Abilene Christian University’s Julie Goodenough Recognized with Kay Yow Heart of a Coach Award and Presbyterian College’s Gregg Nibert Honored with John Lotz ‘Barnabas’ Award for Leadership On and Off the Court
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—This past weekend, during the most exciting time in college basketball, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes honored two outstanding basketball coaches with awards named after close friends of FCA to recognize them for their leadership, dedication and commitment both on and off the court.
Yesterday morning during the FCA/Kay Yow Heart of a Coach Breakfast at the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association convention in Dallas, Julie Goodenough, head coach at Abilene Christian University, was honored with the 2017 Kay Yow Heart of a Coach Award.
Named for the late North Carolina State coaching icon Kay Yow, the award is presented annually by FCA to honor a basketball coach who has exemplified biblical principles over the course of his or her career. Kay Yow, who passed away from breast cancer in 2009, was presented with the inaugural award at the 2008 Women’s Final Four in Tampa.
On Friday evening, the 2017 John Lotz “Barnabas” Award was presented to Gregg Nibert, 28-year head coach at Presbyterian College, at the FCA Coaches Dinner at the National Association of Basketball Coaches convention during Final Four weekend in Phoenix.
This award is presented annually to honor a basketball coach who best exhibits a commitment to Christ, integrity and encouragement to others, and lives a balanced life. Nibert is the 15th recipient of the “Barnabas” Award, named for former North Carolina assistant and Florida head coach John Lotz.
“All of us at the Fellowship of Christian Athletes are honored to recognize these two excellent coaches at the height of excitement in the college basketball season,” said Shane Williamson, FCA President and CEO. “Julie Goodenough and Gregg Nibert have exemplified integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence on and off the court, guiding their players both in the game and in life—in matters that are much more eternal than the game they love.”
Kay Yow honoree Julie Goodenough is a veteran coach with more than 20 years of experience at all three major collegiate levels and recently completed a successful fifth season leading the Abilene Christian University’s (ACU) women’s basketball program.
The 2016-17 Wildcats won their second consecutive Southland Conference Championship with a record of 16-2 (.889), followed by a first-round victory in the WNIT Postseason Tournament vs. Oklahoma State. ACU would lose its second-round game at SMU, but left the court at Moody Coliseum with heads held high as the Wildcats battled back from a 26-point deficit to finish with an overall record of 23-9.
In winning back-to-back conference titles, Goodenough became the first ACU women’s basketball head coach to lead her team to consecutive regular-season crowns since Wayne Williams between 1998 and 1999. Williams won 96 games on the Wildcats’ bench, and in February of this year Goodenough surpassed his win total after ACU defeated Sam Houston State, 78-56.
ACU is 105-44 (.705) overall under Goodenough’s leadership and 84-37 (.694) in its four seasons as a Division I program. Her first Wildcat team shared the Lone Star Conference regular-season title with Midwestern State at 16-4 and finished with an overall mark of 21-7—the program’s first 20-win season since 2004-05. Since then, she has led the Wildcats to two additional 20-win seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Three of Goodenough’s players were also named to an All-Southland Conference team this spring.
Recently retired Nevada head coach and fellow FCA Kay Yow recipient Jane Albright told Goodenough about the honor.
“I was left speechless when she told me I had won because of the huge amount of respect I have for the past recipients,” Goodenough told KTXS. “There was an incredible pool of candidates, so in a way I feel overwhelmed by the amount of appreciation shown to me by my colleagues, friends and former players through this nomination. This is an impressive group I’m now part of, and it’s a privilege to be included.”
In 2016, Goodenough was named the Southland Conference Coach of the Year, and also received Coach of the Year honors from The Rotary Club of Abilene and the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. Her teams have produced an overall win total that is the fourth largest in program history, trailing only a pair of 31-win seasons in 1980-81 and 1995-96, and a 27-win team from 1987-88.
A 1991 graduate of Texas-Arlington, Goodenough was the head coach at Hardin-Simmons University (HSU) from 1993-2002 before going to Oklahoma State for three seasons. She was then the head coach at Charleston Southern from 2006-12. She is 394-264 (.599) in 23 years of collegiate coaching.
Goodenough was inducted into the HSU Sports Hall of Fame in 2007 after leaving as the winningest coach in school history. Her last four HSU teams advanced to at least the NCAA Division III Sweet 16, and she also coached the Cowgirls to the NAIA national tournament in her first two seasons.
Goodenough and her husband, Rob, have two daughters, Bailey and Macy, both students at ACU. The family is active at Pioneer Drive Baptist Church and Big Country FCA. With the Wildcats, Goodenough has also developed a partnership with Disability Resources, a ministry that provides a home for mentally and physically disabled adults. Read Goodenough’s bio on the ACU website here.
John Lotz award winner Gregg Nibert recently completed his 28th year in charge of the Presbyterian College (PC) men’s basketball team. The winningest coach in the program’s history, Nibert has led the Blue Hose to more than 400 wins and compiled six 20-win seasons. His Blue Hose teams finished in the top four in the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) regular season standings 14 times, winning the SAC Championship twice and the Food Lion SAC Tournament title once. He was also named the SAC Coach of the Year twice, in 1993 and 1997.
Nibert is the first men’s basketball coach in Presbyterian College history to reach the 300-win plateau, an honor he reached during the 2005-06 season after becoming the first to accomplish 200 wins at PC in the 2000-01 season. Nibert is also the only coach in the history of PC basketball to lead the school to two different postseason tournaments, guiding the Blue Hose to the NAIA National Tournament in 1993 and the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament in 1996, 1997, 2003 and 2006. He is also the only coach in the history of the SAC to coach a squad to the Sweet 16 of the Division II Tournament. Even more impressive, Nibert has seen 51 out of his 51 seniors graduate from Presbyterian during his tenure.
A 1979 graduate of Marietta College in Ohio, Nibert began his coaching career at Rice University, where he served as an assistant coach under Mike Schuler, who would later earn NBA Coach of the Year honors with the Portland Trailblazers. In 1981, Nibert moved with fellow Owl aide Butch Estes to Clinton, S.C., when Estes accepted Presbyterian’s head coaching job. The Blue Hose would record a 57-35 ledger over the next three seasons, including a pair of 20-win campaigns.
Nibert then moved to Furman University as a part-time assistant coach under Paladin mentor Gene Davis. One year later, Estes took Davis’ spot at the helm of Furman’s program and Nibert was shifted to the full-time assistant’s post, a slot he would man until being named Presbyterian’s 17th head basketball coach on April 26, 1989.
While a student-athlete at Marietta, Nibert, a native of Grove City, Ohio, earned Most Improved Player honors during his junior season and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player following his senior campaign.
Coach Nibert is a frequent speaker at the Presbyterian College FCA Huddle, as well as a guest speaker at the local high school. He is also involved in FCA fundraisers and community ministry events, and also attends the FCA Coaches Huddle at Presbyterian College and the Laurens County FCA Adult Huddle. Part of his FCA legacy is evident through his sons, Shaun and Van, who both served in leadership as the president of Presbyterian College’s FCA Huddle.
Over the years, Nibert and his wife, Peggy, have provided foster care to 44 children. View an NCAA video featuring Nibert here and read his bio here.
Past winners of the FCA Kay Yow Heart of a Coach Award include:
- 2008: Kay Yow, North Carolina State
- 2009: Jane Albright, Nevada
- 2010: Nancy Wilson, College of Charleston
- 2011: Sue Ramsey, Ashland
- 2012: Deb Patterson, Kansas State
- 2013: Sue Semrau, Florida State
- 2014: Kristy Curry, Alabama
- 2015: Matt Bollant, Illinois
- 2016: Kirk Martin, Cedarville
Since its launch by FCA in 2003, the “Barnabas” Award has honored the following:
- 2003: Homer Drew, Valparaiso
- 2004: John Wooden, UCLA
- 2005: Dale Clayton, Carson-Newman
- 2006: Steve Alford, Iowa
- 2007: Dale Layer, Colorado State
- 2008: Willis Wilson, Rice
- 2009: Ritchie McKay, Virginia
- 2010: Gary Waters, Cleveland State
- 2011: Billy Kennedy, Texas A&M
- 2012: Don Meyer, Northern State
- 2013: Tom Crean, Indiana
- 2014: Bob Hoffman, Mercer
- 2015: Jayson Gee, Longwood University
- 2016: Ed Schilling, UCLA