For too many elite athletes, there’s no higher calling than winning. Winning the big game. Taking home the award. Getting the glory.
Cam Lamanuzzi is not one of those athletes. Instead, he’s giving the glory where it belongs: to God.
Lamanuzzi decided to leave the Fresno State Bulldogs football team this fall despite the fact he still had a year of eligibility left, according to KFSN-TV.
However, he’s still working with his former teammates. Not as a coach or as a trainer, though. Instead, he’s an assistant chaplain with the team.
Lamanuzzi is a Fresno, California, native who played linebacker at Bullard High School, Fresno City College and then Fresno State.
For those unfamiliar with NCAA football, this is hardly small potatoes. After steamrolling the Washington State Cougars 29-6 in the LA Bowl, the Bulldogs finished the season ranked No. 24 in the nation.
And while Lamanuzzi was with the team, it wasn’t in a role he expected to be in.
According to KFSN, the linebacker left football to follow God.
“I knew it was by no coincidence that I was there for a reason bigger than football,” Lamanuzzi said.
The TV station reported that, this past season, “Lamanuzzi walked into Coach [Jeff] Tedford’s office, telling the head coach he didn’t want to leave football, but knew he had to follow his faith.”
While he had previously hosted Bible studies with his teammates, the young man felt he needed to go deeper into his faith.
“There was a point where I knew it was the direction I was going to but I didn’t want to go in that direction, if that makes sense,” he told the station.
A former Fresno State football player is on a new path, filled with more conviction than ever. https://t.co/fnow2kpJLq
— ABC30 Fresno (@ABC30) January 7, 2023
Tedford had a better idea: While Lamanuzzi might not be taking the field, he didn’t have to leave the team. Instead, the coach hatched a plan for Lamanuzzi to take over as assistant chaplain.
“A blessing to be such a recent part of the team because I have a friendship with a lot of the guys,” Lamanuzzi said.
“I mean, I still go to some of their houses, we still go and grab food, we’re all still in a good relationship,” he said.
“I’m exactly where I want to be at the moment.”
“I’m happy to be a part of Fresno State as a chaplain, I’m loving serving the team and I want to do it as long as I can.”
Having been a former player, he’s also an effective spiritual leader for the Bulldogs.
“I know where they’ve been, I know where they’re at. I know how to speak into their situations. I know what it’s like to be an athlete for that to be the most important thing for you at the moment and how heavy that can be,” the former linebacker said.
When he’s not working with the team, Lamanuzzi stays busy in other ways.
In addition to preaching at Fresno’s Garage Church, he also works with the nonprofit group Youth for Christ.
In short, Cam Lamanuzzi didn’t walk away from football. He left behind the fleeting glory of athletics for God’s eternal glory.
We can only pray more will follow in this young man’s footsteps.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.