- The Washington Times - Friday, July 31, 2009

Gibbs’ ‘game plan’ on a life of faith, Michael Vick

Joe Gibbs, the only coach to win top honors in the NFL and NASCAR, was a two-time head coach for the Washington Redskins. But for him the true head coach does far more than win Super Bowls and car races.

Mr. Gibbs and several others combine theology and sports in the new book “Game Plan for Life.”

God is the head coach, says Mr. Gibbs, whose book advises boys and men to have a God-centered life with a purpose. Various authors, including Chuck Colson, Tony Evans and Don Meredith discuss “game plans” for such subjects as finances, spiritual health, and sin and addiction.

The foreward was written by another Super Bowl winner, former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy. Mr. Dungy made headlines earlier this year when President Obama asked him to join the White House faith-based team. Mr. Dungy declined. However, Mr. Dungy’s name made the news rounds again this week when he said Michael Vick should be reinstated in he NFL. Commissioner Roger S. Goodell announced just that and Mr. Dungy said he would be Vick’s mentor. Vick was released from prison in the spring after serving time for his felony convictions for running a dog-fighting ring.

Mr. Gibbs coached several troubled players during his 16 years with the Redskins including Dexter Manley, a drug abuser who, like Vick, was suspended by the NFL.

“In between those tenures, Gibbs was a consultant to Atlanta owner Arthur Blank when Michael Vick quarterbacked the Falcons,” as blogger David Elfin pointed out Tuesday on The Washington Times’ Redskins 360.

Mr. Elfin caught up with Mr. Gibbs at a book signing in Dupont Circle.

Mr. Gibbs is “a firm believer in redemption,” he wrote, and Mr. Gibbs “is glad Vick is getting a second chance in the NFL.”

But Mr. Elvin said the coach predicted that Vick “will have to be a starter to succeed” this time around.

” ‘The only way you take a chance on Michael is if he solves your quarterback situation,’ ” Mr. Elvin quoted the coach as saying.

Mr. Dungy, like Mr. Gibbs, speaks freely about his God-centered life, and he did visit Vick while the former Virginia Tech star was in the federal penitentiary.

Vick could help himself if he doesn’t raise the specter about who is head coach.

D.C.’s own Dave Bing calls on faith community to aid the motor city

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing, a standout shooting guard from the District who spent most of his career with the Pistons, has initiated a faith-based task force to aid in developing education, employment and public safety policies and programs.

Mr. Bing, a Baptist, hosted a private breakfast forum on Thursday with nearly 100 clergy at Fellowship Chapel. “There’s not been good coordination between the Mayor’s Office and the leadership in our faith-based organizations. And I want to make sure that they are included because they are some of the most prominent leaders that we have here in our community, and they can play a significant role in helping us bring the city back.”

One of the first things religious leaders will do is identify abandoned homes and recreation centers that have become trouble spots.

The Rev. Wendell Anthony called Mr. Bing’s plan a “bold, refreshing and necessary move.”

Detroit is between a rock and a hard place with the struggling auto industry and the economic recession. And it is being hit hard with violence, particularly killings.

The homicide rate is on pace to hit 450 this year.

The city’s new police chief, Warren C. Evans, said, “It’s like the Wild West out there.”

New faith-based film studio looks to niche market

Unless you read the credits of TV reruns, you’re probably unfamiliar with the name Jacque Edmonds Cofer. She has worked on such hit TV comedies as “Martin,” which starred Martin Lawrence, who attended high school in Prince George’s County, and the girlfriends’ sitcom “Living Single.” Now she is onto another project.

Mrs. Cofer and her husband, University of Maryland graduate James Cofer Jr., have started a faith-based film studio that she said “challenges the status quo.” It’s called ChristianCinemaOnline.

“If ever there was a case of a market in search of a product,” Mrs. Cofer said, “this is it: A group whose viewership of movies and television is twice that of the general population. Whose spending power, nearly $1 trillion annually by 2010, is extremely attractive to advertisers yet only five cable and network television shows feature them as leads. This group, over 90 percent of whom identify themselves as Christians, is largely upset with the images of themselves they see in mainstream media. This market is African-Americans and they have painfully few entertainment options that reflect their lives, their humor, their intellect, their humanity or their faith.”

The Cofers, who are Harvard Business School alumni, “created ChristianCinemaOnline after realizing the dearth of employment for African American creative talent and production crews in Hollywood, while at the same time looking at the high level of demand for and financial success of entertainment aimed at the black audience.” Mrs. Cofer said.

“It’s a perfect match,” said Mr. Cofer, a successful wealth manager and tax strategist.

ChristianCinemaOnline’s will create made-like-TV movies, featuring well-known lead actors and Christian music performers. The movies also will be G-rated, so the whole family can view them.

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