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Stan Cotton

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson
The Truth Network Radio
January 13, 2023 7:00 pm

Stan Cotton

Truth Talk / Stu Epperson

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January 13, 2023 7:00 pm

Enjoy this best of Stu's interview with the legendary sports announcer Stan Cotton

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This is the Truth Network. So you turn on the ballgame on the radio, and who do you hear? The voice, the guy that's paying the picture, the guy that is portraying the slam dunk.

The alley-oop, the game-winning touchdown. Well, I'm sitting next to one of those guys right now. He's heard all over the country. He is the voice of the Deacons, the Wake Forest Deacons. He is Stan Cotton. I don't think I've ever interviewed you on my national show, Stan.

Have you ever been on Truth Talk before, bud? Is this like a first time? What's going on here? This is like the first deal, and I've known you for 30 years. What's up with that?

Well, the ratings have kind of, you know, dipped a little bit, and so I had to bring a big hitter on, a guy that could bring some numbers back. So here, enter Stan Cotton. Well, it's great to be with you, Stu, and, you know, being in a business relationship with you over all these years, plus a personal relationship with you and your family. Of course, we go to church together and all those types of things. It's great to sit here and talk to you for a few minutes in these crazy times in which we live, but hadn't surprised the Lord, right? So he's in control still.

That's exactly right. So we're going to actually go in the booth with Stan. You're going to hear from him stuff that you may not hear about what really goes on when he calls these big Division 1 college basketball, football games, even some baseball games and other things at Wake Forest University. You have heard his voice many times on a lot of our Truth Network stations because we actually carry the Wake Forest Demon Deacons. We like the Deacons part a lot better than the Demon part, but we carry their sports games, so you'll hear Stan, the voice of the Deacs, but we'll also hear about his faith, and I would love to go there first, Stan. What is it that brought you to the Lord? I mean, I've known you for years, and you've always had a love for Jesus.

Tell us a little bit about that, and even the compatibility that has with being in such an intense industry of sports, right, where there's maybe some not-so-Christian things going on. Well, I think, you know, the first thing with my faith, it's kind of the legacy of our family. You know, I've had the incredible opportunity to grow up in a family where Christ was honored and lifted up and worshiped, and both sets of grandparents, my parents.

So it was, I just feel so blessed to have been raised by the parents that I was raised by, and so I've always looked at that as a gift to me from the Lord, and I, as a young boy, five, six years old, I mean, I knew right away, not just because my parents taught me that, but, you know, just God took my heart, and I knew that alone and left alone to myself, I wasn't going to get it done, that I needed a Savior, and that Savior was Jesus Christ. And so it's just been part of my life for so long, and I'm one of those types of people that, and it takes all kinds, right, in the body of Christ, in the church, it takes all different kinds of people and personalities and all those types of things. I'm just one of those types of people, Stu, that I try to live it as best that I can, and I think, depending on whom your circle is, that that has, can have a massive impact other than just saying it. I think all of us have to live it, we have to live Christ and Christ crucified, and that's where I think the church and a lot of people have gotten in trouble over the years, because they say one thing and they live another, and that's just, that's not the way it's supposed to be done, and so I've tried to do that, just be who I say I am, and I make mistakes every day, but I think people know my heart, I hope they do, and I hope I reflect the love of Christ. That's the voice of Stan Cotton, also the voice of the Deeks, Stan Cotton, longtime friend of mine, great man of God, he's speaking now firsthand, when you hear him say he tries to live out his faith, you're hearing a guy who's been in the middle of the Cameron Crazies, right behind Coach K on the bench, with who knows what's being said, he's in the Dean Dome, where Carolina's playing, he's in the Orange Bowl, you know, calling the Wake Forest the big football game, with a lot on the line, so some folks say that sports doesn't build character, it reflects character.

Of course, we know both are true, but what has that done in your own life, being in that, as a believer in Christ, I mean, you walk into church Sunday morning after something happened crazy, a huge bench clearing brawl on Saturday night, what do you say to people? You know, it's interesting, because I think probably sports, more than anything else, reflects life, and as believers, we are introduced, we're part of a dark world, we're just supposed to be the light in that world, I just think it's, maybe more than anything else, the best reflection of the world that we live in, sometimes, in an odd kind of a way, and it takes all kinds, and so those of us who have the truth and know the truth, we're to live it, regardless of the circumstances that we're in, we have to be in the world, but not a part of it, or maybe I'm saying that the wrong way, but we're called to live in a dark world, we're just supposed to reflect the love of our Savior, and hopefully I do that with my life, but sports is crazy, I mean, it's dark and light, and black and white, and up and down, all over the place, but we just try to be a steady, calm voice in that sometimes raging sea. And you've bumped into some champions of the faith in sports, you've bumped into some godly people who've been an encouragement to you as well, talk about that a little bit, about how that's been a blessing to you and a lot of people.

Unbelievable, I mean the people like the Tony Dungeys of the world, they're everywhere, thankfully. The biggest influence in my life is a man by the name of Ken Sparks, he was my high school football coach, went on to Carson Newman University as a college football coach, and is in the top 10 in the country all-time wins, he died a few years ago. But this is a guy that was unapologetic about his faith and why I'm a football coach, it wasn't to win games, it wasn't to be on the right side of the scoreboard, it was to win souls to the Lord, and my goodness, the people, the thousands of young men and women that he influenced over the course of his life, just amazing, but absolutely.

There are strong believers, men and women, throughout sports who are making that stand every single day, and it's wonderful to see, and because of their platforms, they can have such an influence over young people and old people alike, and it's great to see and love seeing those types of people and just having the opportunity to meet so many of them and be around them over the years has been wonderful. I'm Stan Cottons with me, I'm Stu Epperson, this is Truth Talk,, you can get all the archives, download our podcast, meet Stan there, I want Stan to, I want to put you on the spot here, and I'm going to take you back, we're talking about the crucible of sports and how it really can form your character, also reveal your character, it's just, it's absolutely an exhilarating thing, and people, you know, fan is short for fanatic, and you're around him all the time, but Stan, there was a moment in your life, we were laying there with a busted up knee, as a potential progeny quarterback coming out of Tennessee, and you could have been on the other side, you could have been the guy that was on the field that guys like you talk about, but something happened, take us into that, into that crucible for your faith and the trajectory of your life after that injury and what God was doing there, because a lot of people are facing these kind of things. Yeah, I've been in sports media for 42 years now, and that was not what I wanted to do, I wanted to be a ball player, and early on, I was a pretty good one, and I thought that, you know, without question, this is going to, this is the blueprint of my life, this is where God's going to take me, problem was I was 17 years old, and thought I knew, you know, what my future was going to hold, and I'm not going to sit here and tell you that, that, you know, God struck me down and all those types, I don't believe God works that way. I believe he deals in circumstances, and my circumstances changed.

Now, is there a guiding principle from our Heavenly Father? Absolutely, but I do think that he's a God of circumstances, and so how firmly we are grounded in him helps us move through those circumstances, and so here I am thinking I'm a football player one day, and five minutes later, I'm not a football player anymore. And so it's okay, and I credit my father, and Ken Sparks, whom I mentioned earlier, it's like, okay, what are you going to do now, big boy, that you don't have sports to fall back on, it's okay. And I remember my dad saying, Stan, you're, an athlete's not who you are, you're a child of God, that's who you are, in your core, in your soul.

So your circumstances have changed, you need to square this, this was, I'm in the orthopedic surgeon's office, and I just had fluid drained out of my knee, and he's pretty much told me your career's over. And my dad takes me and looks me square in the face, you need to square this with the Lord right now, not next week. And so here I am, and I was a believer, and I was able to do that, I said, okay, God, if I'm not a football player, what am I? And it was kind of like, we'll figure that out.

And media became an option, which I took and kept running with, and again, that was, that was a long time ago. And so I just, all of that, I fall back on Stu and just said, look, if God's the center of your life, if you really are looking to him, and not yourself and your own strength, he'll take you on the ride of your life. If you just trust and believe and let it happen, he's not going to let you down. And so that's a kind of a short condensed version of, of my life's course, which didn't go as I had planned. But I look back on it now, wow, the things that I've been a part of the things that God has shown me and taught me, even with meeting my current wife, my only wife, but had my circumstances not changed that way, probably would have never met her, would not have the two lovely daughters I have, the granddaughter I have, all those types of things. We can all look back on our life and say, okay, here's, you know, is God a puppeteer up there?

No, but, but, but does he through circumstances help direct your life? Yeah, absolutely. Yes. And so I look back now at how all the dots were connected and see his hand and his fingerprints all over it.

Okay. We promised to go in the booth. That right there is compelling and very fascinating. Some stuff I'm hearing is I hear your story, your testimony. Stan Cotton, the voice of the Deeks, we'll be right back. We'll talk to him real quick about what happens inside that booth and what has been your, the highlight on the sports side. Take us to whether it was one of those bowls on the national platform, March Madness, calling games of the ACC tournament. More with Stan Cotton after this, and be sure you download the podcast to hear the whole conversation. 42 years in the broadcast industry. Unbelievable. Stan Cotton, his name is legendary. If you don't know, if you've never heard him call a game, you've missed out, that's some high cotton right there. Stan, it's good to sit down with you.

And I'm Stu Everson. This is Truth Talk. This guy in the last segment, and please download the whole thing and listen to it. Listen to it with your family. Listen to it with a kid that's struggling with an injury and listen to what, how he dealt with that and how God used that crazy circumstance to even send him in another direction where he's impacted thousands for Christ.

He's also a Sunday school teacher and involved in a whole lot of things with his local church, Stan Cotton, the voice of the Deeks. You got to take us into the booth. What's the craziest stuff that goes on in there? Talk to us, man. We hear the games called. We hear you guys giving us updates.

We hear you guys calling big time games down to the wire. But take us back behind the scenes a little bit, will you? Well, it's kind of crazy.

And we have over the course of the years, sponsors, friends, whatever, sit in the booth with us and kind of watch and experience what we do. And they come out of there with a completely different idea of like, wow, I understand now how the sausage is made a little bit. And it's in your world, you know, it's just different than people think it is.

But, you know, it's funny. I mean, there's so many that's that's why I love what I do, because every game is different, regardless of whether it's for a championship or it's just a regular season game. You never know what's going to happen. And that's why it kind of reached in and grabbed my heart, because in a way, I still feel like I'm playing because, you know, you're part of the game, a small part. You're not a player, you're not a coach, but you are helping paint that picture for those who want to be there, but just couldn't be. And so you're part of it. And, you know, I won't wait for us to win.

And so in these tight games, my stomach gets tight just like I'm playing or whatever. But, you know, over the course of my Wake Forest career, at least, you have to think about things like you mentioned the Orange Bowl, ACC Championship games. I remember my first season and this will date me.

This will help people figure it out. My first season at Wake Forest was the great Tim Duncan's senior year. You can throw out names calling the games of Tim Duncan, Chris Paul, Josh Howard, Jeff T, Ishmael Smith. Some of these guys that are playing in the NBA right now. So you experience all these great moments in not just Wake Forest sports, but ACC and all these types of things.

And as I've gotten older, Stu, it's the people. It's those relationships that mean more to me than, yeah, I've done X amount of ACC tournament games or I've done all these bowl games with Wake Forest right now, six in a row, a school record. You remember the relationships with people like Alfonso Smith, the ACC's all-time interception leader. He got on the headset the other day during the Gator Bowl.

He said, hey, do you recognize my voice? He was on our sideline reporter Dave Gorin's headset and I knew his voice and we had a chance to talk and reminisce the great Riley Skinner, the quarterback from Jacksonville, Florida in football. But just the players and coaches that you meet over the years and you develop relationships with and you're able to share family updates and all these types of things really means more to me than the games.

But just being a part of Wake Forest over the years and we've had some great broadcast teams. I think it's mostly it's all men that I've worked with. Maybe we'll have a young woman work with us soon. I hope that's the case.

That would be great. But just being able to work with these men and see how dedicated they are to their craft and helping us do what we do has been great. It's a lot of fun. It's been a joy of my professional life to be involved in sports for four plus decades now.

Yeah. So Stan Cotton, people turn the radio on to hear the game. They know the game's on at eight o'clock at night. They turn it on or they show up maybe a half hour early, but a lot more goes into this than just prepare. I mean, this is your job, your calling. So one of my mentors always said you're a missionary disguised as a sports broadcaster, but you're not just showing up, throwing on the headsets, calling the game when they're warming up. There's a lot that goes into this thing.

Absolutely. And I work on charts for every game and look at video of games involving teams that I'm going to call. I mean, there's a lot of work.

I mean, it's a full time job. And if you want to make it that if you want to do it the right way, there's a lot of preparation that goes into it. And a lot of moving parts that have to come together on game day, whether it's a football game or a basketball game or a coaches show.

And there are two or three of us that are on the air. But there's so many other people behind the scenes that that work so hard and are so valuable and are such integral parts of our team that, you know, we couldn't do it without them. So, yeah, a lot of moving parts that people may not see or understand, but it's a whole lot of fun.

And again, we've worked with some great people over the years. It's going to practice. It's sitting down and just talking with coaches and players, getting to know our job at the end of the day is to tell the Wake Forest story. We're storytellers on game day. The game is part of it, but the background stories of the players and coaches, that's part of it. All that goes into telling the Wake story. And hopefully we do it well enough to keep people tuning in.

Yeah. So you do sports through broadcasting to those relationships. God's used you to let your light shine, to be a witness for him and in the tough stuff and the challenges. We speak to people that may never pick up a microphone. They may never host a national radio show like this one.

They may never call a big ACC tournament game and mix with the likes of Chris Paul or NBA guys, Tim Duncan. But can you talk about the importance of Christ living through you where anyone is right now? The main thing is that as believers, all of us are put in different circumstances, different vocations.

Again, and I'm a kind of a bottom line guy. Our bottom line is to reflect Christ who lives in us. That's what we're supposed to do. And that's who we're supposed to be. And I learned that as a very young man, I wasn't a ballplayer. I was a child of God, still am.

I'm 61 years old, but I'm still a child of God. And so that's our calling. I think as believers is to live Jesus for people. Let them see him in the way we handle everyday situations, just relationships with people.

How do you treat your server at a restaurant? It may be cliche nowadays to say, what would Jesus do? But you know what? There's great truth in that. We are supposed to be that for people because there's so many people who never pick up the word, who will never darken the door of a church. And so it's so true that for many people, sometimes the only Jesus they will see is you and me and others who are believers to live the way we're supposed to live and to love regardless of the circumstances, love our neighbors as ourselves. That's our calling. And if we do that, then I think we've answered the bell.

I think we've lived as we're supposed to live. In all of the athletic analogies in scripture, Paul says, I press toward Mark. I forget those things are behind. That's a word of exertion of athleticism. He says, Hey, we're all running in a race, but we want to run that race to win. But we're running for a crown that doesn't fade away. That trophy may fade. It may end up in the trophy box. It may end up in the trashcan down the road, but the crown for Christ, it lasts forever.

And that's really the eternity focus, I guess. Right? Absolutely. We are to give it everything we've got run as if to win. You know, I work with these basketball teams and football teams and others. They want to win and they devote.

So now college sports are 12 months out of the year and they're working and doing everything they can to win. That's how we're supposed to live our lives as believers. We're to live life, to win it, to win it.

Right? And so we've got to give it everything we have. That's our calling. Well, no one works harder in this thing than Stan Cotton. And I dare not call him somewhere October, November, when there's like three sports still going on. I try to resist yours.

They call Stan and say, Hey, Stan, let's have coffee. Cause it's crazy. It is. You got me just after football's over in basketball season.

At least there are days here and there, but we can do this. And it's been great. I had to catch him where I could.

We're at a Panera in Clemens, North Carolina. You hear the music and you hear the coffee and the chatter in the background, but such an honor to sit down and talk to my friend. Stan Cotton loves Jesus, loves sports. It's neat to see how God's woven the sports into your life, how you're weaving the gospel and sharing, you know, being a light to folks that need to hear about Jesus in that platform. And you can still hear him, the voice of the Deeks. Tune into the next big game day for Wake Forest or the Coaches Show. He does just a top notch job. Stan Cotton, The Voice of the Deeks.

Download the podcast, get it at or wherever you can hear podcasts. I'm Stu Everson. Be encouraged, be blessed. And wherever you are, remember Hebrews chapter 12. Paul said, we're surrounded by this great crowd of witnesses, like that coach that encouraged you in Christ early, Stan. Let us lay aside the weights, the sin or the weights that encumber us. And let us run with patience the race set before us.

And verse two is the most important part, fixing your eyes on Jesus. We're going to tell you, here's two broadcasters. We got our own problems. We can't fix any of you, but we can point you to Jesus and he can change your life like he's changed my life, like he's changed Stan's life. So Stan, thanks for being on me and God bless you. This is the Truth Network.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-13 20:49:52 / 2023-01-13 20:59:34 / 10

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