Coppenger named Boyce basketball coach

Communications Staff — August 18, 2008

Boyce College has hired Jedidiah Coppenger as its new men’s basketball coach.

Coppenger, a first-year doctor of philosophy student at Southern Seminary, was a four-year starter during his own college basketball career at North Greenville University and hopes to lead the Bulldogs to success of their own.

“He’s always loved the game and played it well,” Lee Sexton, Boyce athletic director, said of Coppenger. “Had he not been called into ministry, he probably would have been a coach.”

Boyce looks to improve on its 6-20 record from last season and 3-24 record from the program’s inaugural season in 2006-2007.

Corey Mullins, the previous head coach, accepted a position as head men’s basketball coach at Kentucky Christian University. As the fourth coach in less than three seasons, Coppenger expects to build on the foundation laid by his predecessors Bryce Hibbard, Casey Smallwood and Mullins.

“There have been some good coaches who have done some good things over the last couple of years,” Coppenger said. “But there hasn’t been consistency. I want to build on what previous coaches preached — discipline, defense, understanding the fundamentals — but then take the guys further. The coaching world is always in motion, but since I am settled here for the next few years with school, I want things to be consistent over the next few years. We should be able to develop an established program.

“I played under the same coach all four years of college and he is one of the most influential people in my life,” Coppenger added. “I hope to bring that kind of relationship to these players.”

Two of the Bulldogs’ greatest assets for the 2008-2009 season look to be returning seniors Greg Gibson and Ben Ward. Gibson cracked the National Christian College Athletic Association Division II top-25 in scoring last season with an average of 19.2 points per game. Ward achieved national recognition in four statistical categories, and his 55.2 percent three-point shooting was first in the nation.

Ward was fifth in field goal percentage (60 percent), 22nd in blocks (1.4 per game) and 25th in rebounds (8.7 per game).

But Sexton said performance on the court is not the only thing that Coppenger will bring to Boyce, nor is the main thing he will focus on.

“Jed brings a solid basketball background as a player wedded with tremendous loyalty to the institution as well as an academic excellence that makes him a great fit for this position,” Sexton said.

Coppenger said he looks forward to developing in his players not just basketball skills, but an overall worldview and approach to life that has Christ and His kingdom at the center.

“I want the guys to not see the basketball season being about basketball, but being about the advancement of the kingdom of Christ over the kingdom of Satan,” he said. “I want them to better grasp the reality that God is making us the type of people who can rule with Christ in the new creation. If the players have this in their minds then they will become the type of basketball players I will proud of, the type of players Boyce will want and, hopefully, the type of team that other teams will not want to face.”

Coppenger, who is the son of Southern Seminary Professor Mark Coppenger, will also serve as academic advisor at Boyce.

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