Cardinals coordinator Haley has ‘God to lean on’
Miami-born Courtright says sports can be ‘for God or for good’
By ART STRICKLIN
Published January 30, 2009
TAMPA (BP)–In Arizona’s red-hot run to their most
unlikely of Super Bowl berths, nobody has been hotter than
Cardinals offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
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Through each improbable round of the playoffs, Haley has
received more attention and praise for his work with Cardinals
quarterback Kurt Warner and the team’s innovative offense –-
becoming one of the top prospects as an NFL head coach.
As the pressure has heightened, Haley said his faith has
"To me, my faith in Christ is so important to get through
every day," Haley told a group of reporters in response to a
Baptist Press question at a Super Bowl media session.
"It keeps me from getting too high or too low. And as the
[playoff] rounds go on, the highs and the lows are much more
pronounced. Without God to lean on, I would be lost."
Christ is "my rock in these times of stress and commotion,"
Haley was a Dallas Cowboys coach before receiving the offer to
join Arizona two years ago. While pleased with the promotion, he
was even more thrilled in a spiritual sense when he met up with
Warner, who’s always ready to witness for Christ.
"I’ll just say I’m glad my paths crossed with Kurt. It’s
been very good for my life to be with Kurt the past two years. He
has helped me a lot of and I think we’ve helped each other.
"I’m just very fortunate to be with Kurt."
Photo by Joni B. Hannigan
“Sport is a great platform,” Arizona Cardinals assistant defensive backs coach Rick Courtright tells the media in the run-up to Sunday’s Super Bowl. “You can use it for God or for good, and I think God expects us to use our platform.”
Rick Courtright said he is amazed to be coaching with Arizona
in its first Super Bowl. The assistant defensive backs coach has
been with the Cardinals for five years, longer than anybody on
the coaching staff. When former head coach Dennis Green was
replaced by Ken Whisenhunt two years ago, most of Green’s staff
was released, but Courtright was retained.
"I was raised in a Christian home and a Baptist church
and I was taught our role is to stay true to God’s Word in
difficult times," said Courtright, who grew up at Wayside
Baptist Church in Miami and now attends an evangelical
church in Phoenix. "That was a very difficult time, but God
had a plan for me here."
Part of the plan was to join in welcoming fellow believer
Warner to the team and to use the opportunities he is given for
sharing his faith with others.
"Sport is a great platform. You can use it for God or for
good, and I think God expects us to use our platform,"
Regarding Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup with the Pittsburgh
Steelers, Courtright noted, "My faith is not going to change
if we win or lose on Sunday. My life might, but my priorities
never will." Before the game, he said he will repeat the
same verses he reviews before every Cardinals game, Psalms 1 and
Defensive line coach Ron Aikin said the Super Bowl has altered
the team’s routine because the team is spending an entire week in
a city before a game instead of just one night. But it also has
given him more time to think and pray.
"I wake up every morning with more time to pray and more
time to listen. I want to be a better listener for what God says,"
Aiken said. "He helps me keep my perspective this week and
A former college coach who was hired by Whisenhunt, Aikin said
his main priority is impacting the young men he coaches for the
"This is my ministry here. I want to encourage people and
try to help them with their faith. One thing Kurt Warner and [former
Indianapolis Colts coach] Tony Dungy have shown, it’s OK to tell
people you love Christ."
Art Stricklin, a Baptist Press sports correspondent based
in Dallas, is in Tampa covering activities leading up to Sunday’s