About Messiah Athletics
Messiah Athletics at a glance:
Location: Grantham, PA
College Founded: 1909
College Enrollment: 2,900
Athletics Director: Jack Cole
Athletics Phone: (717) 691-6018
Affiliation: NCAA Division III
Conference: Middle Atlantic
Number of teams: 22
Colors: Navy and White
Team name: Falcons
Pursuing Athletic Excellence … Developing Christian Character
This is intercollegiate athletics – not intramurals. There is a scoreboard. We compete against other institutions; one team will leave the event with a win, and the other with a loss. Conference standings are published. There are championships in every sport in which we compete. Pursuing athletic excellence is important.
But equally important is the way we compete. As we work at developing character, how do our student-athletes carry themselves during competition? How do they do in the classroom? Are our athletes serious students? Do they demonstrate sportsmanship as they compete? Does their faith impact the way they approach the game? Developing Christian character is every bit as important to us.
We often talk about these goals. They are on signs. They appear on letterhead. They appear on awards. They are on the cover of our Student-Athlete Handbook. We want people to know that this is what Messiah Athletics is all about.
The Scope of Messiah’s Program
Messiah is in the Middle Atlantic Conference (MAC), a group of 15 Division III institutions. The MAC is divided into the Commonwealth and Freedom Conferences; Messiah is in the Commonwealth Conference with five other Pennsylvania colleges in 2007: Albright, Elizabethtown, Lebanon Valley, Lycoming, and Widener. In most team sports, we compete against those five schools. In a few team sports, and in all individual sports, we compete in the MAC.
In 2010-11, Messiah has 11 women’s sports and 11 men’s sports. Women compete in basketball, cross country, field hockey, indoor track and field, lacrosse, outdoor track and field, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis and volleyball. Men’s sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, indoor track and field, lacrosse, outdoor track and field, soccer, swimming, tennis and wrestling.
And we know that the impact coaches have on their student-athletes is significant – student-athletes will see coaches and staff every day during the season for several hours; will travel with them in buses or vans; will see how they react to bad calls from officials; and will share tears of joy after a big win or tears of sorrow after a tough loss. The lessons taught by the coach over four years will last a lifetime.
Our mission in Athletics supports the College’s educational mission: The Department of Athletics at Messiah College seeks to develop Christian character while pursuing athletic excellence. In doing so, the Department fulfills Messiah College’s mission to educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character, and Christian faith.
It is clear that intercollegiate athletics supports the College’s educational mission.
Learns to seek excellence;
Why Messiah Does So Well
Messiah is a Christian academic community. It has a niche as a Christian institution – there are student-athletes who want an education with a Christian worldview. The College’s motto is Christ Preeminent. Messiah is a strong academic community, recognized for its outstanding faculty and challenging coursework.
Second, our coaches and Athletics staff members are knowledgeable and hard-working, and there’s a stability within the department that makes a difference. All of our staff members are committed to Messiah’s mission. They know that there isn’t much point in “talking the talk” if they aren’t “walking the walk” as they serve as role models and mentors for our student-athletes.
The third reason, one that is every bit as important as the first two, is the attitudes with which our student-athletes approach competition as they represent Messiah. They are students, first and foremost. We may have an athlete or two who can play at a professional level, but there are few of them. Our student-athletes are here to learn, to receive a degree, to graduate. They are smart – and smart student-athletes will be more successful in sports.
More importantly, their purposes for competing may differ from our opponents’ purposes. All student-athletes, at Messiah and at every school with whom we compete, play for themselves, for their families, for their teammates and their coach, and for their institution. But beyond that, Messiah student-athletes believe that they are playing for the Savior whose name they wear on their uniforms. Our student-athletes take that seriously. Their purpose goes beyond what others’ purposes may be: Their purpose is to glorify God.
There is a poem titled Teamwork (the author is unknown). It goes like this:
You can pitch a no-hit ball game, but it’s just another loss
When teamwork at Messiah includes our God as its captain, we can approach competition and athletics participation as a truly wonderful opportunity.