David H. Vawter

First and foremost, I am a follower of Christ. His teachings form the foundation of my life. My life’s work is working with young people. My students call me “Coach” and it’s a title I love. I have been a head coach for over 40 seasons at all levels, including 19 seasons as both the high school men’s and women’s coach. As a teacher educator, I consider my classroom a practice field and my job, as a coach, is helping students get ready for their classrooms. At the high school, I started the Fellowship of Christian Athletes as soon as the US Supreme Court ruled that faith based organizations could exist in schools.

When I graduated from UVA I prayed that whatever college hired me that there would be a Fellowship of Christian Athletes. At Winthrop, my prayers were not answered as I wished. However, I asked my students if they knew anyone who was interested. With three students we started an FCA open to anyone. We had our own praise band and over 100 students coming to meetings. Overtime the national FCA wanted to focus on athletes so I looked for another way to serve God. That is how I became associated with CRU.

Serving God has been important to me since I was young. I became a Christian when I was 17, but at a church I was visiting, and my own church did not discuss having a personal relationship with Christ. So, I faded. While in college I started to question my own faith, and wonder if it was true and began to question why others were Christians.

Moving from Oregon to Charlotte and working in the business world, waiting for the teaching market to open up, I began to meet very successful and strong men who were Christian. These men had everything in their professional and personal life but chose to follow Christ. At the same time, I also met a young woman who was a strong Christian (now my wife) and these two influences renewed a desire to find faith. One of my biggest challenges were the questions I had about God, Christ, and the Bible.

However, when I decided to follow Christ I began to study and research and found that it was true. I consider myself an “intellectual” Christian and continue to study and do research. I started teaching Bible classes in my twenties and continue now. At one point, I prayed to go to seminary so that I could become a minister. That prayer was not answered then.

However, in 2016 my church honored me by ordaining me as a full minister. One of the best parts of this honor, is that I have been able to officiate marriages for a number of Winthrop students. I also am the Chaplain at Camp Thunderbird a residential summer camp I am more than happy to discuss my faith or answer any questions anyone may have.

My Life

  • Friends describe me
    as enthusiastic, caring, and a good listener.
  • Hobbies
    I love sports, play or watch. I really like to travel. I’m a nerd when it comes to reading. If I had a choice I would be playing tennis, taking my wife dancing, or finding a quiet place by a babbling brook in the mountains.
  • Fantasy dinner guests
    I would like to have Jefferson, Washington, Adams, and Franklin. Or JRR Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.
  • In college I drove
    a Chevy Chevette (a cheap, plastic, four cylinders can that shook if I tried to drive above 60 mph).
  • Worst school subject
    Math is a beautiful mystery to me. Also, electronics- I shorted out the building…
  • College for undergrad degree
    Oregon State University BS in Education
  • Best advice I ever got
    “There is always someone better than you and always someone lesser than you. Do not be vain or mean. Do not compare yourself to others.” “Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes” “I used to complain about having no shoes until I met someone with no feet”
  • Favorite books
    Hobbit and the Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien) Outland series (Gabaldon) Biographies
  • Favorite movies
    Star Trek, Star Wars, Harry Potter
  • Favorite city
    My home city is Ashland Oregon, a beautiful little village, in the mountains of the Rouge Valley. A wonderful small city with the most amazing park and the Southern Oregon Shakespearian Festival.
  • Favorite coffee
    A Starbucks tall sugar free vanilla breve latte.
  • Nobody knows I
    I was the school mascot for Oregon State- Benny Beaver.
  • If I were not a professor, I would
    I would still be teaching at high school. But if I could not teach I would love to either be a pastor or a chaplain for a sport team like the Eagles.
  • Latest accomplishment
    Became ordained in April 2016, receiving a lifetime award for working with middle level education in the state of South Carolina, and in May of 2018 I am going to become a grandfather- I cannot wait..
  • Current research
    The adolescent brain. Middle Level Sports.
  • Quote

    “If you give a man a fish, he eats for a day if you teach him to fish, he eats for a lifetime.”
    “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It is my personal approach that creates the climate…” Ginott
    “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart” Psalm 37:4
    “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Department
Education
University
Winthrop University
State
South Carolina
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