Under-the-Radar Football Movie Is One of 2022's Top 5 Releases So Far

An under-the-radar football movie is making a big impact since its release earlier this month. Sparks: The Ken Sparks Story is a football documentary about the life of former Carson-Newman football coach Ken Sparks who died in 2017. According to The Numbers, Sparks: The Ken Sparks Story is the fifth highest-grossing movie of 2022, making $26,245 on just 20 screens. It was released on Jan. 7. and produced by Native Wind Media.

"For 46 years, Ken Sparks devoted his life, despite the sacrifices it demanded of him, to coach the game of football in such a way that it led players, coaches, families, and fans to Christ, and in so doing made the man a legend," the synopsis states. "At the end of his career and life, he had ended up being the 5th all-time winningest coach in NCAA, in front of Bear Bryant of Alabama, and behind Bobby Bowden of Florida State University. He also was the alall-timeinningest coach in the NCAA Div II. His record was 338-99-2."

Sparks became the head coach of Carson-Newman in 1980 and returned after the 2016 season. In his career, Sparks led Carson-Newman to 21 South Atlantic Conference Championships and five NAIA Division I Championships. Sparks also led the Eagles to the NCAA Division II Championship game in 1996, 1998 and 1999 but came up short in all three times. 

"After 47 years, this is hard, but the mission hasn't changes guys, I want y'all to understand that. My mission hasn't changed," Sparks said when he announced his retirement in 2016. "What is my mission? [It] should be all of our missions and that is to honor and glorify the God who's created us and has got big plans for us and is trying to do some unbelievable things through us and that's what I want to continue to do."  

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Sparks continued: "The interesting thing and I'm going to give you a little insight. If you want to be involved in your program, get people involved in your life, get people involved in doing, then cast a vision about what God is doing. Make sure that you sell an all-mighty God that's got some unbelievable plans that wants to do some things in kids lives because a lot of things fell into place when that happened. I'm so grateful just to be a small part of it."