Women’s volleyball coach Shane Pinder recalls a memorable interaction with Jerry Falwell Sr.
“I could talk about Dr. Falwell for hours if we had time. He loved kids, and he loved reaching people with the gospel. I was never in a moment with him where I saw him interacting with people that within a few moments he didn’t make them feel like they knew him forever. He had that quality to draw you in, and it was like you knew him for years.”
“He had the ability to remember people’s names and make you feel like a part of the vision and mission, and I think that’s why people were so drawn to him.”
“One day I was coming out of the (old Hancock Training Center), which at the time the athletic offices were at the top and the basement was our weight room for all our sports. I came out of the weight room, and he tried to run me over in the truck — but he did that all the time. He was a big kid. I kinda jumped, and he laughed and I walked over to his truck and he asked, ‘Son, how’s that volleyball program?’ and I said, ‘We’re gonna be good. We need a couple recruiting classes, but we’ll be good.’ And (Falwell) said, ‘I know son. We’re praying for you. Look across that highway’ (at what is now East Campus).”
“At that point there was just a couple dorms over there and a hotel. And (Falwell) said, ‘What do you think about that side of the mountain over there?’ I said, ‘It’s nice Doc. It’s got a couple dorms.’ Falwell said, ‘We’re going to line that whole side of that mountain with dorms, and we’re going to bring kids from all over the world and train Champions for Christ.’”
“For me to have a moment with the visionary like that was so impactful. His ability to see things no one else saw and have the faith and perseverance to make it happen is why we are here today. I think some of the neatest moments I’ve had so far is when I have parents of kids that have played for me or are being recruited at the Division I level. (The parents) actually were athletes here when (Dr. Falwell) was saying, ‘One day we’re going to be Division I.’ And they’ll sit in my office with tears in their eyes. He said this was going to happen, and here we are living it.”