Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 28, 2016

Indiana Wesleyan has really upped their game when it comes to their men's basketball program.

To give you and indication of how far they have come, I was part of their first two basketball teams. My freshman year was the first year IWU began participating in intercollegiate sports competition. Prior to that their athletics were all intramural. So, when they first began putting together a basketball team I was part of it. Now, they have won two national championships in the past three years - so that is a quantum leap!

What accounts for such a major improvement over the past 40 years? How have they upped their game to the status of one of the best small college basketball programs in the nation?

Eleven years ago a mediocre small basketball program took a chance on this 24-year old young man when they hired him to be their head basketball coach. Watch the video clip below to get to know Coach Greg Tonagel and his winning philosophy:

Can you really build a quality, competitive championship caliber basketball program on the foundation of a Biblical principle?

Coach Tonagel's record speaks for itself:

  • 2014 and 2016 NABC/NAIA DII National Coach of the Year
  • 6-time Crossroads League Coach of the Year
  • 301-83 (.784) career record makes him the all-time winningest coach at IWU
  • 150-49 (.754) Conference record
  • 8 Regular Season Conference Championships in the past ten seasons
  • 7 NAIA Quarterfinal appearances in the last nine seasons--more than any school in the country
  • Has led Wildcats to top-6 NAIA ranking in each of the last ten years
  • Has coached 14 NAIA All Americans and 26 All Conference players in his eleven season
What does this have to do with anything other than you bragging on your Alma Mater, Brad?

I want to make the point about how to up your game by using the spiritual principle of "I am third" just as Coach Tonagel has done for the IWU Wildcats.

"On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?” He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” Luke 10:25-28

Obviously, this young man thought he had a pretty good game already when he flippantly asked Jesus how he could up his game. I don't think he was expecting the answer Jesus gave him.

Jesus said in essence, "If you want to up your game find a way to be third. Love God first (and most), love others next and then love yourself."

That is a game-changer isn't it?

How would it up your game today if every conscious thought was run through that matrix of "God first, others second, and I'm third"?

Why not try it out and see?