Elite High School Athletes Respond to Christ
On Saturday, March 4, Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach Danny Reese, Women’s Basketball Coach Temple Elmore and CIU basketball players, Elijah Spalding and Jordan Spruell, had the opportunity to share their faith with a group of elite high school athletes at the annual South Carolina Independent Schools Association (SCISA) All-Star Basketball games in Sumter, SC.
Twig Gray, the former director of the South Carolina Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the head of the SCISA event, invited CIU’s coaches and players to share during lunch on Saturday. Coach Reese, a CIU grad himself, focused his talk on topic of time. Using James 4:14, “You do not even know what will happen tomorrow,” he stressed to the student that every day is game time, calling on the all-star student athletes to use their positions as role models for Christ.
Thirty students responded by giving their lives to Christ. When asked about this tremendous response, Coach Reese said that he is in awe of all God is doing through CIU Athletics. He brought up CIU’s camps and mission trips run by the Athletics department and the positive, life changing effect they have on hundreds of kids locally and around the world each summer.
CIU’s Athletic Director James Whitaker commented, “The SCISA event was a great opportunity for us to connect with these basketball players and practically demonstrate a commitment to our mission of using athletics as a tool to impact those around us for Jesus Christ. We desire for all of our teams to be successful on the court but even more importantly we want them to use their platform to connect with others and make a lasting impact for Christ.”
The Columbia International University Collegiate Athletics program started just six years ago and now offers men’s and women’s cross country, soccer, basketball and track and field. Next year CIU is adding softball, volleyball and golf and joining the NAIA as part of the Appalachian Athletics Conference. CIU Athletics is indeed an important part of CIU’s vision to “Know Him and Make Him Known.”