On the Playing Field

Over the past year you probably joined in the discussion of some prominent events: the scandals surrounding a former coach at Penn State University, Jeremy Lin’s rise to fame, and the Tim Tebow success story.

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[dropcap3]O[/dropcap3]ver the past year you probably joined in the discussion of some prominent events: the scandals surrounding a former coach at Penn State University, Jeremy Lin’s rise to fame, and the Tim Tebow success story. These stories are fascinating and contain multiple talking points. There is no question that each story causes us to take stock of our character and what we allow to be the visible and invisible features of our lives. In observing Tim Tebow play quarterback, it is not his outstanding testimony and witness that speak loudest. What is really admirable is that Tim plays at a level that few attain. He has taken advantage of every opportunity provided him to out-prepare, out-work, and outlast the competition. He combines his love of the sport, the thrill of competition, and the desire to lead with integrity, and through these actions his walk with Christ shines.

At PBU the focus of the intercollegiate athletics program is modeled after similar characteristics. Many Christian educators give rationale to their sports program by highlighting the virtues that are hopefully produced as an outcome such as perseverance, ability to deal with adversity, and leadership. While certainly admirable, these virtues are a natural byproduct of athletics. At PBU we ask our athletic department, coaches, and student athletes to be focused on the pursuit of excellence in all aspects of the game while representing Christ in character and sportsmanship. This is the expectation of a university where the mission is to educate students to be biblically minded, well-educated, and professionally competent men and women of character. As we translate that mission to intercollegiate athletics, we strive to have student athletes that take the mind of Christ on the court who are well educated in preparation, skill, and competition, and who strive to show competency through a desire to win and play to their utmost.

PBU competes in the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC) within the NCAA division III. This gives students the opportunity to gain a biblically centered education and also compete earnestly at the collegiate level. Within the CSAC conference, the University’s teams regularly face institutions that have three times the athletic budget and resources of PBU. We have embraced this level of competition as a challenge that motivates us to live up to the mission driven expectations of the University and our athletic program. PBU athletics strive for success through hard work, superior preparation, and game day excellence.

Through intercollegiate athletics, students at PBU are challenged to Walk a Different Path. Our intercollegiate athletic programs aim to provide student athletes with a platform where they can use conditioning, skill development, preparation for game tactics, and excellence in the field of play to fulfill the PBU mission. Many of our students serve in the community and around the world in camps and service projects. Every year we have students who run local sports clinics, participate in evangelically based sports camps, or assist in local huddles of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Our hope is that while the Tim Tebows and Jeremy Lins of the world get media attention, that our student athletes will demonstrate the same desire to work hard, play hard, and instill in others a drive for excellence. We want our student athletes to be known for their love of sports, desire to compete with integrity, leadership, ability to instill passion in others, and most of all, we want them to honor Christ in a manner that is worthy of their calling.

[framed_box]Jason Penley was hired as the Director of Athletics in the summer of 2011. He is responsible for oversight of the athletic staff, hiring and management of coaches, coordination of both practice and game schedules, interpreting eligibility rules and regulations, the upgrading and supervision of all athletic related facilities, implementing programs and departmental policies, and oversight of the athletic budget, among other things. Penley also serves as the PBU men’s basketball coach. Coming out of a career as athletic director at Christian schools, Jason brings his experience as a coach, administrator, and educator to PBU. A grad of Baptist Bible College in 1997 and a standout basketball player for the Defenders, Jason also brings an understanding of PBU’s regional competitors. Jason is married to Laura, his wife of 14 years, with whom he has two children: Tyler (11) and Sydney (9). They currently reside in Langhorne, PA.