Randy Smith: SCORE International: Almost 30 Years Of God’s Work

Wednesday, April 3, 2013 - by Randy Smith
Randy Smith
Randy Smith

Back in 1985, my good friend Ron Bishop resigned from his position as Head Basketball Coach at Tennessee Temple. He was getting out of the coaching business at the right time; his Crusaders had just won the National Christian College Athletic Association Championship and the timing seemed right. The timing was right, but not just for retiring from coaching. It was right because of what Ron Bishop planned to do next.

Coach Bishop wanted to start a sports missions’  ministry. His dream was to take young American athletes overseas, allow them to play against other young athletes, as well as witness the Gospel of Jesus Christ to them. Twenty-eight years later, SCORE International has grown into a very successful organization, with more than three million dollars of assets, and no debt. In all, SCORE has taken thousands of athletes on thousands of mission trips, and SCORE has also established major bases of operations in the Dominican Republic as well as Costa Rica. Their facility in the Dominican Republic has a world class baseball complex; one that several Major League Baseball teams have expressed an interest in using as a team training complex.

Almost two years ago, Ron Bishop retired once again. He stepped down as executive director of SCORE, and became the organization’s Chairman of the Board as well as founder. His long-time friend, John Zeller, a former baseball coach at Tennessee Temple, took over as the executive director.  Just like the last time Coach Bishop retired, he has refused to stop or even slow down. He is now in great demand as a speaker for churches and revivals, as well as sports camps. He is also an NBA Chaplin for several teams.

Now that SCORE International is approaching its thirtieth birthday, it is very easy to see how successful it has become. Ron Bishop never lost faith in the vision that God gave him, even in the lean years when he and his wife Pat ran the business by themselves from their home in north Georgia. When things started rolling in the late 1980s, it soon became apparent more people with a similar vision from God, would be needed. A good example is SCORE’s National Basketball Director, Dave Conrady. Conrady went to Argentina with Coach Bishop in 1987 as a player, after graduating from Furman University. Conrady came to Chattanooga as an assistant coach at UTC for former Mocs’ Head Coach John Shulman, but left three years ago to join SCORE full time.

I have had the pleasure of going on two separate mission trips with SCORE International. The first was the same trip that Dave Conrady went on in 1987 to Argentina. I produced a recruiting video for SCORE on that trip, and I went again as Head Softball Coach for SCORE in the summer of 1994. We toured the Dominican Republic that year with the first outside softball team to ever play there.  We took a girl’s sixteen and under team and played the Dominican National Softball team in a series of games in five different areas. We went five and five against them, and the great memories of that trip are too many to mention here.

I was reminded of that trip by one of my players on that team at church on Easter Sunday morning. Julie Coffman Griffith, one of our pitchers on the trip, laughed as we talked about the pigs and chickens we had to chase off the field before we could actually play one of our games. It’s hard to believe it has been nineteen years since we were there. Coach Bishop has invited me back several times, but I never seem to be able to fit it into my schedule. Maybe a twentieth anniversary trip would be appropriate in 2014.

rsmithsports@comcast.net

---

Randy Smith has been covering sports in Tennessee for the last 43 years. After leaving WRCB-TV in 2009, he has continued his broadcasting career as a free-lance play-by-play announcer. He is also an author and is a media concepts teacher at Brainerd High School in Chattanooga. He is also the Head Softball Coach at Brainerd. Randy Smith's career has included a 17-year stint as scoreboard host and pre-game talk show host on the widely regarded "Vol Network". He has also done play by play of more than 500 college football, basketball, baseball and softball games on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports, CSS and Tennessee Pay Per View telecasts. He was selected as "Tennessee's Best Sports Talk Show Host" in 1998 by the Associated Press. He has won other major awards including, "Best Sports Story" in Tennessee and his "Friday Night Football" shows on WRCB-TV twice won "Best Sports Talk Show In Tennessee" awards. He has also been the host of "Inside Lee University Basketball" on CSS for the past 11 years. He was the first television broadcaster to ever be elected to the "Greater Chattanooga Area Sports Hall of Fame", in 2003. Randy and his wife, Shelia, reside in Hixson. They have two married children (Christi and Chris Perry; Davey and Alison Smith). They also have three grandchildren (Coleman, Boone, and DellaMae).



PHOTOS: Lady Rams Edge Lady Panthers, 49-48

Four In Double Figures, Heights Hawks Romp 72-41

Hamilton Heights’ Lady Hawks, ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN, got a combined 37 points from Elizabeth Balogun and Treasure Hunt on Friday and routed Wesleyan Christian, 72-41, in the Best of Carolina Showcase at Legacy Charter School in Greenville, South Carolina. Hamilton Heights’ Hawks were scheduled to play a late game in Memphis on Friday and a report on that game ... (click for more)

Home In Alton Park Damaged By Fire Friday Morning

No injuries were reported in connection with a house fire in Alton Park Friday morning. The Chattanooga Fire Department received the alarm around  8:30 a.m.  and responded to 4020 Highland Ave. with five fire companies. When the first firefighters arrived on the scene, one of the residents of the house was concerned this his wife might still be inside. The firefighters ... (click for more)

Pedestrian Struck And Severely Injured In East Ridge Thursday Night

The East Ridge Police Department is investigating a motor vehicle collision involving a pedestrian being struck  at 5300 Ringgold Road on Thursday around  10 p.m. Officers arrived and found that East Ridge resident Dale Henderson had been struck by a vehicle and was suffering from severe injuries. It appears he attempted to cross Ringgold Road in front ... (click for more)

The Growing Monopoly

Over the last decade, five tech giants have risen to the top, and created, discovered and invented services and products that have made these companies worth billions today. Those five, of course, are Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. Each of these companies are responsible for several products and services that we use in our everyday lives. They have devoured the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Saturday Funnies

This week, as two men greeted one another at the steps leading to a holiday party, one said, “My wife is angel,” this in keeping with the season. The other replied, “You’re lucky … mine is still alive.” Once inside, the two walked into this conversation – “We had a power outage at our house this morning. So, my PC, laptop, TV, DVD, iPad and new surround sound music system were ... (click for more)