Coach Bostwick earns 200th collegiate victory
Close-nit Lions have won 40-of-52 close games
Team has seven games remaining, five of them at home
NAIA national website currently runs a similar story: http://www.naia.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=209403327
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- Saturday’s 77-74 victory over Texas Wesleyan University lifted No. 4 Southwestern Assemblies of God University to 20-3 this season. It also gave Head Coach Donnie Bostwick his 200th career win.
His Lions built an 18-point second half lead and staved off a comeback bid by the Rams (13-11). It completed a sweep of the season series after beating Wesleyan, 86-80, on the road in January.
Bostwick, in his third year at SAGU, has assembled an 80-19 mark since his arrival in this Dallas southern suburb. He was a standout player for, then a 10-year assistant coach at John Brown University (Ark). His first four seasons as a head coach were at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
While coaching the Eagles his teams posted a stellar 120-20 ledger. OWU won the NAIA Division II national championship at the end of the 2009 season and reached the Round of 16 or higher in the other three campaigns.
Oklahoma Wesleyan, who lost 20 or more games in each of the previous four years before he came to Bartlesville, produced teams with 26-8 (2008), 35-2 (2009), 30-5 (2010) and 29-5 (2011) records.
In his first year at SAGU the Lions enjoyed the largest turnaround in all of college basketball. After going 10-22 in 2011, SAGU enjoyed a best-ever 27-11 year in 2012.
They finished third in the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA), which has about 120 members from the NAIA and the NCAA’s Division II and III.
Last winter they rolled to a 33-5 record, winning the Red River Athletic Conference and advancing to the NAIA championship game.
In the final against Georgetown College (Ky), the Lions trailed by seven with thirteen minutes to play before the Tigers pulled away for an 88-62 triumph.
During the season the Purple Pride went 18-2 in games decided by nine points or fewer. They have now won 40 of 52 contests of similar margins.
In the three previous years the Purple and Gold had a 25-31 ledger in close games.
The Pryor, Oklahoma native is now 200-39 (.837) with seven games remaining in the current schedule.
His teams are characterized by their cohesion and “all out” play. A hustling defense and a penchant for diving for loose balls illustrate their hunger to prevail.
Also, the Lions consistently rank very high in offensive rebounds and three-point baskets. They are 3rd in the NAIA in offensive caroms (15.3 per game) and 4th in trifectas per outing (9.5 per game).
SAGU joined the Sooner Athletic Conference this season, where they currently hold a 12-2 mark. Both of their setbacks have come on the road in games where free throws spelled the difference. The home team had a combined 71-32 edge in attempts.
The Lions are led by senior guard Dominique Rambo. Last year’s NAIA Co-Player of the Year is averaging 22.7 points and 3.33 steals per game. He scored at a 19.5 points per game clip a year ago and was credited with 3.55 thefts per contest.
Three others score in double digits; Jonathan Walter (15.3), Caleb Feemster (13.2) and Caleb Gentry (12.7).
As for the 200th win, Bostwick says not a single win “…would have been possible if it was not for the favor of my God.”
To those who know him, that is not just lip service.
His aspiration to become a head coach in college led him along a challenging path. It included five years of working his way through the high school ranks, then ten years as a college assistant.
“Many, many nights those dreams seemed like they would never come to fruition,” he said over the weekend. “During those times I learned to lean more on God and trust Him to supply for my family on a limited income.”
“There were some rough challenges, but I never lost hope that God had a plan.”
“Instead,” he continued, “God was preparing me to use the strategies (that) I use for the success we experience today; like applying His principles and seeking His presence as part of my teams’ daily preparation. How else can you explain the success?”
“200 is just a number. I count my junior high, high school, and assistant coaching victories as just as valuable and thank God for them as well.”
“The only number that I am going to take with me (to heaven) is how many souls I influenced for the Lord! That is all that counts. Coaching is one of the most impacting professions there is. To me, it is my ministry.”
“My players from the junior high girls I coached, through high school, through my collegiate players, both as an assistant and as head coach would tell you where the success came from,” he explained.
Bostwick said his players were good enough to win games, but likely not as many as they did because of God’s blessing.
“I cherish it and thank God for it daily even though I am still not worthy,” he continued.
He considers his profession as a coach to be part of his daily worship of God.
“It provides a platform for others to see God's greatness and His love through my walk (life). Success may get people’s attention, but how you act and react each day reveals a person’s life as a disciple. For everything, He deserves all the Glory!
NOTE: The book often seen in Coach Bostwick's hand is "God's Game Plan." It is the "Athlete's Bible" and is published by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.