AU College of Education names team chaplain, author as 2008 Keystone leader

AUBURN – The Rev. Chette LaRue Williams Sr., a 1986 adult education graduate, has been named the Auburn University College of Education’s sixth Keystone Leader-in-Residence.

The highlight of his Keystone Leader visit will be a campus-wide lecture on Wednesday, March 12, at 11 a.m., in Ballroom B of The Hotel at Auburn University and Dixon Conference Center. Williams will share how his academic foundations in education prepared him for his career in ministering, guiding and counseling others’ personal and spiritual needs. After the lecture, Williams will sign copies of his book, “Hard Fighting Soldier.”

In 2007, Williams completed his eighth season as the AU  football team’s chaplain and the campus director for the university’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Throughout the day Wednesday, Williams will visit with education students, faculty, staff and administrators.

The College of Education’s Keystone Leader-in-Residence program, established in 2003, introduces students to proven leaders in education, human services, health services, community services and the public sector. The program emphasizes that education, like the keystone of an arch, serves a central, supporting role in society. The college strives to develop competent, committed and reflective professionals who utilize education in building better futures for all.

A noted speaker and vital member of the Auburn football program, Williams ministers on a daily basis not only to coaches and players, but to numerous staff throughout Auburn University’s Athletic Department. Through his Bible studies and counseling, the football team has come to depend on “Brother Chette” for guidance, encouragement and spiritual direction.

“The blessing that we have as chaplains so often is to be used by God in a way that is unique and different from many other ministries,” Williams said. “To be a chaplain, you don’t demand respect from players and coaches. You earn that respect. And then you earn the right to be heard. And because of that, players and coaches trust you. They come in and share things with you that they won’t share with others. The crises are different each day, but the blessing is that there’s somebody there for them.”

Williams chronicles his time at Auburn, his family and how God called him to his current vocation in his book, “Hard Fighting Soldier,” published in 2007. The book recounts milestones that include his three letterman years playing Auburn football, his studies at New Orleans Theological Seminary and his service as pastor of New Covenant Baptist Church in New Orleans, associate pastor of New Song Baptist Church in Mobile, and president of IMPACT Ministries in Spartanburg, S.C.

Recruited by Coach Tommy Tuberville in 1999 to be the team’s “spiritual coordinator,” Williams is doing more than working with players. Through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chaplaincy training program, Williams, alongside program director Wes Yeary, are training and developing FCA college team chaplains across the country through the Auburn-based program.

Williams is married to the former Lakeba Hibbler, who completed a master’s degree in the College of Education’s community agency counseling program in 2004. The couple has three children: Lauren Denise, Caitlyn Mae and Chette LaRue Jr.

Past College of Education Keystone Leaders-in-Residence include Susan Dryden Whitson ’91, former press secretary to First Lady Laura Bush; Alabama State Treasurer Kay Ivey ’67; and Wayne T. Smith ’67, chairman, president and CEO of Community Health Systems.

Contact: Michael Tullier, (334) 844-1324 (mtullier@auburn.edu)