Where Are They Now: Norm Evans

Posted Nov 19, 2015

As part of Throwback Thursday, each week we update the current professional and personal status of a Dolphins alumnus. This week, we feature former rPro Bowl tackle Norm Evans.

Norm Evans was perfectly suited to play as an offensive lineman for the Dolphins. An original Dolphin who was taken in the 1966 expansion draft from the Houston Oilers, Evans was a stalwart at tackle for the team all the way through the 1975 season. He played at such a high level that he made two Pro Bowl teams and was the only member of the 1966 squad named to Miami’s all-time team 50 years later.

Evans’ personality was just the type needed to play in the trenches, doing all the grunt work while the quarterbacks and running backs behind him got all the glory. But that’s typical of his unselfish nature, a selfless outlook that not only was a driving force behind his success with the Dolphins, but also played a large role in his decision to devote his post-retirement career to helping others.

But first he tried his hand in the publishing business.

“I retired in 1978 and (former NFL defensive end) Bob Lurtsema was a buddy of mine and he had a publication called the ‘Viking Report’ and I thought, why not do a ‘Seahawk Report?’” said Evans, who was living in Seattle after finishing his career with the Seahawks. “So in 1979 I started publishing a ‘Seahawk Report.’ I did that until 1982 when the strike put us out of business.”

Well, so much for that idea. But the publication’s abrupt ending did allow him to find his true calling.

“When I was still playing with the Dolphins, I became a board member of an organization called ‘Pro Athletes Outreach’ (PAO), a faith-based organization that was doing lifestyle conferences for professional athletes and their spouses,” said Evans. “The things they taught were ‘How to have a healthy marriage,’ ‘How to parent your children’ and ‘How to manage your finances.’

“So in 1984 the board invited my wife, Bobbe, and me to take over the organization, so she became the Executive Director and I was the CEO. From 1984 to 2010 we ran the organization and expanded it. We started having conferences for pro baseball players and their spouses, then added ones for hockey players, rodeo and jockeys and eventually worked with tennis, golf, and the NBA. So eventually we were involved in professional sports where we could find athletes and their spouses together to lead these conferences and talk about these things.”

It involved a lot of traveling, and Evans became a frequent visitor to NFL teams, including the Dolphins, during that time.

“Basically what we tried to do was to meet these specific needs that pro athletes and their spouses faced. I would pick some people on the board (there were a bunch of former players on the board of directors) and one of them would go with me to visit NFL teams during training camp,” he said.

As if working with almost every professional sports league wasn’t enough, Evans took on even more responsibilities in an attempt to reach as many people as possible with his supportive and worthwhile program.

“In 1997 Bobbe and I were invited by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes to speak to a similar group in Texas,” said Evans. “At the end of it a coach I knew came up to me and said, ‘Norm, I think every coach and his spouse ought to have to do something like this.’ After that, I couldn’t sleep. I kept waking up hearing him say every coach and his spouse should do something like this.

“So in 1998 I got four coaches together here in Washington and we went to the Washington Coaches Association and got them to give credit to coaches who would come with their spouses to the seminar on how to have a healthy family. It was mainly for high school and junior high coaches. And so those four coaches and I started that in 1997. And after a while the NCAA came along and partnered with us and then it spread all over the country. It’s called ‘Coaches’ Time Out’ (CTO). So at that point Bobbe and I helped run two organizations until we stepped down from both in 2010.

“In all, Bobbe and I were involved with PAO for 40 years, first on the board and then running the organization for 26 years. And we were with CTO from 1997 to 2010.”

You would think that after all that work Norm and Bobbie, after almost 55 years of marriage, would step back and finally relax, and to an extent, they have.

They still live in Washington (in Issaquah, a suburb of Seattle) and have two children (a son and a daughter) along with two grandchildren and two great-grandkids. They love to travel and fish and maintain their Miami ties when they do.

“We have roots in Washington, but we still have roots in Florida, too,” said Evans. “We try to get back there as much as possible. And I try to go fishing with my kids every chance we can. In fact, this next spring I’m hoping to get a fishing trip with my son, Ron, to go up to Alaska to fish with Larry Csonka.”

But if you think that’s all they do, you don’t know the Evans family. It’s still all about giving back.

“A few years ago, Jeff Kemp started an organization called ‘Stronger Families’ and they came out with a seminar called ‘Oxygen for your relationship,’” said Evans. “So Bobbe and I have helped with that seminar. We’ve done a bunch of those on military bases. Bobbe and I learned a lot during all the years we worked at PAO when we got to hear all about how to have a healthy marriage from all these great teachers. So we took the stuff we had learned over those 40 years and tried to apply their stories ourselves to help other couples.

“We’ve been so blessed by so many people we just wanted to give back. So that’s what we have been trying to do. What makes it all worthwhile is when I run into some of my old NFL buddies and they say, ‘the program really made a difference for me, for our marriage and our kids.’ That’s the rewarding part.”
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