Within the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Wichita State, basketball player Garrett Stutz stands out because he is willing to be just like everybody else.
He grills hot dogs for chapter get-togethers, often held at his house. He acts as a straight man in ice-breaker skits at meetings. He gives his testimony and speaks about what faith means to him.
"There's no stroke of ego," said Joe Woodward, a former WSU track athlete who serves with Stutz on the FCA leadership council. "He uses the gifts the Lord has given him to help people. The cool thing is it's Garrett filling his role on the team. He's always there to do his job."
Stutz will give a short talk during the FCA's Champions of Change rally at 7:30 tonight at Koch Arena. Former University of Kansas basketball star Wayne Simien is the featured speaker. Trinity Academy football player Morgan Burns will also speak.
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"It's a good organization that helps bring Christian athletes, and Christians in general, together," Stutz said. "It's the people — to see other Christians your age struggle with the same things you struggle with, and finding joy in the same things you're finding joy with, and going through life together with them."
FCA is a way of life for Stutz, a junior center for the Shockers. His father, Bill, is a former area director for FCA in Kansas City. Garrett got involved in middle school. He serves on WSU's leadership council as a 7-foot ambassador with a sly sense of humor. One of his standard routines is to introduce himself as "Garrett Stutz — I'm on the golf team."
"People mostly recognize him because he's the 7-footer on the court," said Cooper Hanning, a junior hurdler at WSU. "But he's not an intimidating figure. He's the nicest one there."
Stutz views basketball as an asset to be used to help tell his story. He traveled to Poland last summer with an Athletes In Action team. He spoke at the Kansas FCA camp in Rock Springs last spring.
"God's given me the opportunity, through basketball, to be one of the people that can be out there in the community and people can know and put a face with a name," he said.
WSU athletics ministry director Keith Townsend wants Stutz to represent his organization as much as possible. He is growing more comfortable as a speaker and his message is comforting to Townsend.
"He likes challenging kids and sharing his story," Townsend said. "His faith is really important and he wants to make a difference."