Darrell Wyke knows that mentoring young people changes lives.

He has helped shape the lives of hundreds of athletes in the Tennessee Valley.

Their pictures fill the walls in his gym “We Sacrifice We Excel.” Photos of everyone from professional athletes to teens trying to make the team.

“I love the game, and it definitely makes men out of young boys,” Wyke said.

After moving to Chattanooga, the former college football player from Selmer, Tennessee, spent 10 years as the strength coach at Baylor School.

“They’re program is so vast that it helped me to be able to work with every type of athlete across the board, so I really owe Baylor School so much for the spring board of my career,” Wyke said.

Wyke, who is a trainer and a minister, has long pulled his weight when it comes to giving back to the community

Last year, he gave $25,000 to The Howard School to help redo the football field. He was part of a mentoring program, training ten players, nine of whom went on to play football in college.

“Anybody can lift weights and do those things, but our kids are very special. We create young men and young women, and we want to teach them that sports is not only a great opportunity, but it’s a responsibility,” Wyke said.

When he’s not connecting with athletes, he’s helping the homeless through a ministry he started nearly 15 years ago.

Every week, men and women line up in downtown Chattanooga where Wyke passes out food and encouragement.

“One guy said at least every Thursday they know that they’re going to have something good to eat. That just warms my heart,” Wyke said.

Through the years, Wyke said he’s learned that small acts can make a big difference in people’s lives.

“People are in need, and it doesn’t matter how they got that way. We still are supposed to help them, and I think that’s a responsibility that I have as an American citizen,” Wyke explained.

Those who know Wyke say he inspires people around him.

“He’s very compassionate and very passionate about helping kids. I see it on a day to day basis. I see troubled kids needing employment. He’ll help them out. I see a kid who needs training. He’ll help them do that,” Jamaal Macon said.

Macon owns a cleaning business and cleans Wyke’s training facility.

His son is also a Howard football player.

“He helps my son’s football team. He feeds the players. He takes them to church and stays active in the community. He is always going from place to place helping people, and that motivates me,” Macon added.

“We all need to be thankful, and we all need to turn to each other and love and care for each other because that’s the only way we can truly be successful,” Wyke added.

Wyke is helping young people create a winning attitude on and off the field.