Lurone "Coach" Jennings, Sr.
Lurone was born in Lafayette, Alabama , but grew up in the South side inner city of Chattanooga Tennessee. He is a 1972 graduate of Howard High School, where he became an outstanding athlete in football, basketball and track. His athletic and academic skills earned him a football scholarship to Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the most prestigious Black Colleges in the country. Lurone earned a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education in 1977. After graduating from Fisk University, he returned to Chattanooga and began his teaching and coaching career with the Chattanooga City School System. During his coaching career, Lurone had the pleasure of coaching NFL All-Pro Defensive End Starm Reggie White, former Memphis Showboat, Philadelphia Eagle, and Green Bay Packer Superbowl XXXI Champion. Reggie was inducted into the Football Hall of Fame in 2006. He also coached WNBA Basketballer and 1996 Olympic God Medallist, Venus Lacy, who starred on the US Women's Olympic Basketball Team.
In 1983, Lurone a became a committed disciple for Jesus and in 1986 he was licensed and ordained as a Baptist Minister. He attended Beraccah Bible Institute and earned a Certificate of Study in 1988. In 1992 he received a Master's Degree in Education, with a concentration in Administration and Supervision, from Trevecca Nazarene College in Nashville, TN.
In 1992, Lurone became Principal of his alma mater, Howard School of Academics and Technology, the largest inner city high school in Chattanooga. He later moved to the school system's Central Office as Director of Drug Education and Athletics, with responsibility for programs in forty-one schools.
After much prayer and 18 years of working with youth in the public schools of Chattanooga, in 1995 Lurone heard the Voice and felt the hand of Jesus calling him into full-time ministry. He was appointed founding pastor of the Bethlehem United Methodist Church, now known as Bethlehem-Wiley United United Methodist Church. He serves as the Executive Director of the United Methodist Neighborhood Center, Inc. otherwise known as the Bethlehem Center. He is one of the founders of the Bethlehem Community Development Credit Union, the first of its kind to be chartered in the State of Tennessee. The credit union is now known as the Church Koinonia Federal Credit Union: Bethlehem Branch, due to a merger that strengthens the two credit unions. He is the founder of Head Coach of the V-Team Leadership Network of America, providing a "VOICE with VISION and VICTORY for the Game of Life." He is the Associate Publisher for the Chattanooga New Chronicle, an African American owned newspaper. Lurone is also a member of the National Association of United Methodists Evangelists(NAUME) and is an affiliate Leadership Coach with the International Leadership Institute (ILI). In 2013, Mayor Andy Berke appointed Lurone as Administrator of Youth and Family Development for the City of Chattanooga, TN.
In 2005, Lurone released his book, "Crisis in Urban America", which reveals his his vision for dealing with the many challenges plaguing our inner city communities.
Lurone is married to Glinda H. Jennings and they have adult 3 children, Lurone Jr., Luronda and David, as well as three granddaughters, Ania, Tymber and Nadia. Lurone also shares his faith and w ministry through his revivals, conferences, workshops and sermons in other churches, schools and ministries throughout the country.