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AlumNews: Talon Articles

Coaching experience prepares Eagles for conference season

Friday, December 7, 2007  
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By Stefanie Trent

Students may have noticed a lot of men in suits at Oklahoma Christian University men’s basketball games this year. Five men in dress suits sit at the head of the Eagle’s bench each game. The men are not players, but coaches.

Oklahoma Christian has five men’s basketball coaches this year. They include a head coach, an associate head coach, two assistant coaches and a student coach. They all range in experience and in the length in which they have been part of the program.

Head Coach Dan Hays is in his 25th year at Oklahoma Christian. Hays received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University where he played basketball. He also holds two masters degrees, one from Eastern New Mexico State in physical education and another from Eastern Washington University in athletic administration.

Hays left New Mexico to become the assistant coach at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in 1975. After spending some time there, he coached at Northwestern State University for five years before coming to Oklahoma Christian in 1982.

He not only coaches the men’s basketball team but also teaches in the physical education department.

“I am a professor in the PE department teaching theory of coaching basketball, freshman seminar and fundamentals of basketball,” Hays said.

Helping Hays with coaching duties is Associate Head Coach Curtis Janz. Janz arrived at Oklahoma Christian as a student in 1986. After graduating, he became an assistant coach and has remained for 19 years.

“I always wanted to coach,” Janz said. “I have to be ready for any opportunity, and let things happen as they may. Let God lead you to the right place.”

In addition to coaching, Janz is the Chairman of the physical education department. He is responsible for many different aspects of the department including creating class schedules.

“I have it easy because of the people who teach in our department. The people have been around for a long time and do a good job,” Janz said.

The Oklahoma Christian men’s basketball team also has two assistant coaches. Terril Hankins and Ralph Nigro are both fairly new to the program. Nigro is in his first year and Hankins is in his third year.

Hankins also coaches and teaches at Oklahoma Christian Academy. Nigro works at Edmond North High School.

Along with the assistant coaches is student coach, Marcus Smith. Smith has been part of the program for four years starting out as a program assistant in hopes to work his way up.

“I am basically like an intern or manager,” Smith said. “I work with program assistants with getting water, towels and things like that ready for the team before games and practice. I pretty much do whatever coach Hays tells me to do.”

Smith will graduate in April and plans on going into coaching.

“I will use my experience with Oklahoma Christian wherever I go,” Smith said.
With conference play just under way, the five coaches have a long road ahead, hopefully leading to a bid for the national tournament.

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