In Fall of 1995, Brent Baldwin, our athletic director and men's basketball coach at the time, forged ahead with plans to host a high school basketball tournament at Southwestern Adventist University. The following January of 1996, six high schools participated in the inaugural Hoops Classic. Nineteen years after our academies from Kansas, Midland and Enterprise, hoisted championship hardware, we celebrate the 20th Annual Hoops Classic.
I am certain that memories of hardwood lore abound. Kodak moments replay in my mind's attic, such as last-second buzzer beaters, coast-to-coast field goals, taking down the "goliaths," overtime thrillers, scoring 100 points in two games, heartbreaks one year that turned into sweet redemption the following—you name it, we have been witnesses to many a special thing. Speaking of special, how can we not be reminded of Burton Academy's true act of sportsmanship? Even as the scoreboard flashed victory, Burton threw the challenge flag on themselves and added additional time on the clock. The Blue Angels eventually lost the game, giving Central Vermont the right to play for the "ship." Oh, the stories of gloried past.
Kudos to our back to back men's and ladies' champions – Mustangs, Panthers, Sentinels, Stars, Tigers, Warriors, et al and our three-peat champion – Lady Cougars. Special thanks to the Blazers and Sky Hawks for your commitment and loyalty; you've been there since the first "jump ball" in '96. I am most grateful for former players and our esteemed SWAU alumni who have returned as coaches and sponsors. It's great to see you giving back. Life, indeed, has a way of coming back full circle.
It is a privilege to welcome you to Southwestern Adventist University and Hoops Classic 2015. May defeat not define you. May victory not consume you. May God's face shine through you. And may the experience of the 20th fully enrich you. It's game time!
Vice President for Student Services