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Coach Tonagel


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

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Coach Tonagel


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

'Building a Wall'

I'll always remember walking off the court in the league tournament championship game. 

 

I'll never forget the feeling of disappointment that came from losing to a team for the third consecutive time.  Bigger than that disappointment was the frustration that was vent up inside of me.  If frustration is best defined as 'unmet expectation,' I wasn't about to accept a close loss to the #1 team simply because I had high expectations for my team.  As I walked into that locker room I knew that if we could change our defensive mindset, this team had a chance to make a run in the National Tournament. 

 

I remember telling each guy in that locker room...

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Nate Bubash


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Nate Bubash


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Diving into the Word and onto the floor

I’ll always remember how we grew the week leading in to our national tournament run. 

 

I couldn’t believe how committed everyone on the team was on and off the floor. We had some of the toughest practices I can ever remember, but also some of the most meaningful prayer times.

 

The coaches really pushed us that week...

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Josh Mawhorr


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Josh Mawhorr


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

ON THE BUS

I’ll always remember watching the 2014 national championship game while we were on the bus to Branson.

 

The national tournament is a culmination of a lot of hard work and energy over the course of a season.  As a reflective person, I spent the bus ride to Branson thinking about all of the memories that were created during the season.   From a basketball perspective I thought of every preseason workout, every practice, every conference game, every suicide, every film session, every loss, and every win.  Spiritually, I remembered the moments spent in prayer, the moments searching God’s Word, the tears shed and the moments of joy that we shared as teammates.  I wondered how all of this preparation would reveal itself.  

 

While we were on the bus...

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Coach Bettinger


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Coach Bettinger


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Story Time  

I’ll always remember being on the other side of ‘story time’--as a coach.

 

Being just a year removed from playing at IWU, I was invariably asked throughout the year what it was like to now be a part of the coaching staff. I could discuss at length how impressed I was by everyone’s work ethic and basketball IQ, but what stands out the most to me was their diligence in prayer. It was humbling to be surrounded by men who consistently set aside time to meet with the Father.

 

For four years, I showed up for film sessions, meetings, practices and games, with a limited knowledge as to just how much preparation and prayer went into everything. Needless to say, I was surprised the first time...

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Aaron Murray


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Aaron Murray


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

The Prayer walk

I’ll always remember the prayer walk that Josh Mawhorr and I took before the night before our first national tournament game.

 

It had been a frustrating season for me as I had high hopes of playing a big role on the team after putting in hundreds of hours of work in the off-season.  I knew it was going to be a breakout season for me, and I played well to start the year, but my minutes went down as the season went along.  The ten games leading in to the tourney were some of the most frustrating of my career, as I had not played more than 3 minutes in a game.  I had many sleepless nights...

 

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Jonny Marlin


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Jonny Marlin


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Backyard dreams

I’ll always remember my mind flashing back to playing alone in the driveway, my mom calling me inside for dinner way too early.  I’d yell back ‘Not until I win this game!’

 

As a kid, I always dreamed about hitting the “big shot.”  Night after night, I would hit one game winner after another until mom’s voice got a little more serious.  And so when the stage was actually set for my chance to hit a “big shot” in a meaningful game, I had already been there. I had already thought about that moment and what move I might make and the feeling I was going to have after the shot went down.

 

Before every game in the last half of this season, I would...

 

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Kylan Dubbles


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Kylan Dubbles


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Big shot jonny

I’ll always remember feeling sorry for the guy who was guarding Jonny.

 

It was a one point game, with just under a minute left and I was sitting on the edge of my seat watching Jonny dribble the ball at half court.  I was not wondering IF he was going to make a winning play—I was wondering what winning play he was going to make.

 

Having guarded him every day in practice, I knew first hand that there’s really not much a defender can do when Jonny decides he is going to score...  

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Micah Davis


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Micah Davis


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

The huddle

I’ll always remember the timeout huddle that shook me to the core.

 

I had a unique opportunity as a redshirt to observe our leaders carefully and I watched no one harder than Jonny Marlin...

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Coach Delks


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Coach Delks


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

CHURCH!

I will always remember how we spent our off day in Branson.  We went to church!  

 

I came to IWU last year anxious to learn about what made the program so successful.  I will never forget the first piece of advice I got from Coach Tonagel...

 

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Jackson Murphy


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Jackson Murphy


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

TRUE GROWTH

I’ll always remember how I grew more off the court than on it during the National Championship run.

 

Cutting down the nets with my teammates was a memory I’ll never forget, but the growth I experienced in prayer is what I will take away from Branson.  I learned that there is something special that happens when you pray in unity with a group of men who are all passionate about seeking the Lord. 

 

When Josh Mawhorr got up and shared with the team and led us in prayer time the morning before we took on Davenport, something clicked inside of me...

 

 

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Jacob Johnson


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Jacob Johnson


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

The ASSIGNMENT

I’ll always remember when my teammates had my back after I was given the biggest defensive assignment of my life.

 

After I saw that we were going to play Davenport in the Final Four, I instantly felt a tinge of anxiousness. I knew how good Davenport was, and I remembered specifically one player from when they knocked us out in the Elite 8 last season.  Dominez Burnett. This dude was good, I mean really good. He won NAIA National Player of the Year two years in a row and was the all time leading collegiate scorer in the state of Michigan, scoring over 2800 points. 

 

I had a feeling that I was going to be given the responsibility to guard him, and thinking about doing this on my own created some nervousness... 

 

 

 

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Coach Mercer


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Coach Mercer


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Late night film sessions

I’ll always remember the late night runs to Krispy Kreme with DJ.

 

When our coaching staff prepares for a regular season game, we will spend dozens of hours watching film of our opponent to put our guys in the best position to succeed.  That becomes a lot more challenging when you are getting ready for your fourth game in five days, like we were when we were getting ready to take on Davenport in the Final Four.  With such a jam-packed schedule, the coaches cram as much film as possible into the time available, and my roommate DJ Bettinger and I often watched film late into the night.

 

After the coaching staff finished our pregame prayer with just under 20 minutes showing until the game started, I sat alone in the locker room and opened my Bible...

 

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Coach Clark


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Coach Clark


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

WAKE UP CALL

I’ll always remember when God woke me up early on a Saturday morning in Branson.

 

It wasn’t unusual for the coaches to wake up after three or four hours of sleep while we were in Branson, typically with game film on our minds.  But early Saturday morning, it was a passage of Scripture that was laid so heavily on my heart that I knew I wouldn’t be able to get any more rest until I went to the Word to see what the Lord wanted to say.  I'll never forget how clearly I felt compelled to type out some specific thoughts as I read through Acts 4 that morning.  As we walked in to the locker room after beating Davenport a few days later, it was those thoughts from the Lord that I couldn’t get out of my head...

 

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Jonny Marlin


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Jonny Marlin


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

WHY I CAME HERE

I’ll always remember when the national title game lost its importance.

 

It was the night before the biggest game of the year, and we had not gone over the game plan yet.  I walked in to the meeting room anxious to know what we were going to do differently after going 0-3 against our opponent during the season.

 

The coaches got in front of the room and didn't talk basketball...

 

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Coach DeMichael


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Coach DeMichael


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

True Inner Workings

I’ll always remember praying with the Men’s Basketball team before their national championship.

 

As Athletic Director at IWU, one of my favorite parts of the job is the opportunity I have to watch all of our teams compete. I love all sports and get a true enjoyment out of watching our talented athletes use their gifts in a sport that they love. Traveling to the national tournament to watch our team brings that enjoyment to an even higher level because our coaches are gracious enough to invite me to join them in their team meetings. These meetings consist of game video analysis, strategy talks, devotional thoughts and prayer time. When I sit in these meetings, I feel like I am observing the “inner workings” of Wildcat Basketball…the non-glamorous component necessary for any team to be successful but a part that many non-team members never have the opportunity to see or understand.

 

Monday night after the semi-final win against Davenport I was sitting in just such a meeting...

 

 

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Grant Evans


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

Grant Evans


THE HEARTBEAT--You've seen the trophy, now go inside the moments that reveal the heartbeat of a champion

powerful prayers