CIU Names First Basketball Coach

June 19, 2012

History continues to be made at Columbia International University as Kyle Mendenhall has been named the first head coach of the CIU Rams men’s basketball team.  CIU is building the first intercollegiate athletics program in the school’s 90-year history. 

Mendenhall comes to CIU from Covenant College in Lookout Mountain, Ga. where he served as the head assistant men’s basketball coach for the past two years.  Prior to that, Mendenhall was the head assistant men’s basketball coach at Union College in Barbourville, Ky.             

In addition, Mendenhall has international basketball experience, coaching men’s basketball at Yeditepe University in Istanbul, Turkey, and playing in the Palestinian Professional League on Israel’s West Bank.  He also played basketball in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan with the ministry Athletes in Action. 

Mendenhall played his college basketball first at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kan. were he helped lead the Dragons to a 55-12 record in two years.  He then transferred to Sterling College in Sterling, Kan., where he led the Warriors to the NAIA Div. II National Tournament in 2006. 

CIU Athletics Director Kim Abbott says Mendenhall has the background that fits into CIU’s plans for athletics.  “Kyle has a drive to train the athlete to be competitive, but he also desires to raise young men to have lives of integrity and strong character,” Abbott said.  “He also has a heart to take basketball around the world, sharing the gospel as he goes – a key ingredient to athletics at CIU.”    

Mendenhall is married to Grace (Friedman) Mendenhall, an all-conference varsity volleyball player at Sterling College from 2005-08.            

Men’s basketball at CIU is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2013.  Men’s soccer and men’s and women’s cross country begin this August with the first intercollegiate soccer match scheduled for Aug. 25, when CIU takes on Toccoa Falls College on the new CIU soccer field at 7 p.m.  Other sports to be added to the CIU athletics program in the next five years include men’s baseball and women’s volleyball, soccer and softball. 

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