Remembering a Baylor legend: Bill Glass
A Baylor legend, Bill Glass (BA ’57), passed away earlier this week at age 86. His death was widely reported, most notably in an Associated Press story that was picked up by more than 200 media outlets.
Most of those stories focused on his athletic success. An all-American football player at Baylor in 1956, Glass went on to play 11 years in the NFL, earning Pro Bowl honors four times and helping lead the Cleveland Browns to their last NFL championship in 1964. He was elected to the Baylor Athletics Hall of Fame in 1969, the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985, and the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.
But even for all that, Glass’ legacy is not in sports; it’s in ministry, where his work has led countless men and women to Jesus over a lifetime of service and evangelism.
Glass felt a calling to share the Gospel early in life; in fact, that was why he chose to attend Baylor. As a student, he helped establish Baylor’s chapter of Campus Crusade for Christ. While still playing in the NFL, he earned a degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1963, and two years later, shared his testimony at the first nationally televised Billy Graham Crusade.
After retiring from football in 1969, Glass formally began an evangelism ministry now known as Bill Glass Behind the Walls. For more than 50 years, the innovative organization has shared Christ through testimonies of star athletes and volunteers in thousands of venues, including hundreds of prisons each year.
“The thing that really resonates with prisoners,” Glass recalled in 2013, “is this: the truth is that we all have a big problem; we’re all sinners, and we all need to be forgiven. The fact is that all sin is just sin — it’s just that the society labels some sins as crimes, puts you in prison for it, whereas, maybe in God’s eyes, some of the things you’ve done are no worse than some of the things I’ve done. If you put yourself on the same level with them, and say ‘I’ve got problems, too; I’m just blessed I found someone to forgive me’ — when you have that attitude, I think you can really relate well to them.”
Glass has also authored a dozen books, and remained connected to Baylor long after graduation — spending nine years on the Board of Regents, and sending three children and three grandchildren to BU. He was awarded the university’s Pro Ecclesia Medal of Service in 2013.
Sic ’em, Bill Glass!