NAIA recognition draws kudos
Bostwick comments on NAIA ranking
Men's basketball Lions continue their season this weekend
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Southwestern Assemblies of God University joined the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics in 1998. The Lions have enjoyed measured success in the years since being accepted as one of the near 250 members in the NAIA.
When the first edition of the Coaches Poll was released from the NAIA’s headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri this week, it included SAGU in men’s basketball for the first time in school history according to Athletic Director Jesse Godding.
New head coach Donnie Bostwick tried to put it in perspective on Tuesday.
“Rankings are critical when selecting at-large teams at the end of the season,” he said in reference to being chosen for the NAIA’s 32-team national playoff. “The only one (poll) that counts is the last one.”
Coach Bostwick came to Southwestern this year after investing the previous four at Oklahoma Wesleyan University. There, he went 120-20, was twice named national Coach of the Year, won a national championship and advanced to at least the Sweet 16 in the tournament each season.
Former SAGU head coach Scott Vaughan, now an advance scout for the Utah Jazz as well as coach at Canterbury School in DeSoto, Texas, sent his praise for the team and Coach Bostwick.
“It’s not a surprise to me,” he said of the NAIA listing. “Donnie knows how to win without big men, which is hard to do on any level. He is a very good coach. He has a wonderful spirit and personality and gets the best from his players. Athletes are drawn to him and love to play for him. That's why I am not surprised at all.”
“Coach Bostwick is a great addition to SAGU. He played for a very good program (at John Brown University in Arkansas) and he knows how to build a program. He also has a great reputation with the NAIA already.”
Gerren Hamilton, a former standout player and SAGU assistant coach stated: “It's great to see SAGU receive (8) votes in the coaches poll. I am extremely happy for the team and for the success their having.”
“I am also happy for the fans. SAGU fans, in my opinion are the best in the conference,” he added. “They support their teams until the end. I believe this team will continue to win and make history.”
Hamilton is currently playing for the Harlem Ambassadors. They have scheduled games and outreach in Russia after Christmas.
Coach Bostwick summed up the recognition. “It is a marker on the path of the mountain we are attempting to climb this season,” he added. “This time of year, though, rankings are big for the fans.”
“We have a long way to go, but a good start is encouraging,” he continued.
The National Christian College Athletic Association also sent their initial rankings for the new season. SAGU, a Division I member, appeared at #7. There are 63 institutions in D1 along with another 41 in Division II.
The Lions added to their 7-0 start with a 116-97 triumph over the University of the Southwest on Monday night.
SAGU, now 8-0 overall and 2-0 in the Red River Athletic Conference, plays at Huston-Tillotson University on Saturday.
They have a big game on Monday in San Antonio against No. 24 ranked Our Lady of the Lake University.
Both games tip-off at 7:30pm.
After Christmas break the Lions resume their schedule with a huge game against no. 6 Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth on January 5. The next home game is set for Jan. 7 versus Langston University.
Eye on the Lions: SAGU TV
Beginning with the Langston game, the remaining home contests (men and women's teams) will be broadcast over the internet on SAGU TV. Believed to be the finest NAIA livestream service in the country, SAGU SPORTS Live can be viewed for free in High Definition.
Under the direction of John Cookman and Southwestern’s Media Services, the network has expanded from football to basketball and now includes volleyball.
Fans can access the broadcasts from the home page at www.sagu.edu by clicking on Watch SAGU TV.