From the time he accepted Christ as a college freshman, Don Shinnick sought out ways to use his platform to share the Gospel with others. At UCLA, he led team Bible studies and continued that tradition during his NFL career in Baltimore. Shinnick was a popular FCA speaker at camps, conferences, huddle groups, and prison ministry outreaches.
After a three-sport career at San Pedro (CA) High School, Shinnick earned three letters at UCLA from 1954 to 1956 and was part of an outspoken group of Christian athletes known as the “Eleven From Heaven.” As a linebacker, he led a Bruins defense that served as the foundation for an overall 25-5 record including the 1954 season in which UCLA went 9-0 and was named the UPI and FWAA national champions
Shinnick was named Outstanding Lineman at the 1956 East-West Shrine Game and then taken as the Colts’ second draft pick in the 1957 NFL Draft. He became an instant star in Baltimore and played on the team’s 1958 and 1959 championship teams, and on the 1968 Super Bowl III championship team. In 1959, Shinnick led the NFL with seven interceptions and was named UPI All-Pro.
Upon retirement, Shinnick turned to the coaching ranks where he worked for Chicago, Oakland, St. Louis, and New England. He won another championship ring while coaching the Raiders in Super Bowl XI. In addition to his many player awards, FCA named Shinnick the top professional Christian athlete at its first annual recognition banquet in 1970.