxford University Press. His research and writing has appeared in a variety of media outlets, including Christianity Today, Religion & Politics, Religion News Service, Slate, Sports Illustrated, and NPR’s “Only A Game” radio program.

When he’s not working, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife, Bethany, and his three children.



Abby Lee

ABBY LEE

Graduate Assistant

Abby was born in Alabama, but has grown up all over the Unites States, including in Maine, Oregon, Louisiana, and New York. Throughout each of her many moves, only three components were constant: her family, her faith, and her sport. She has been playing basketball her entire life, and the sport is quite literally a family affair—she and her two sisters have all played collegiate basketball.

In 2019, Abby graduated from Columbia University in the City of New York with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Psychology. During her undergraduate years, she started an online bookstore named Little Fox Books, which continues to grow and develop. She has coached and volunteered at several high school and collegiate camps and clinics in both Louisiana and New York.

Abby is currently a graduate student at Baylor’s Truett Seminary pursuing an M.Div. with a Certificate in Sports Ministry. Abby came to Baylor to receive the best possible theological education and also learn from the sports ministry pioneers John and Cindy White. She is excited to be a part of the Faith & Sports Institute team because she enjoys showing young people the joy that sports can manifest when approached in a faithful way.

George W. Truett Theological Seminary