This story appears in FCA Magazine’s November/December 2017.
Samantha Ponder Born:
Dec. 11, 1985 Hometown:
Liberty University Career: ESPN
Host of Sunday NFL Countdown (2017-Present)
College GameDay contributor (2012-16)
College football & basketball sideline reporter (2011) Fox Sports
College sports host & reporter (2009-11) MASN
Liberty Flames sideline reporter (2007-2009)
Samantha Ponder, in the age of social media, is one the rising stars for ESPN. Her accolades are irrefutable: The first woman to host “Sunday NFL Countdown,” an accomplished sideline reporter and former host for ESPN’s college football and basketball programming.
As a Christ-follower who regularly appears on one of sports media’s largest platforms, Ponder answered six fun- and faith-based questions from FCA Magazine for the November/December 2017 issue.
1. My favorite Bible verse is Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV): “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
2. The person who has had the greatest spiritual impact on me has been my dad, Jerry Steele. I’ve never seen someone live out his or her faith more radically than him.
3. Being a “Christ-follower” means being a constant seeker of truth. I accepted Christ when I was 13, and since then, it’s been a constant seeking and longing for me to know Him more.
4. One piece of career advice I’d share with kids is to always ask, “Then what?” It’s great to have goals and a vision for your life, but it’s also important to look beyond just the things you can attain and accomplish.
5. One piece of spiritual advice I’d share with kids is that God works in different people in different ways. You don’t have to have a certain type of feeling or experience in order to validate the truth of God's Word in your life.
6. FCA is important because it gives people something to be a part of. We all want something to validate our existence and make us feel like we’re a part of a team, whether it's a sports team or some group. For me, FCA was a safe place where I could ask questions and challenge other people’s thoughts on faith and grow with like-minded people.
Photos courtesy of ESPN Communications.