It was the announcement we hoped we’d never see. (Click on the link above to read the details on the Wheaton site.)
But it has happened. I think I had the same sensation when I was attending a Sunday morning service at Hamilton Congregational Church when Harold Bussell said he was leaving to serve in California.
I am sure for Mike the choice to leave wasn’t an easy one but not one that is a total surprise. Mike is from the Midwest, played at Wheaton, and was an assistant coach at Wheaton before going to Eastern and then to Gordon.
And what’s not to like about what Mike’s coaching style brought to Gordon’s basketball program during the past seven seasons? His first year here he inherited some great seniors and the team was 20-5. Impressive, to me, was what he did after the major pieces of that team graduated after the season. We learned that he was a terrific recruiter because as players graduated new ones came along who could compete successfully in the CCC. There was never a losing season!
The year-after-year successes were bound to catch the eye of other programs in the country sooner or later. My take is that other offers were received but never considered. His eye was always on the Wheaton job and the longer Mike coached at Gordon the better his resume became.
The Wheaton basketball program has been very, very successful. I can’t imagine that not continuing with Mike as the head coach.
Where does that leave those of us left behind? Imagining the future is very difficult. Some of us have gotten very attached to the winter activities at the Bennett Center and there is a very good team in place for the 2009-10 season.
How does Gordon go about getting another coach? Without an athletic director the search could be real difficult.
BUT GOD! God is in control and for those of us who have prayed for the Gordon basketball program for years there is great consolation in that fact. Uncertainty has a way of drawing us closer to Him and this is surely a time of uncertainty.
I have followed the team regularly for all of Mike’s years here. I think, in fact, that Mike is the only one who has seen more of Gordon’s games during the past seven years than I have. I’ll miss him a lot but at this point I’m prepared to press ahead and see what God has in store for the team’s future. I’ll also be keeping my eye out for Wheaton scores to see how he does.
Psalm 33:20-22 “We’re depending on God; he’s everything we need. What’s more, our hearts brim with joy since we’ve taken for our own his holy name. Love us, God, with all you’ve got – that’s what we’re depending on.”
I hope to get over to the college and do a brief interview with Mike before he leaves.