When J.C. Watts first attended an FCA Huddle during his sophomore year in high school, the experience encouraged the prep football star to embrace the concept of lifestyle evangelism. From there, he became an active participant and student leader with the FCA Huddle at the University of Oklahoma, and continued to support the ministry as a Huddle coach, camp speaker, banquet speaker, adult Huddle member, and board member for Oklahoma FCA.
After an All-State football career at Eufaula (OK) High School, Watts became the starting quarterback at Oklahoma and led the team to Orange Bowl victories in 1980 and 1981. He then spent six years in the Canadian Football League (CFL) including the 1981 season in which he was named Grey Cup MVP at the conclusion of Ottawa’s championship run.
Watts served as youth pastor and associate pastor at Sunnylane Baptist Church in Del City, Okla., and was ordained in 1993. When he was elected to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission in 1990, Watts became the first African-American to win statewide office. In 1995, he won Oklahoma’s 4th Congressional District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives making him the first African-American Republican from south of the Mason-Dixon line since Reconstruction. During his time in Washington, D.C., he regularly hosted Bible studies with fellow Oklahoma representative and former NFL player Steve Largent.
After five terms in Congress, Watts returned to the private sector as a lobbyist, consultant, and occasional political commentator. He founded J.C. Watts Companies and joined the boards of several companies including Dillard’s, Terex, and CSX Transportation.