Spurgeon College to launch basketball program
    May 28 2019 by Art Toalston, Baptist Press and T. Patrick Hudson, Midwestern Seminary

    Beginning in the fall, Spurgeon College will launch a basketball program as its first step into intercollegiate sports.

    Philip Parker

    With the Mathena Student Center now completed, the undergraduate arm of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MBTS) in Kansas City, Mo., has hired a head coach, Philip Parker, for the team to be known as the Knights.
    At present, Spurgeon College has scheduled 11 games, beginning in mid-November. Parker said he hopes to have 15-20 games for the inaugural season.
    In April, Midwestern’s trustees received plans to field sports teams at Spurgeon College and on May 13 the National Christian College Athletics Association (NCAA) officially accepted the college as a member.
    “Many factors have come together to make college sports a possibility,” MBTS President Jason Allen said, “and we count it as another reminder of God’s kind providence and blessing upon our institution.”
    Allen voiced gratitude to the NCCAA “for their partnership in bringing intercollegiate athletics to Spurgeon College.”
    “We appreciate the focus of their mission, which is the promotion and enhancement of intercollegiate athletic competition with a Christian perspective,” Allen said. “This falls fully in line with what we hope to accomplish through sports programs at Spurgeon College – to be highly competitive and win championships, but to do so in a manner that glorifies God and develops young people for a future of Christian ministry and toward expanding and strengthening Christ’s Kingdom.”
    According to the organization’s website, the NCCAA is an association of Christ-centered collegiate institutions whose mission is to use athletic competition as an integral component of education, evangelism and encouragement. The NCCAA serves its members by setting association standards, developing communication resources, providing regional/national competition, and partnering in outreach to the collegiate communities and the world. They also are committed to equipping student-athletes and coaches to make a positive impact for Christ.
    Parker comes to Spurgeon College after a five-year stint at Calvary University in Kansas City, where he started as a student assistant and worked his way to head assistant coach. He helped lead the rebuilding squad from a 1-20 record to a near-.500 record – including a second-place finish in the Midwest Christian College Conference regular season during the 2018-2019 season.
    “Even before being considered for this position,” Parker said of Spurgeon College, “I was well aware of the growth and progression of the school, and to now be a part of it is genuinely a dream come true.”
    Parker said he’s encouraged by the excitement and energy about the program around campus and that it will provide an enhanced experience for students, faculty and staff.
    Allen said Parker embodies what Spurgeon College was looking for in a head coach. “After conducting a thorough search for the right man for this position, it was clear that Coach Parker possessed all the attributes we desired in leading the team. He is a young man with great energy, knowledge of the game, and leadership abilities but, more importantly, he desires to lead a group of young men to become passionate and effective followers of Christ. He sees basketball as an environment that’s truly conducive for discipleship.” 
    During its initial campaign, the team will play what amounts to a junior varsity schedule. Even though there will be a varsity roster, a majority of the team’s competition will be local NAIA JV squads so that the Knights can gain experience, work on improving logistics on and off the court, and prepare for the second year when they will join the NCCAA in Division II.
    Parker said he’s currently purchasing equipment, preparing the gym to be game-ready and working on obtaining an apparel contract. He also has been spending time formulating the values and framework for the team so that the players and assistants will know why they do what they do and how they’re to do it.
    From a recruiting perspective, Parker said he’s in the process of researching Christian high schools and calling coaches. In June, he will be traveling extensively conducting home visits and meeting with coaches.
    “We will be announcing soon the signing of two student athletes who have committed to the program,” Parker said. “There are also several recruits visiting campus in the coming weeks and months. Through talking with high school coaches, we also have several sophomores and juniors that we will be keeping our eyes on.”
    In addition to men’s basketball at Spurgeon College, there is the potential to add teams in other sports.
    “Our hope and intention for the future is to add a ladies’ team next,” said Sam Bierig, dean of Spurgeon College. “The direction this could go would potentially be toward volleyball, basketball or even cross country. Additionally, as we add sports teams, we would like to explore the potential for men’s soccer. Regardless of which direction these decisions take us into the future, the start-up of men’s basketball portends exciting things to come for our campus community.”
    To learn more about the Spurgeon College Knights men’s basketball team, visit spurgeoncollege.com/athletics or contact Coach Parker at pparker@mbts.edu.
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Compiled by Baptist Press senior editor Art Toalston with reporting from T. Patrick Hudson of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.)

    5/28/2019 12:25:19 PM by Art Toalston, Baptist Press and T. Patrick Hudson, Midwestern Seminary | with 0 comments
    Filed under: Division II Basketball, MBTS, Spurgeon College

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