A trio of former sports stars shared powerful messages at the inaugural The Sports Fund Lecture series Friday morning at Vanderbilt’s McGugin Center.

Former Tennessee Titans stars Chris Hope and Chris Sanders, as well as all-time Vanderbilt basketball scoring leader Shan Foster spoke at the event titled “Life After Sports: Giving Back.” Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director David Williams, who serves as chair of The Sports Fund advisory board, hosted and moderated.

“We’re trying to transition from being successful to being significant,” said Hope, both an NCAA and Super Bowl champion and former All-Pro safety with Pittsburgh Steelers and Titans. “We got here not because we’re talented. We got here because someone else sacrificed for us.”

Sanders, now an assistant coach and administrator at Montgomery Bell Academy, said: “It’s easier to train up a boy than to repair a man. The way to be great is to make others great.”

Foster, who heads the YWCA’s MEND initiative dedicated to ending violence against women and girls in the community, said, “One of the biggest lessons I learned from sports is that failure is a choice. The only time you fail is when you don’t get up after getting knocked down… It’s about experiencing adversity and pushing through it.”

The event was the first of a continuing lecture series for The Sports Fund, an initiative of The Community Foundation dedicated to helping ensure Middle Tennessee children have access to the opportunities sports and team membership provide – ultimately, helping them succeed in school and in life. As a permanent endowed source of funding, The Sports Fund distributes grant funds to nonprofits and community programs in Middle Tennessee that work proactively to prevent a range of issues facing our children, such as childhood obesity, gang membership, teen pregnancy and high school dropout rates.

For more information, contact Scott O’Neal at 615-321-4939, ext. 133 or soneal@cfmt.org. Follow The Sports Fund on Facebook or at www.thesportsfund.org.