By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - RaShan Frost was in his final season as an Auburn football player when Rev. Chette Williams became Auburn's team chaplain in 1999.
"I remember the first time he spoke to the team," Frost says. "It was after a spring practice. This dude comes up, and he shares this story about an elephant who did not recognize his power because he was conditioned to be chained. For some reason, that just sunk in with me. And I thought, `I want to know who this dude is.'"
Nearly two decades later, Frost refers to himself as "the Chette Williams at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina."
Mike Blanc, an Auburn defensive lineman from 2006-10, says he is "pretty much the Chette of the University of Miami."
"It's very humbling," says Williams. "It takes my breath away, because those are two incredible guys, and just seeing them mature and progress over the years. They were kids when they were here. Now, they're changing lives at major institutions. It is quite humbling. I give all glory and all honor to God for allowing me and others to pour into their lives."
Wayne Dickens, who played defensive line at Auburn from 2001-05, is the new "Chette Williams at Western Kentucky," relocating to Bowling Green, Ky., this summer after working the past 10 years with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, serving schools in east Alabama.
"I'm like a proud father," Williams says. "Not just me, but Auburn University, the Auburn Family should be proud because they allowed me to come here. They gave me the opportunity to do what God has equipped me to do. These are the results."
As a high school senior in south Florida, Blanc says he loved football and loved God, and wanted to choose a college where he could continue his faith journey. During his visit to Auburn, he met "Brother Chette."
"I ultimately knew that's where I wanted to go because I could continue my walk with God there and have someone who could lead and disciple me," Blanc says.
'One day at a time'
Williams' transparency about his struggles as an Auburn football player in the 1980s makes him relatable to student-athletes, Blanc says.
"Chette understood the ups and downs," Blanc says. "I think that helped his ministry, so that guys who had a rough time, or maybe didn't go to church, they felt that they could openly talk with Chette and say, `Hey, I know you kind of struggled through some stuff, how do I get through it?'"
Williams attends every practice, something he's done since 1999.
"Being out there with them every day, going through the tough times and the good times, you have earned the right to be heard, and not demand the right," he says.
"When I started working at FCA, the Lord really worked on my life. I carried the quote that Coach Dye gave me when I played here and he kicked me off the team. Then he let me come back. His words that morning when I went into his office were, `Let's just take it one day at a time.' I never thought I would be here this long. I've just been taking it one day at a time."
After Frost ended his playing career in 1999, Williams' first season as Auburn's chaplain, RaShan spent two years as a graduate assistant coach at Auburn.
"It was during those three years with Chette that he really poured into me and became a big brother. Just a dear brother. He helped me grow in the Lord," says Frost, who says he gave his life to Christ as a freshman at Auburn under the FCA leadership of John Gibbons.
After coaching for more than a decade, Frost answered a call to full-time ministry.
"We've had a chance to experience some of the same successes, because of what God is doing in the lives of our players," Frost says. "It's really fruit that Chette invested. What he did here in Auburn is impacting Charleston, South Carolina, and another team and another program and other programs like that, so it's pretty cool."
Williams' impact, says Frost, can be seen beyond the former Auburn players who are now serving as college football chaplains.
"You see that legacy," Frost says. "Guys who spent time under Brother Chette are coaches, they're husbands, they're fathers. They're leaders in their churches and they're leaders in their communities. So it's not just those of us who are on staff at FCA. His legacy is into homes, into jobs and beyond sports. That's the impact of what Brother Chette is doing."
"You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others." II Timothy 2:2 (NLT)
-- Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) April 7, 2017
-- Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) April 7, 2017
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer