What Ever Happened to Bill McCartney?

19 January 2011

Remember Bill McCartney?  The celebrated football coach of the University of Colorado and founder of Promise Keepers was everywhere in the 1990s, the heyday of the men’s movement.  “Coach” McCartney, loved or hated, was a force within modern Evangelical Christianity.  Even after the beginning of the death spiral of Promise Keepers began in the late 90s, he hung on the organization, and left only in 2003.  Over the next five years he founded The Road to Jerusalem, a dispensationalist parachurch organization getting American churches to support messianic Jews in Israel in order to hasten the second coming of Christ.  Then, in 2008, he returned to Promise Keepers as chairman of the board, though no real signs of life have come from the organization.

Just last November, at age 70, Coach Mac made it known that he was interested in heading the University of Colorado’s fledgling football program again.  That made a stir, including among some vocal college employees, who protested the hire of a “homophobic” and “sexist,” referring to several comments McCartney made over the years as an outspoken Evangelical.  The university ended up hiring Jon Embree.



  1. Yes, that whole Road to Jerusalem thing is odd: there’s an interesting paper to be written there.

    BTW, I’m not so sure about the “death spiral”. Certainly, they are down on their peak, but they’re still a significant men’s ministry, and their influence lives on in countless other ministries both in the US and overseas (in New Zealand, they pretty much represent all of men’s ministry in the land).

    • Dr. Gelfer, nice to have you stop by. I’d be interested in hearing what kind of lingering presence PK has in the southern hemisphere. I know they expanded globally during the 1990s, but I thought their international ministry met the same fate as their US operations. Here in the states, John Eldredge’s Wild at Heart thing is still the only lively Evangelical men’s program.

      • I have a paper under review which refers to men’s ministries down under: I’ll email it to you.

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