Timothy Maddix has traded in his title of “coach” for “pastor.”
Maddix, 45, of Gilbert, has already been recognized Valley wide for eight years as a man of sterling character, but his ordination adds distinction to his legacy of ministering to young athletes.
He is scheduled to give his first sermon today, Sept. 4, at Bethel Chandler, 1325 S. Arizona Ave. Information about the church is at bethelchandler.com.
Maddix, a former BASIS-Mesa athletic director and current chaplain at Basha High School, has served local high school and colleges as a “sports minister” with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes since 2019.
In that role, the former collegiate basketball player says he strives to provide a clear vision and practical pathways for them to pursue college, meaningful careers, and healthy families.
At the college level, his goal has been to guide teams and individual players through their wrestle with the “bigger questions” they ask at this stage.
“Coaches are inherently working in a pastoral capacity,” Maddix said, noting they must constantly consider the health of the whole student in mind, body, and soul. By this, he means helping them process emotional challenges, discussing matters of mental health and supporting their personal development.
As an FCA sports minister, Maddix has provided sound advice to both coaches and students for situations both on and off the field.
The impact has had a ripple effect, said Chris McDonald, the head varsity football coach at Basha High School.
From what he’s seen among his players who participate in the encouraging weekly huddles with “Coach Maddix,” McDonald reported, “They’re being educated on all fronts: in the classroom, on the field, and now, in character and in spirit.”
For some students, McDonald continued, the life lessons that Maddix shares aren’t something they typically hear at home. And, he said, when school athletes are walking uprightly, engaged in their families and invested in their futures, the entire study body takes notice.
Some of the universal concepts Maddix discusses with students as a chaplain include: personal integrity, love for family, leadership standards, and the value of sacrifice, teamwork and selflessness.
McDonald called Maddix “a Godsend” and said, “I hope more athletic programs reach out to him.”
Often, when students feel threatened by performance pressures and life’s unforeseen challenges, a coach is one go-to trusted individual that they can vent to and gain perspective from.
Maddix said he wouldn’t be where he is today if it weren’t for the coaches who saw him as more than just another player when he was young.
He played after-school sports in Illinois before going into a “children’s home” (similar to a group foster home). He lived there from age 11 to 18, when he “aged out” with no adoption.
“It greatly affected me,” he said, adding that the effects of his parent’s choices took an emotional toll that could have devastated him or set him on a path of anger or depression.
Fortunately, he said, “I had some impactful coaches who were mentors to me – father figures –who helped get me on track.”
Steadied beyond the field and court, Maddix found that his high GPA and record of sporting achievements opened up “a world of academic opportunities.” He went on to play basketball at Manchester University in Indiana, competing against Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics.
Off the court, Maddix began volunteering at his local church in a prison outreach ministry.
During his first visit to the detention center, he saw childhood friends behind bars.
Coming face-to-face with his past gave him perspective and a sense of compassion for those who didn’t have or use the positive resources that were available to him, such as school sports.
It was also around this time, Maddix realized that the emotional peace and wellness he had found could be re-invested in others, “to prevent the outcome of his former friends.”
Maddix earned a bachelor’s degree, then received his physical therapy license from a reputable school in Chandler. The move to Gilbert that resulted brought him closer to what he believes he had felt “called to” for several years: full-time ministry.
Now, beyond his coaching and sports medicine work, Maddix will be doing what he does best from a pulpit: sharing wisdom and life-enriching principles that have the potential to change the culture of every gym, court, classroom, office, and home.