Bethel College athletic director and men's basketball head coach Tony Hoops will resign from his coaching duties following the completion of this current season, which ends at 7 p.m. today at home against McPherson.
Hoops will focus solely on his responsibilities as the head of Thresher Athletics.
Hoops named current assistant coach Jayson Artaz as the next head coach of the men's basketball team. Both of these transitions come into full-effect on June 1st.
Tony Hoops joined the athletic department as head men's basketball coach prior to the 2014-15 season. He and his staff of Jayson Artaz and Jake Meyer have been together for the four years since, and have been able to guide the program in a new direction.
The 40 total wins they have amassed thus far in this four-year stint were more than the program's seven previous seasons combined (33 total wins from 2007-08 through 2013-14).
Hoops assumed the role of athletic director last May, after the resignation of Kent Allshouse.
"This decision is one of sorrow and also great joy," Hoops said. "Bethel basketball is something I am extremely passionate about and have dedicated my livelihood to over the past 4 years. However, to better serve our athletic department as AD and also spend more time with my family, it's become very clear over this past season that I must step away [from basketball]. I cannot do two full-time jobs effectively without taking away from our basketball program and our athletic department."
The athletic department has seen numerous changes and areas of growth during Hoops' short tenure as athletic director. A revitalized booster club, completions of both the gymnasium bleacher project and upgraded tennis facility, as well as the hirings of six new head coaches are all a few highlights of what has been done, and indicators of what can be expected for the future of Thresher athletics.
"Tony has balanced the AD role with that of head men's basketball coach for the last few months,” said Dr. Jon Gering, president of Bethel College. "He has worked tirelessly providing leadership to our athletic department as well as to the men's basketball team. Tony's enthusiasm and commitment to helping Bethel thrive — athletics specifically, and the college more broadly — will serve us well in his new, focused position."
"I cannot thank Interim President John Sheriff and President Jon Gering for their support throughout this difficult process for me," Hoops said. "Their full support of my decision is greatly appreciated and shows their commitment to continuing the positive direction of our entire athletic department."
With the announcement comes the opportunity for Hoops' seventh head-coaching hire. Jayson Artaz, current assistant coach on Hoops' staff as previously mentioned, has agreed to take over and become the 32nd head coach of the Bethel men's basketball program, dating back to 1915.
"I would not have made this decision if I did not feel that our program is in great hands going forward,” Hoops said. “Coach Artaz is more than ready to be a very successful coach and I look forward to having a role within this program yet because of my love for it, just in a different manner going forward."
Artaz joined Hoops' coaching staff for the 2014-15 season, after having a successful career at Bethel as a player with the men's basketball program. Artaz was a Second-Team All-KCAC player, and still holds the program's seasonal three-point record after he dropped 96 total during the 2004-05 season. He was also part of the 2002-03 KCAC championship squad, the only time the Threshers also played in the NAIA national tournament.
"The men's basketball team will be in strong hands as Jayson Artaz, current assistant coach, assumes the head coaching position," Gering said. "Jayson's four-year experience with the team should aid a smooth transition for the current players and recruits. Jayson displays enthusiasm, and understanding of the college, and a commitment to the lives of our students."
"I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dr. Gering and Tony for the chance to take over this basketball program that has shown great growth over the last four years," Artaz said. "I am very excited for what the future holds for this program and feel very fortunate to be trusted to lead it."
Artaz coached basketball at several levels before joining the Bethel staff, most recently at Valley Center High School as an assistant. He has a degree in elementary education and is an award-winning math teacher at Valley Center Middle School.
"We will keep and bring in quality people who will make Bethel College proud," Artaz said. "Our players will give us the chance to be successful on the court and we will not settle for anything less than our best on the floor, in the classroom, and in the community."
"The business of coaching is a people business,” Hoops said. “I could not be more grateful for Coach Artaz, and Coach Meyer. They have been unbelievably loyal and dedicated to improving this program since we took over at its lowest point. I appreciate all of the players that invested so much, and also all of the community members that have supported us. Coaching at Bethel has been a dream job, extremely humbling that I thank God for everyday. I walk away Saturday knowing that our program is in a better place and I look forward to watching it thrive in the future."