Tuesday, May 01, 2007

More to the Belmont Hoops Story than Academic Success

The Nashville City Paper released an article today, Belmont Hoops a Model for Academic Success. In a city where the sport's news has focused on the antics of a wayward Titan, it is certainly good news to know that Coach Rick Byrd understands better than most that his players are students first and athletes second:
"Last week, the NCAA released its academic progress rate report and the BU hoops program fared as well as any in the country. The program ranked in the top 10 percent among all Division I programs in the nation. What’s more, it did so for the second year in a row. Only six programs have managed to accomplish that while also qualifying for the Big Dance both years."
There is more to this story
Look at some of the names of the players who played against Georgetown in the first round of the 2007 NCAA Tournament: Justin Hare, Keaton Belcher, Andrew Preston, Will Peoples, Josh Goodwin, Matthew Dodson, and Andy Wicke. Now match those names with team members who traveled to Venezuela last summer on a missions trip. Here's what Paul Scott, IMB Missionary inVenezuela, had to say about these players from Belmont:
"Hundreds of people came to know Christ during the twelve days of this mission trip. I don’t know all their names and I doubt that I would even recognize their faces, but I do know this one*. We praise God for the Belmont University Basketball team. Thank you for coming to Venezuela. Thank you for being faithful to God’s call. We are literally eternally grateful."

I thank God for people like Rick Byrd and Betty Wiseman at Belmont University. In spite of a Baptist convention that chooses to slander the good names of the university's leaders and trustees and ignore the good works that happen on Belmont's campus, these Christian teachers and coaches understand and demonstrate the very best of Christian education and service. Well deserved kudos to Belmont's men and women who work hard in the classroom, represent themselves well on the playing field, and humbly serve in unique platforms for ministry across the globe!

*"this one" refers to Josey Scott, missionary son of Paul and Shelley, who became a Christian during the Belmont team stay in Venezuela.


Jeff said...

I am a Belmont alum and work with the International Mission Board. When I was at Belmont (been a few years now), I didn't hear much about missions and ministry. I'm glad to see more and more news like this coming out of the school. Betty Wiseman was one of the best then and still is. Thanks for this.

Will said...

Jeff, Thank you for adding your comment. I am surprised that the university doesn't get more information like this out, knowing that the Baptist state newspaper is no longer interested. I know that there are strained relationships among many Tennessee Baptists and the university's administration, but it seems odd that the work these students are doing is being hidden beneath a basket.

Wishing you well in your ministry,