Keeping the Super Bowl in perspective


She's not Tim Tebow. Allison Melangton won't be kneeling to pray before any Super Bowl crowds this week. But like Tebow, Melangton would give credit to Jesus Christ for her ability to balance hundreds of her duties in preparing for the Super Bowl.

Melangton, president and CEO of the Super Bowl Host Committee in Indianapolis, is the behind-the-scenes detail manager alongside committee chairman Mark Miles.

Miles frequently credits Melangton with helping land the big game for Indianapolis because she tracks the big picture as well as the details. "On both sides of her brain, the creative and the analytical, she's loaded with ability," noted Miles.

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Melangton cheerfully attributes it all to her personal faith, yet does not point to any dramatic conversion to Christ.

A native of Auburn, Maine, she grew up in a church-going family and planned for a sports management career in Colorado after going to Colorado State University.

Melangton came to Indianapolis in 1983 to work for USA Gymnastics. She also met the man who became her husband, Tom Melangton, a heating and cooling business executive. They became members of East 91st Street Christian Church, then under the leadership of long-time pastor Russ Blowers.

"Between my husband, Tom, and the preaching of Russ Blowers, I came to a new depth of faith," she recalled. The Melangtons now attend Radiant Christian Life Church in Westfield, Ind.

Melangton climbed the ladder of success in sports management, working for the Indiana Sports Corp. She's also won four Emmys as an associate producer of gymnastics for NBC Sports during its Olympic coverage.

Her associates marvel at her ability to juggle hundreds of details. A friend and occasional prayer partner is former state Rep. Carolene Mays, now with the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission. "Allison has one of the most beautiful spirits of anyone I know," said Mays. "She walks with that light, kind touch."

A gradually growing faith in Christ has helped Melangton keep sports in perspective. And now that she's 47, she thankful she's managing a Super Bowl now, rather than 20 years ago: "If the Super Bowl defined who I am, I would be a big ball of nerves and stress. I've grown into that perspective of knowing what really defines me."

She added, "The most important thing in my life is my faith in Christ and my family." The Melangtons have one son, a high school senior.

Similar to former Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy, Melangton is an example of how faith in Christ can strengthen capacity to respond to stress gracefully. Like Dungy, she also is a role model for keeping life's priorities in the right order.

Russ Pulliam
Russ Pulliam

Russ is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star, the director of the Pulliam Fellowship, and a member of God's World Publications' board of directors.


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