Welcome to Interview #38.
I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of ACCA Kansas Christian College Women’s Basketball Coach, Rebekah Vann.
Coach Vann is in her first year at Kansas Christian College with the women’s basketball program. It will still be several months before she welcomes her first team on to campus as the new program kicks off their inaugural year for the 2016-2017 season.
Kansas Christian College women’s basketball will be a brand new program during the 2016-2017 season. It is not often a coach gets to build a program from the ground up.
What are the feelings and emotions you have when you think about guiding the first women’s basketball team in Kansas Christian College history?
I am very humbled and excited for this opportunity to begin a new program on the collegiate level. Every day, I am so thankful for the chance to be a part of this unique turning point in the school’s history for athletics.
What is it like being a basketball coach this year before you have a team?
I love having this year to really get things in place and have a solid foundation to be successful. It’s definitely hard, not having a team already, but that is where recruiting comes in and preparation of getting students on campus is in progress. I feel fortunate to have this season of preparation, where I can focus on every detail from the beginning and produce an exciting brand of women’s basketball here in the Midwest!
How do you find players for a team that does not play their first game until November of 2016?
The recruiting process is ongoing, and it never stops. For us, recruiting athletes is like a lot of other programs, in that we are actively building relationships with coaches, going to tournaments, attending local games and watching film.
There are hundreds, maybe thousands of student-athletes who are looking to bring their talent to the college level. However, only a small percentage of high school students get to participate collegiately. Knowing this information, it is highly probable to find athletes who are eager to compete and also get a quality education at the same time!
What would you tell prospective athletes are the benefits and challenges which await them at a first year program?
Some of the benefits of being a student-athlete at KCC is joining in a new era of KCC athletics, paving the way for record-setting accomplishments, as we will be the first women’s team to ever take the court in 2016. Challenges that may arise is the unrealistic expectation of others for us to compete like an underdog, but in reality, we will come out strong and be fierce competitors.
What are you looking for in a women’s basketball player as you are on the recruiting trail? What is most important to you?
First and foremost, I am looking for student-athletes who desire to put God first in their lives, meaning that they desire to bring God glory in everything they do.
Secondly, I look for student-athletes with character (how they treat others around them, how well they handle business in the classroom, etc.)
I look for young ladies who display what it means to be a fierce competitor (how they compose themselves when their down 30pts or up 30pts in a game, or how they act on the bench, and how they interact with coaches, friends and family).
Then, I look for athletes who possess a strong work ethic, who care about their academics and maintaining good grades. A combination of these is the type of players I seek, along with staying hungry to learn and to develop leadership skills through acts of servitude within our community.
Kansas Christian College is a Christian school. Will all religious schools be similar? What are differences that recruits should think about when choosing a religious school?
I do not believe that all religious schools are similar, in fact, I believe that every one provides a different experience for each of its students. When recruits are deciding among private colleges and universities, they must choose a setting in which their own spiritual development can be challenged to grow on a daily basis in the knowledge of God and his calling for our lives.
Kansas Christian College will compete primarily in the Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA), and the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). Can you explain what these two associations are and how it will affect the experience of the athletes?
The ACCA is comprised of 16 member schools who have similar student enrollment size. These ACCA member schools are located throughout the Midwest, and are represented in states like Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, and Iowa.
The NCCAA contains member schools who are much larger in student enrollment, with over 50 member schools. The NCCAA also has two divisions a (one and two). This is unique, in that, KCC, will be a part of both. This allows our athletes to compete at two national level post season national tournaments.
Could you share, in whatever detail you are comfortable, what kind of athletic scholarships your team will have?
KCC does not offer “athletic” scholarships. Instead we offer a host of other scholarships in which students may apply for each year. Students can apply for Pell Grants and Federal student aid through FAFSA.
What is the role of the parent in the recruiting process?
The role of any parent or guardian in the recruiting process is very important. For any young person, choosing a school is one of the most important decisions of their life. The best thing they can provide is support during the process.
What should players expect from a Christian college athletic experience?
Players at KCC can expect to know the 4 Pillars of Success:
- Prioritizing first and foremost the value of faith in God and family. “For physical training is of some value, but godliness is valuable for all things!” Timothy 4:7
- Cultivate a mindset of being good stewards of what they have been entrusted with (through academics, talents, time, community service, leadership development).
- Mental toughness: giving a conscious effort in the situations we can control (the tangibles) and learning to respond positively to the intangibles.
- Fierce Competitors: Making hard work our passion. Our efforts on the court will be in direct proportion to our level of accountability.
Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or basketball players in particular as they navigate the recruiting process?
For athletes, the recruiting process can be very overwhelming, as well as discouraging. My advice for athletes will always be to choose a school that best fits your needs academically, spiritually, athletically and socially. These are some of the most valuable years of your life, transitioning into the adult world of working professionals.
Secondly, I would advise you to surround yourself with positive influences, people who support your future endeavors and current aspirations.
Third, be willing to accept advise and listen to those who have made wise decisions before you—be like a sponge and soak in knowledge, advice and encouragement.
Finally, don’t painfully make the mistake of choosing a school based off the wrong reasons. Be happy with your choice, believe in your capabilities and set high expectations of yourself. If you can dream it, you can achieve it!
Kansas Christian College women’s basketball coach Rebekah Vann graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene University (Kan.) in 2006 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology before going on to earn her Master of Science in Recreation and Sport Sciences degree (emphasis in Coaching Education) from Ohio University in August 2013.
Next, take a look at How to Look at Christian Colleges and Universities.
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