Saint Xavier University is a four-year school located in Chicago. The school’s football team, the Cougars, plays in the NAIA’s Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
That’s where you will find Spencer Nolen.
Nolen is the Cougars’ senior kicker/punter. He’s also a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, a returned missionary and a newly wed.
A recent article by Justin Breen on DNAinfo.com chronicles Nolen’s unique journey from high school in Tennessee, to the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, to his mission in Nevada, to the University of Nevada-Reno to Saint Xavier in Chicago. The article, which also appeared in the Columbia Daily Herald, details how Nolen met and dated his wife, the former Haylie Farnsworth.
Apparently, Nolen waited three weeks and eight dates before he finally kissed Farnsworth for the first time.
“I was starting to wonder what the heck was wrong with this guy,” she told Breen.
A week later he told her he loved her and proposed marriage. A few months later they were sealed in the Chicago LDS Temple.
The Cougars are 3-3 so far this season. Nolen has made 8-of-12 field goals and 18-of-19 extra points. He is also averaging 42.6 yards per punt.
Another LDS football player, former BYU quarterback Max Hall, was recently featured in the Winnipeg Sun. In an interview with writer Kirk Penton, Hall talked about his Mormon mission to Iowa. Hall told a story about knocking a door and being greeted with a shotgun.
“I opened the door and the guy had a shotgun in his hand, told me to get off his porch and said a bunch of things I can’t say in an interview,” Hall said in the article. “That was kind of scary.
“There’s some risk involved in it, but you actually do get a lot of joy and fulfillment from teaching somebody and helping out people. I had a really good experience on my mission.”
Although his mission only lasted seven months or so, his experience influenced his decision to transfer from Arizona State to BYU, Hall said.
“More for lifestyle I went to BYU,” Hall told Penton. “Just being LDS, Arizona State is kind of a big party school and I didn’t have the best experience there.”
Hall is currently the Blue Bombers’ starting quarterback. This season he has passed for nearly 1,200 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions. The team is close to clinching a spot in the Grey Cup playoffs. He hopes to remain in Winnipeg, he said.
“I want to be here. I like it here. I like the organization. I like where things are going,” Hall said in the article. “We should finish strong this year and we should have a good team next year. I want to be part of that.”