Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
10:01 pm EDT
Monday, May 23, 2022

Person of Interest: Tony McCoy

Whether playing football, pastoring, or simply doing life, one of Pastor Tony’s mantras is ‘We’re all on the same team.’

Photo: Douglas Tyler

Vital Stats

  • Family includes wife Jodie McCoy, one daughter, two sons and one grandson.
  • Attended the University of Florida from 1987-1991.
  • NFL defensive tackle with the Indianapolis Colts (1992-1999) and Arizona Cardinals (2000).
  • Pastor of Hope International Church, Founder/Head of School of Hope Preparatory Christian Academy.
  • Two-time cancer survivor.

Most memorable NFL moments: As a Gator, it was winning the first SEC championship, and with the Colts, it was playing the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football and AFC championship.

While in the NFL, did you feel God calling you into a life of ministry? Yes, my football career was sort of like the bedrock of my ministry training. While I was with the Colts, my wife and I started the “We as One Ministry,” and would do bible studies in our home. I also did pre-game night bible studies with anybody on the team who wanted to come, and if our chaplain was unable to travel with us somewhere, it became my honor and duty to lead the team in chapel. 

Was going from NFL defensive tackle to church pastor a hard transition? Change is always a challenge, and in some cases, difficult. There’s a huge difference between doing life with people versus entertaining people, and not being able to hit people in the mouth when you disagree with them took some getting used to! In all seriousness, football has taught me a lot about life, and that football mentality is something I really strive to implement at Hope International—that we’re all on the same team, that no matter where we are from, we all have the same banner, and that’s Jesus. 

What most helped you beat cancer?  Prayer, my family, and what I call the four quarters to success: staying in the Word, eating, even when I didn’t feel like it going through Chemo, drinking a gallon of water each day, and exercising.

What do you like most about pastoring? When somebody comes to know Jesus, or when you see an individual that was depressed or on drugs, change their life, and to know that you were a tool used to facilitate either of those transformations, is better than any sack or touchdown. I just really believe that God’s word is the light that dances in our minds, and that allows our environment to be illuminated in a positive way.

Hobbies: Spending time at the gym, riding motorcycles, and fishing.

Bucket list item: To travel to Israel and going on an African safari.

Favorite type of food: Soul food, Mexican, any type of fish, and lately, anything plant based.

Three words that best describe you? Encourager/Builder. Servant. Fighter.  

About the Author

Originally from Nogales, Arizona, Roxanne worked in the customer service industry while writing independently for years. After moving to Florida in 1999, Roxanne eventually switched her career path to focus more on writing and went on to become an award-winning reporter for The Daily Commercial/South Lake Press newspapers for 16 years prior to coming on board with Akers Media as a staff writer in July 2020 – her dream job come true. Today, Roxanne and her husband Keith of more than 20 years, live in Clermont. They have three grown children: Megan, Darius and Julissa and two dogs, Cinnamon and Remi Lulu. Roxanne says her favorite things about writing articles is talking with the people she'll be featuring, listening to their stories and learning about their passions, goals and heart. Overall, Roxanne is grateful for all the opportunities she's been given to personally witness and realize how much of a difference people can make and how every voice, big and small, really matters. In her spare time and besides writing, Roxanne enjoys spending time with her family, listening to music (especially on vinyl), Zumba, taking pictures, reading, watching movies, cooking with Julissa, and reality TV competition shows. As for her bucket list, Roxanne hopes to one day be a published author of children’s books and travel the world chasing sunsets.

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