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.



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).

University Of Mobile Defeats Dalton State Soccer

The (RV) University of Mobile Rams came to Dalton and knocked off the young (19) Dalton State Roadrunners, 1-0.  The fans were still filing into Lakeshore Park Thursday night when the University of Mobile’s Pierre Mangold kicked the only goal of the game with only 48 seconds played. “We were not ready to play the match,” said Dalton State Coach Kerem Daser. "It’s ... (click for more)

PHOTOS: Silverdale Defeats Grace For District 5-1A Crown

Chattanooga Putting World Class Guitar Collection On Display At The Choo Choo

A world class guitar collection is set to go on display permanently at the Chattanooga Choo Choo. "Songbirds," which is built around the collection of Lookout Mountain businessman Thorpe McKenzie, was introduced to the public on Thursday night. Invited guests at the Choo Choo heard Nashville guitar star Doyle Dykes perform in the Choo Choo's new Revelry Room. He played some ... (click for more)

Father Killed By Train Just After Pushing Daughter To Safety In East Brainerd

A 31-year-old man was killed just after he pushed his 10-year-old daughter to safety in an encounter with a train on a trestle in East Brainerd on Thursday afternoon. Police said two pedestrians were walking on the train tracks on a trestle at Audubon Acres when a train came around a bend and struck one of them. Justin McCary was struck by the train as he pushed ... (click for more)

Regulations As A Whole On Signal Mountain

A few years ago I was flying over Chattanooga on my way to Atlanta.  The sun had just come up and I enjoyed picking out Signal Mountain’s location, on Walden’s Ridge, in the morning light.  What was amazing was that I could not tell that a town existed under the tree canopy.  I hope that the same can be said 10, 20, or even 50 years from now.  During last ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We Must Learn To Tell

On July 4th of this year, FBI agents – acting on a tip -- arrested Alexander Ciccolo, a 23-year-old with known mental problems, as he carried a duffel bag full of automatic-attack weapons. Moments before, he had bought the illegal firearms from an undercover informant outside of Boston. As agents later scoured his apartment, they found bomb-making equipment including a pressure ... (click for more)