Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a sports nut. As the chancellor of Liberty University, you can often find me at a baseball or football game, wrestling tournament or women’s soccer match. If we had a checkers team, I’d no doubt regularly attend their games.
Through the years, Liberty has turned out some great athletes, a few of whom have gone on to high-profile professional careers: Sid Bream, Lee Guetterman, Randy Tomlin (presently Liberty’s pitching coach) in Major League Baseball, Kelvin Edwards, Fred Banks, Eric Green and James McKnight in the National Football League, and Katie Feenstra, presently with the WNBA’s San Antonio Silver Stars.
So it was this week that I was excited to learn of a major athletic accomplishment by one of our Liberty University teams.
The Lady Flames basketball team, over the last five seasons (2001-02 through 2005-06), ranks in the top ten nationally in winning percentage at .796. Further, the team is tied for 11th nationally in total number of wins (125) over this period. (See the charts below.)
Lady Flames head coach Carey Green is the quintessential Liberty representative: He’s an excellent teacher and respected leader while also a dynamic Christian who serves as a great example to his players.
Carey was heavily recruited by other colleges awhile back but he chose to stay at Liberty because of the Christian environment we retain and the influence he can have on his players.
The Lady Flames have become the highest profile team on campus and earlier this season knocked off in-state rival the University of Virginia, 75-71.
Some people may say: Jerry, you shouldn’t get so excited about sports when there are so many problems in this world.
To that, I say: The young people on our Liberty athletic teams are accomplishing things that other Christians cannot do. After our games, players gather on the courts or fields of play and pray with their opponents (win or lose). In many cases, they form friendships with these players and are able to tell them what Christ has done in their lives.
Long ago, I dreamed of establishing a university that would be academically excellent, athletically competitive at the highest level and spiritually cutting edge. We have that today, and our sports programs are a huge part of that tradition, providing unparalleled ministry opportunities for our players, our coaches and even our fans.
Of course, winning is a big key to this outreach, and Coach Carey Green and his fellow Liberty coaches are paving the way for our students to achieve their athletic dreams and to passionately live out their faith in Jesus Christ.
Top 10 Division I teams (2001-02 through 2005-06) ranked by winning percentage:
1. UConn .901
2. Duke .893
3. Tennessee .865
4. Stanford .847
5. Chattanooga .839
6T. Louisiana Tech .834
6T. North Carolina .834
8. LSU .818
9. Wisconsin-Green Bay .806
10. Liberty .796
The top 13 programs, ranked by total wins:
1. UConn 164
2. Duke 158
3. Tennessee 154
4. Stanford 144
5. North Carolina 141
6. LSU 139
7. Baylor 136
8. Louisiana Tech 131
9. Chattanooga 130
10. Kansas State 128
11T. Liberty 125
11T. Purdue 125
11T. Wisconsin-Green Bay 125