Bruins seek athletes to fit BJU

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Bruins seek athletes to fit BJU

Hannah Guerrant signs with BJU Bruins women's soccer in 2019. Photo: Derek Eckenroth

BJU coaches work diligently all year to recruit prospective student-athletes for the University’s intercollegiate sports and 12 varsity sports teams, offering the athletes the chance to strengthen both their physical and spiritual gifts.

Coaches recruit for the men’s baseball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, soccer, cross country, track and golf.

Jonny Gamet, the sports information director for BJU, said the recruitment process for the athletic department is similar to the admission department for the University. As coaches assess their Bruins teams and begin building a strategy for the new season, they look for student-athletes who are not only a good fit for building the best team, but who are also a good fit for BJU.

Student-athletes still in high school often actively reach out to colleges they are interested in through the college’s sports website, like BJU’s bjubruins.com. Social media and the internet also provide student-athletes with new platforms and websites, like Hudl, on which they can post videos of themselves playing and build profiles that tell coaches who they are from their on-field skills to their religious beliefs.

Caitlyn Benson, supported by her parents, signs with the Bruins women’s soccer in 2019. Photo submitted

“We want them to align with who we are as Bob Jones University both in their character and in what they believe from a biblical worldview perspective,” Gamet said. “And we want them to work hard and pursue excellence [so] they can be better athletes when they graduate, as opposed to when they came.”

Coaches who view the student-athletes’ profiles and videos can reach out to student-athletes through email, phone or video call. They can also go watch the athlete play at their school or club. Some student-athletes visit BJU during their choice sport’s season to watch games, get to know the coach and meet the team they may play for.

“They get a feel for the culture [of BJU],” Gamet said. “And they get a feel for how the team is going to operate.”

Gamet said BJU’s coaches look for student-athletes who approach their studies and their sport with a biblical perspective that matches BJU’s values as a university. Coaches also look for student-athletes who are open to being pushed, critiqued and molded into better players and better teammates.

BJU is a provisional member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Division III, which does not allow schools to offer sports-related scholarships, but student-athletes are still eligible for the other scholarships and financial aid BJU has available for all its students.

Student-athletes who join a BJU sports team can expect to be pushed and encouraged to be the best athletes they can be, but also to be the best students they can be. In addition to the health and physical benefits student-athletes gain from the constant exercise, Gamet said student-athletes learn skills that will help them later in the workforce after graduation.

On a broad level, student-athletes learn to work with others, recognizing each other’s strengths and weaknesses and using those to achieve a common goal.

On an individual level, student-athletes learn to push their minds and bodies further than they may have believed possible, a mindset Gamet said can be very beneficial as student-athletes graduate and move forward into workplaces that present new challenges.

“[Students] are going to be challenged in their walk with Christ,” Gamet said. “We want our student-athletes to try their best and do their best in the games, and hopefully the result is a victory but ultimately we want them to leave this place, fulfilling the mission of what Bob Jones University is all about: training serving servant leaders to make an impact for Christ around the world.”