Roy Kidd’s actions spoke louder than words. He was all about honesty and integrity and it showed in his professional and personal life.
“Before every football season began, he would have me talk to the incoming freshmen and transfers about honesty and integrity,” Kidd’s longtime pastor Bill Fort said. “He felt like honesty and integrity had a foundation in Scripture. He never encouraged me to shy away from or totally alleviate biblical mandates from my address. He welcomed and expected it.”
The late Eastern Kentucky University football coach, who passed away Tuesday (Sept. 12) at 91, was a man of faith and a Kentucky Baptist as a longtime member of First Baptist Church Richmond. Fort compared Kidd’s faith similar to James, whose faith “welled up in actions instead of words alone.”
Fort will be officiating the funeral service for Kidd on Sept. 18 at the EKU Center for the Arts.
“He and I ate lunch fairly routinely.” Fort recalled. “It was during that setting that he would ask a question about my previous sermon or something about Scripture or life that he had been pondering.”
Football and missions
During his conversations with Kidd over the years, Fort said Kidd never forgot his upbringing, especially his Christian roots that were firmly planted early in his childhood.
“Coach Kidd’s journey began a long time ago in Corbin (Kentucky),” Fort said. “He had a mother and aunt particularly who sought to teach and train him in the faith. It reminds me of Timothy’s faith being built by his mother and grandmother. He never veered from that sage instruction.”
Kidd’s biggest mission field, Fort said, was his football program at Eastern Kentucky, where he developed a close bond with players and staff.
“He had the greatest desire for them to leave his program and become great husbands, fathers and citizens,” Fort said.
Concern for others
“He had chaplains that were a part of the team. For years, it was Gene Strange. After Gene, it was Rick Trexler,” Fort noted. “He made them a part of the team because he wanted his players to have access to spiritual and godly wisdom in the everyday of their lives and not just on Saturdays. His connection with the players didn’t end when they graduated. He kept up with them, loved them, celebrated them and mourned hard when some died.”
While it was Fort who ministered to Kidd, the late coach became concerned about his pastor when he was involved in an automobile accident with his son.
“He ministered in a thousand ways that not many people saw,” Fort recalled. “My son, Patrick, and I had a car accident many years ago that kept me in the hospital for two days. Coach and Sue (his wife) were in Florida on vacation. I woke up the next morning to my phone ringing. It was coach Kidd checking on me. He continued to check on me until he was assured that I was fine.”
‘On the same team’
Marc Whitt, a member of Fort’s congregation at First Baptist, told Fort a story when Kidd showed compassion for other sports and programs at EKU. It occurred when Marc was part of the school’s marching band.
“The band was in fall practice just like the football team was,” Fort said. “During a break, a couple of the incoming football freshmen were making fun of the band. When coach Kidd heard about it, he quickly put a stop to it. The coach then went to the band director, and they had a short conversation. Coach then called the football team over and addressed them and the band. He gave a rousing speech to all of them about the band, cheerleaders and football players all being on the same team and seeking to achieve the same goal. Because of that goal, they ought to be each other’s greatest advocate. He then made the two freshmen culprits work with the band for a week in order for them to see how hard the marching Colonels work.”
That’s just one of the many ways Kidd treated others as he wanted to be treated.
“He was an incredible man,” Fort said.
Fort was the senior pastor at FBC Richmond for 22 years before retiring four years ago. He has served as interim pastors at several places. Fort was named pastor emeritus in March at FBC, where Travis Farris is the senior pastor.