THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL
Sunday, July 17, 2011 | Memphis, TN | Sports
University of Memphis Tigers football players split into groups and spent Saturday at three community outreach projects. One group helped in the Street Ministries reconstruction of a church on North Graham used for youth ministries; another aided Memphis Athletic Ministries by cleaning the grounds of the athletic facilities on Mill Avenue in Downtown Memphis near the Pyramid; and a third did similar volunteer work on Overton Cross for Youth Visions.
”These are things we need to be doing to get the program out in the community in a strong way,” Larry Porter, University of Memphis head football coach, said.
Sunday, July 17, 2011 |Cookeville, TN | Sports
TTU MAN OF THE YEAR: Ordu leads by example
COOKEVILLE – If you listen to several people around the Tennessee Tech football program, they will all tell you that senior linebacker Kelechi Ordu is a quiet person.
That doesn’t make him any less of a leader. In fact, it’s quite the opposite, using a take-charge mentality and just getting work done, leaving him as an inspiration to his Tech football teammates.
His leadership skills are one of the biggest reasons Ordu has been selected at Tech Athletics’ 2011 Man of the Year.
“I’m honored,” Ordu said. “I thank God because he gave me the skill to play football. Just to be able to win the award, that’s a huge honor.”
“I’ve talked to you about him before,” said Tech football coach Watson Brown. “He’s just a great kid. You’d love your children to be Kelechi. He just does everything right and in a classy way. He’s overcome a lot here and I think the world of him. There’s no doubt about that. Everywhere you turn, you just see one class young man.”
It wasn’t a surprise as Ordu was one of the first people on the field and the last one to come off, and he spent countless hours in the weight room trying to get better, stronger and faster. His diligence there earned him a spot as a Strength and Conditioning All-American. His weight room efforts even earned him the nickname, “The Freak,” because of his amazing feats, which landed him on top of the Iron Eagle leaderboard. He was also a student of the game, spending just as much time in the film room, studying formations and coming up with ways to solve them.
But the side of Ordu that was most impressive was his willingness to help out and give back. In his hometown of Atlanta, Ordu worked with a youth group who passed out food and water to the homeless of the city.
“Doing the outreach program with the homeless was something that my sister and I started back in Atlanta as a way to show God’s grace,” Ordu said. “It was a way to be able to reach out to them and it was really cool. Doing that and being able to be a light to people and to my teammates, it’s something that I always wanted to be big on. To take part in what God showed me to do is important and I’ve been doing that since my freshman year through football bible studies and
help them grow as young men. That’s just something I’ve always strived to do.”
Brown said, “He’s a people person. He wants to help people. I really believe that he’s one of those guys who’d rather help someone else than help himself. He’s a very quiet young man. Yeah, his off-the-field ways may be even stronger than his on-the-field ways, yet he’s as good of a worker as anyone we have.”
Not only did he lead by example, he also led through the teachings of the Bible. Ordu was the co-leader of the team’s Bible studies. One story told during the selection committee’s meeting was that Ordu would leave inspiring passages in his teammates’ lockers, pumping them up for the game.
“God has really changed my life since I’ve been in college,” Ordu said. “I wanted those guys not only to know that, but to also have the same opportunity that I had, to be able to change their life. As a young man, you go through so much and see so much as a football player, to have a relationship with Christ is something I’ve been proud of and I just wanted to do what I could and what God told me in my heart to do. I just wanted to reach out to them and build relationships with the guys that were really open, just to receive everything God had laid on my heart and passing out verses during the week was only just one way of trying to encourage the guys. I wasn’t the only guy that did that — there were a couple other guys on the team that helped me do that. Doing that was a way we could tell the team that there are guys on the team that do genuinely care about you and we want the best for them.”
At the end of his football career, Ordu was selected as the winner of the Tech Pride Award and shared the team’s Defensive MVP award with Dillehay. He was also recognized by the Nashville chapter of the National Football Coaches Association, named as one of their scholar-athletes.
Ordu graduated with his degree from the EXPW program and is already hard at work, continuing his mission to make things better for others.
“I’ve got my physical therapy degree, but I’m not working in physical therapy yet,” Ordu said. “I got married in May and I’m down in Memphis right now working with inner city youth in a summer program with Memphis Athletic Ministries. I’m interviewing with another ministry, Streets Ministries, where they reach out to youth down here and trying to build relationships with them. I’m also looking at a middle school position as a coordinator to help out down here over at Kingsbury Middle School. I’m just working and trying to do ministry down here and may try to enter seminary school later on, but my goal right now is to work to the youth and reach out to them.”