Gary Barton, Panhandle Director
Having been raised in Lubbock, Texas, Gary grew up playing all sports. He played some football, basketball, and golf in high school, hearing about FCA but not being involved. After graduating from Lubbock Monterey, he attended Texas Tech and graduated in 1978 with a Finance degree.
After moving to Amarillo in 1978, he met his wife Lynn and was married in 1980. Gary felt God's call on his heart and gave his life to Christ in 1981. They joined a local church that same year and, in 1984, Barton felt God call, once again, into full-time ministry. He wasn't sure what God had in mind for him, but he was available and actually talked to a couple of churches about open positions, but nothing worked out.
In 1996, Gary attended the FCA Victory Banquet, meeting Coach Tom Landry and hearing Coach talk about his lifetime involvement with this ministry called FCA. He started getting involved with other FCA activities, primarily the Golf Marathon, which was also an FCA fund raising event. Gary joined the Panhandle FCA Leadership Board in 1998; became Leadership Board Chairman in 2002; and felt God calling him to become the Area Director in 2007. As he has said many times, “As Director, my job is a whole lot harder than I thought it would be, but it’s also a whole lot more rewarding than I ever imaged!”
Gary and Lynn, a school teacher, have lived in Amarillo since 1980, raising two boys, Nicolas and Jonathan. They have a granddaughter Camryn, who lives in Amarillo. Nicolas, his wife Becca, and their son Brooks live in Lewisville, TX, while Jonathan currently lives in Georgetown, TX.
Dr. Aaron Hunt, Athletic Chaplain & Character Coach, WTAMU
Josh McCreary, Field Representative
Josh McCreary grew up playing baseball, basketball and football. Having two brothers, he competed with them daily in anything they could find to do. Josh knows what it’s like to compete and to be a part of a team. He understands the importance of teams, sports, athletics, coaches and how they can influence the world for Jesus Christ.
An Amarillo native, Josh attended and graduated from San Jacinto Christian Academy, then played baseball at West Texas A&M University, graduating in 2007. Although he participated in FCA in high school, it was in college where FCA really impacted his life. After he graduated college, Josh felt the Lord calling him to serve on staff for FCA. He spent his first three years as part-time staff and was promoted to full-time status in September 2012. Through being in the ministry the past 4 years, Josh has seen the influence that coaches and athletes have on their teams, on their school, and on their community. Every day he works to build relationships with coaches and to “coach the coach” as they pour out daily into the lives of their athletes. Josh likes to say, “there’s nothing like being able to talk about God and hang around coaches, athletes and sports every day.” Josh and Laci currently live in Amarillo.
Kristen Krissel, Field Representative
Kristen was born and raised in Amarillo, Texas. She played basketball and ran cross country and track at Randall High School, and went on to run cross country at Angelo State University before returning and finishing her running career at WTAMU. After graduation, Kristen pursued an education career as a science teacher and coach. Of her 17 years in teaching, 14 years were here in Amarillo at Crockett Middle School.
Kristen was introduced to FCA in high school where she was actively involved in her FCA huddle, and continued her involvement as an FCA huddle leader while teaching and coaching. Her recent call to FCA was a God-given fit, giving Kristen more time to spend at home with her four daughters while continuing to work with education and youth.
She has a deep respect for coaches. "I became a coach because I was loved and inspired by a coach. Coaches impact and change lives. They have the power to change a community - one athlete at a time."
Kristen feels called to encourage and support women coaches, female athletes, and wives of coaches. "A female coach's job is really tough, especially if you're married. It requires a lot of time, dedication, and heart on top of her daily commitments to being a teacher, wife, and Mom. The adversities that adolescents face in their daily walks are often overwhelming. And, as I well know, being a coach's wife is not always an easy task. I want to build relationships with these women in order that I might encourage them in their daily faith walk. I want the opportunity to share the love of Jesus and help these women grow in their spiritual journey."
Kristen lives in Amarillo with her husband Ben, who is a teacher and coach. They have four beautiful daughters: Kinsley, Madyson, Cambree, and Shaylie.