Tuesday, October 22, 2013

2 Outstanding Austin's - (no relation except excellence)

Big news this week for Coach Carver's teams!  The women's Cross Country team took home the team championship for winning the Bethel College Invite, and the men's team finished third.  After taking the past couple weekends off of competition the teams came back strong.  Both teams have been nursing some injuries while bringing along some young runners.  A lot of talent on both of these squads and both will have a chance to win conference; while currently not the favorite to capture the MCAC, I'm sure we have the conference's attention.  Especially since this past weekend we swept the runners of the week honor.  Below is the writeup put out by our conference SID:

Women’s Runner of the Week: Karissa Austin (York College)
Senior Karissa Austin of York College has been named MCAC Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the week ending Oct. 20. A native of Morrill, Neb., Austin ran her best time of the season on Saturday at the Bethel College Invitational, recording a time of 21:11 over the 5K course to finish seventh out of 39 total runners.

Men’s Runner of the Week: Jeff Austin (York College)
Junior Jeff Austin of York College has been named MCAC Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week for the week ending Oct. 20.  Austin, a native of Tecumseh, Kan., posted a time of 28:24 over 8K—his fastest time of the season—to finish ninth out of 62 total runners at the Bethel College Invitational on Saturday.

Karissa and Jeff are unrelated but both are excellent runners, good students and extremely high character and hard working student-athletes.  Congratulations to them both!  They are examples of students fulfilling our mission at York College and we're proud they are Panthers.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Effort and Attitude by Coach Ireland

Today, in a meeting with our coaches, our men's soccer coach Jon Ireland shared from his coaching philosophy to our group.  Effort and Attitude were his buzz words and he shared that those are two things that every student has which they have complete control over.  There are a number of things that athletes have very little control over:

...how the opposing teams acts for example
...perhaps the referee makes a terrible call and everyone sees it
...injuries can really put a damper on students

The list could go on, but we as humans simply don't have control over everything.  Nor should we.  However, we can control how hard we try and how we treat others around us whether we face easy or difficult circumstances.  I know Coach Ireland gives 100% effort and he always represents a Christ-like attitude.  We are blessed to have a man of his spiritual discernment and desire among our staff at York College.  In only his second year, I see growth and no matter what the wins/loss column says I believe this program is on an upward trajectory.  I believe that because he believes in effort and attitude as it pertains to his Christian walk, his faith in Jesus.  I know he'll never quit on that and he believes in our mission to transform students lives through Christ-centered education and his goal is to equip students for lifelong service to God, family and society.

Effort and Attitude
...when the opposing team acts without character it shines even brighter when our student-athletes keep their cool
...when the referee makes an obvious bad decision, realize that sometime in the near future the call could go the other way and even referees are human (believe it or not)
...even through injuries its possible to be a very valuable team member

All of this reminds me of the scripture about imitating Christ's humility, here it is:

Philippians 2
Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of
you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ

Friday, September 20, 2013


Its Friday!

Which mean's its coffee break for our coaching staff.  We don't always have coffee at our "coffee breaks" but we always use it as a weekly time to reconnect as a coaching staff.  We have a bi-weekly meeting which we call coffee-break; Tuesday and Friday we jam all the coaches in my office; it gets tight in here.  On Tuesdays we might talk about something technical like how to do expense reports but on Friday's its more spiritually centered.  One of the very unique aspects of working at York College right now is the unity among our coaches.  We really support each other, give advice, help work through issues and mostly we are mutually encouraged by each other.

At our coffee break today, Coach Brian Walth shared his coaching philosophy with our whole group.  I'll not write out the whole philosophy here but the underlying theme focuses on helping students become better people rather than just better baseball players.  One term he used that his team uses is a Japanese word/concept called "Kaizen" which means "small incremental improvements each day."  If everyone on the team focuses on getting incrementally better each day and does so, by the time the season rolls around they'll be more equipped to handle any opponent.

Last week at our coffee break, Coach Madole shared a portion of his philosophy, which they call E2...stands for Expect Excellence.  This team is wanting to improve and do better but history is not on their side so Coach wants to change their expectations as a group and expect to be excellent...in everything they do on and off the court.  I expect them to be excellent because I know they are focusing on that from the beginning.

However, the most encouraging thing we talked about today in our meeting was prayer.  Coaches shared how they cultivate team prayer and how they disciple players to someday lead prayer who had never prayed before.  A student that one day entered the program and the coach thought they'd never make it and one day here they are volunteering to lead the team in approaching God...it's happened, its happened a lot here.  Guys like Dylan Connolly and Greg Smith (both of whom now coach here) Reggie Johnson and Alec Abend were names that were mentioned today. These are examples of transformed lives and really the fundamental principle of why York College exists to transform lives through Christ-centered education (which can take place in sport) and equip students for lifelong service to God, family and society. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Panther Nation!

By now you may have seen we did have one coaching change in our ranks over the summer.  The main page lists Brian Walth as taking the reins of the baseball program as Nick Harlan has accepted a job at NCAA University of Central Arkansas.  We are sad to see Nick go, in many ways for many reasons, but are happy to have the chance to keep Coach Walth who has been so essential to that program's success.  As we begin the Walth era and say goodbye to friend, colleague and teammate, Nick Harlan, I realize how grateful I am to call both of these men "friend" and fellow employee.  I will eagerly watch Nick's career as he continues elsewhere and at the same time Coach Walth and I already have a strong working relationship that I know will continue to grow.  For now, here's a piece we have put together to celebrate "The Harlan Era."

A Look Back on the Harlan Era

York College is saying farewell to one of the finest coaches who has ever walked the base paths for the Panthers. 
Nick Harlan ‘03 has accepted a job at NCAA Div I Central Arkansas University as Associate Head Coach, ending a nine year stretch as skipper of the York College baseball program. He leaves behind a long list of accomplishments and changed lives. 
It’s one thing to have the respect of your players—a lot of collegiate coaches can lay claim to that—but Coach Harlan also garnered the respect of the faculty, staff and administration of York College.  His deeply held convictions about Jesus Christ and his love for the Word of God is what he was known for around campus. 

I remember one Saturday, York College was preparing for game three of a four-game series against a team we typically would beat easily.  As I walked toward the dugout, I saw Coach Harlan addressing his players with a certain fire in his eyes. I assumed that someone on the team must have been taking pre-game warm-ups too lightly and he was calling them up to get them focused. 

When I got a little closer, I realized he was actually talking to the team about the meaning of Easter and Jesus's resurrection from the grave. I walked away with a smile on my face, impressed with how easily he was able to teach about life through the platform of athletics.

Nick is man of faith in Jesus first. He loves God and He loves God's people. But he also loves to win.

In his nine years as head coach, Harlan never finished lower than fourth in the conference. His teams competed in the MCAC tourney every year and won it twice (2010 and 2013). They also claimed the regular season title twice (2010 and 2011). 
His teams competed in five NAIA regional tournaments and advanced to the NAIA College World Series in 2013 by winning the Judson, Illinois bracket, sweeping the field in three straight games. 
His overall record stands at an outstanding 325-170. That’s a .657 winning percentage, averaging 36 wins a year.
Career batting average for the team during his time was a .327. He often boasted teams that featured players leading many categories in the NAIA. This past season, his World Series team posted a personal best earned run average of 2.63, which helped lead the squad to York College's highest ranking ever in the NAIA—#8 in the nation.  The numbers are impressive but more impressive—and more important—are the lives that he has helped to change along the way, as his players can attest.

"It was an honor and privilege to play for Coach Harlan. He was by far the most passionate coach I have been around. He is very selfless and always tried to do what was best for the team, the school, and God. I just want to thank him for helping me become the man and father I am today.” 
-Robert Enriquez

"Coach Harlan impressed upon us the importance of being men of character on and off the field. He taught me to be a man of integrity more than he taught me how to steal a base. He showed me how to push myself to my mental and physical limits. He taught me more about commitment than any other person. Coach Harlan was not just a baseball coach, but a life coach in my eyes."
-John Richards, (NAIA All-American 2008)

"Coach Harlan was a role model to all of his players…He always said no matter what time of day, if you needed someone to talk to, just call him and he would answer…We always talked about our core values—love, respect, work ethic, attitude, integrity, and code blue lockdown—and that’s made our team stronger and closer. We are all sad that he is leaving, but we will continue the tradition and we won’t let him down."
-Aaron Conyers (Honorable Mention All-American 2013)

"Coach Harlan treated his players like family, and that helped his teams reach their potential. He is the kind of coach that players would do anything for, and in return he would do anything for his players. Coach Harlan not only coached the game of baseball, but he also taught me about life. I was honored and blessed to play under Coach Harlan during his time at YC, and know his hard work and core values will help him succeed anywhere he goes."
-Bruce Amende, (NAIA All-American 2010)

"Coach Harlan isn't just one of those coaches you interact with at the ballpark. He's a part of his players’ off the field. He's more than just a coach. He's a mentor and a friend. There's a reason the program has had so much success since he took over. The values he has instilled into the program are the same values that he lives by in his personal life. Whenever I think back to Coach Harlan or York Baseball in the future, I'll always think of those values. Love, integrity, respect, attitude, and work-ethic."
-Alec Abend
Coach Harlan was, undoubtedly, a great coach, and I am sorry to see him go. Yet, I’m not worried about the future of York baseball. A large part of his success has been his right hand man, Brian Walth ’02, who has been an assistant coach in the program for more than ten years.

This fall, Coach Walth will take over leadership of the program he has helped build. I am confident he will continue the success that he and Coach Harlan have trained Panther fans to expect.

I want to thank Coach Harlan for the years he has dedicated to the students of York College and wish him well as he moves on to a new adventure.

We’re proud of you. We’ll miss you. God bless you as continue to transform students lives through Christ-centered education and equip students for lifelong service to God, Family and Society...regardless of whether you're here or in Arkansas!

Jared A. Stark
Director of Athletics, York College

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

New Year - New Website - New Blog

Welcome Panther fans! 

We're on the cusp of a new year.  Fall sport athletes are set to arrive on August 14th, so that's men's and women's soccer, volleyball and men's and women's cross country.  I'll be populating this blog initially with information on those specific teams and how they're pre-season is shaping up and what they're individual team goals are.

Also, you'll notice the new york.edu site, along with the new athletics site and this new blog.  It is my hope to again this year give readers a closer look at York College athletics; the ins and outs and the ups and downs. 

Each day Panther athletics seeks to fulfill the mission of York College to transform lives through Christ-centered education and equip students for lifelong service to God, Family and Society. 

AD, Jared Stark (01')