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BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe tells about his Mormon conversion

Published: Thursday, July 18 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

Unique perspective

After retiring from pro football, Holmoe coached at BYU, Stanford and the 49ers. He spent five years at the University of California as head coach.

Holmoe was named BYU’s director of athletics in 2005. His duties involve overseeing 21 intercollegiate sports with more than 600 athletes and 150 staff members.

As an athlete who came to BYU as a nonmember and was later baptized, Holmoe can relate to many athletes in his role as an administrator.

“It’s helped enormously because I come from a background where I saw things differently. I know how they feel. I know how their parents feel. I know there are pressures on them that LDS people might not feel or see or sense. It’s easier for me to put myself in their shoes,” he said. “I like rubbing shoulders with our athletes. When I can help them, especially the non-LDS kids, through difficulties or troubles that they might have here or celebrate their achievements, that’s my favorite part of the job.”

The takeaway

During his NFL career, Holmoe once had a conversation with an LDS friend that stuck with him.

"Tom, you think you have a great life, don’t you?" the friend said.

"Yeah," Holmoe said.

"You have a beautiful wife, beautiful children, you're on the 49ers, you have a home in the Bay Area, but you don’t know what you are missing," the friend said. "The blessings that are going to be poured upon you at some point in time, you can’t fathom."

His friend was right, Holmoe said. The gospel has changed and blessed his life in "millions of ways."

"I couldn’t fathom it, until I took that step," he said. "I was prideful, I wouldn’t humble myself to do what I knew was right. I felt it, and I resisted it. That's why it took me so long. That would be my message."

"There are a lot of people who resist the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ because of what other people will think. When I made my decision, some people were cynical and made fun of me, but I did the right thing. I made it for the right reasons. Now I look back and I’m so grateful that I wasn’t pulled away completely so I couldn’t make the most important decision of my life. ... But until you commit, get baptized and make covenants, you can't fathom what you're missing. Your life will change in ways you can’t understand. You can’t read it in a book; you've got to feel it in your heart through the Holy Ghost. And I’m still learning. I hope to learn more on my spiritual climb as I continue to grow in the gospel."

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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