Christian author, producer Bob Briner dies of cancer

GREENVILLE, Ill. (BP)--Bob Briner -- sports promoter, television producer and popular Christian author -- died June 18 in Greenville, Ill., of cancer. He was 63.

Briner, cofounder and president of ProServ Television, also was the author of the 1993 Christian bestseller, “Roaring Lambs.” His most recent books, “Leadership Lessons of Jesus” and “More Leadership Lessons of Jesus,” were written with Ray Pritchard and published by Broadman & Holman Publishers, a division of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“The death of Bob Briner is a great loss to the body of Christ,” Bucky Rosenbaum, vice president for trade and academic books of Broadman & Holman, said. “‘RAB,’ as he was known to many, was a towering figure, physically and spiritually. He mentored many people who are now leaders in television, sports and business. He was truly a roaring lamb.”

In a 1997 interview, Briner emphasized the importance of developing Christian leaders.

“We haven’t done a very good job of strategically placing the gospel in leadership areas. Producing godly CEOs or godly secretaries of state is really expensive. I’m not talking just in terms of dollars, but the kind of commitment that it takes both for the would-be leader and the institution that’s committed to developing them.”

After a career in coaching, Briner became director of promotions for the Miami Dolphins football team and later was honored as AFL Promotions Director of the Year. He later co-founded World Championship Tennis and the Association of Tennis Professionals.

As cofounder of ProServ Television, Briner produced many sports television specials, including the Emmy award winning “A Hard Road to Glory,” which he wrote with the late Arthur Ashe. His 1993 production, “Dravecky: A Story of Courage and Grace,” was honored as the Evangelical Film of the Year.

In addition to writing, producing sports programming and raising funds for charities, Briner discipled 20 male and female student athletes each semester at his alma mater, Greenville College.

Despite his battle with cancer, Briner had finished seven of eight chapters of a book challenging Christians to become more involved in making a positive difference in today’s world, Rosenbaum said. The book will be published within the next few months.

In 1997, Briner said if one of his grandchildren were to ask him what he did with his time in his later years, he wanted to feel good about his answer.

“I didn’t want to have to tell him, ‘Well, I made a shoe deal for Michael Jordan’ or ‘I got the NCAA Final Four into three other countries’ or ‘I put another tennis event on television.’ I wanted to tell him that at least to the best of my limited ability I have tried to make some difference for eternity and tried to be obedient to what I thought Jesus was telling me to do.”

Briner is survived by his wife, Marty, three children and three grandchildren.

A Roaring Lambs Tribute to Briner will be held Oct. 29 in Spring Arbor, Mich. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bob Briner Scholarships at Spring Arbor and Greenville colleges.

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