1977.  

Jimmy Carter was president of the United States.  

“Star Wars” was the top box office draw.  

Atari 2600 was released in the United States.  

And Jim Kessler started coaching men’s basketball at Grace College.  

Forty-two years over 1,300 games later, Coach K has decided to hand off the baton to Scott Moore next season. Kessler amassed 785 victories, 10 conference championships and an NAIA National Championship in 1992.  

Who can forget that season in the little cracker box gym when the cheers were, “Is this not a basketball?” We gathered during the championship game to watch it on the big screen as we cheered David James, Scott Blum and the rest of the Lancers to victory.  

Coach K is more than statistics and accomplishments as he “retires.” (He is going to serve as special assistant to the athletic director). What has set him apart these four decades is that he loves his players and students.  How many has he mentored over the years and helped to develop into winners, not only on the court but in life?  

I do not know him well, but just watching I can tell how much he cares for others. The amazing thing is that he has done this over four decades at the same institution which now has a court named in his honor at the MOCC.  

Philippians 3:14 is his favorite verse: “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  

We need more like Kessler in 2019 who as followers of Christ put their faith into action.  When the last buzzer sounds and his coaching career ends, we all will say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!”  

When time runs out on the clock of our lives, may Jesus say the same to all of us in eternity.

Ken Locke is community ministries director of The Salvation Army in Warsaw and director of the Greater Warsaw Ministerial Association.

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