With this victory, top-seeded Emmanuel will go on to Face second-seeded Southwestern Christian University for the NCCAA National Championship. Southwestern defeated Trinity International (Ill.) 77-72 to claim their spot in the finals.
The NCCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship game is set for 5 p.m. EDT on Saturday at Manahan Orthopedic Capital Center in Winona Lake, IN. The match can be purchased for view by following this link.
[Editor's Comment: Emmanuel College and Southwestern Christian University have two of the finest head basketball coaches in the nation.
For Emmanuel: T. J. Rosene sees his coaching at Emmanuel College as a calling and not a career. He has had many offers to advance in his career field and move up the ladder of success by coaching at larger colleges and universities. However, he believes God sent him to Emmanuel College for a purpose and he strongly believes God has called him to Emmanuel College for a time such as this.
Then, we have Coach Dave Bliss who is well-known in collegiate basketball. Bliss is known for his rule breaking and issues off the court, something that overshadows his success on the court in four different schools. He once coached the men's basketball team at the University of Oklahoma. Many have asked was the leadership of Southwestern Christian University taking a risk in hiring Coach Dave Bliss.
"There's a risk with anyone you take," SCU's Athletic Director Mark Arthur said. "I honestly feel Dave has received the grace of God. He knows he's made mistakes, he's admitted to those mistakes, and we are willing to take the chance with him."
"Grace. That's what this all about. If Bliss was ever to return to college coaching, it makes sense it's at a Christian university willing to give grace to understand his past behavior was and is unacceptable. This hire is less about basketball and more about forgiving past mistakes and setting an example for others to do the same . . ." (By Luke McConnell--News9, and quoted from the Winter 2016 Soar Magazine, Southwestern Christian University, page 6, Dr. Bongi Wenyika, Editor.)
Some have asked me which team will I be pulling for since I am the third president of Southwestern Christian University. I am also an alumnus of Emmanuel College. I have a strong allegiance to both institutions. I give of my financial resources to both schools. I promote both schools in Hugh's News. Either way I will win if Emmanuel College wins, or if Southwestern Christian University wins. I pray that both teams will give their best and that the coaches will lead their respective teams in giving their best performance. May the best team win.
I have fond memories of attending all the home basketball games with Melvine, Greg, and Stephanie when I was president of Southwestern College when it was located on NW. 10th Street in Oklahoma City, right across the street from Muse Memorial Church were my family and I attended. Once when Emmanuel came from Franklin Springs to play Southwestern College, the sons of Bishop J. Floyd Williams and Dr. Vinson Synan came up to me before the game and stood shoulder to shoulder with their hands on their hips and their chests raised upward. Jonathan Williams and Vinson Synan, Jr. spoke with strong voices, "Dr. Morgan, we are here to tell you that we are pulling for Emmanuel College to beat Southwestern College tonight. Emmanuel is our team!" I smiled, and reached down and grabbed both boys in my arms and held them close to my chest. I kissed each one on his cheek which they quickly wiped away. I told them, "I am so very proud of you boys. Both of you were born in Franklin Springs where Emmanuel College is located. If your weren't for your home team I would be disappointed and I would spank your bottom." Of course, I would never touch them. I let them down. Sure enough those boys predicted well. We lost to Emmanuel College in a close game. However, our team traveled to Franklin Springs later in the season and Southwestern beat Emmanuel College on their court in the old gymtorium.
In closing, let me share that Pete Beacham and Freeman Mashburn never missed a game, and even traveled to see our team play other colleges in our conference. Pete Beacham is the father of Presiding Beacham A. D. Beacham, Jr. and Freeman is the father of attorney John Mashburn, the attorney for Southwestern Christian University.
Earlier in the week, I received an email from Wallace Hamilton, Vice President of Fiscal Affairs at SCU. He wrote, "Good Afternoon, Dr. Hugh:
Thought you might like a report on SCU's efforts in the regional tournament. Wouldn't it be fantastic if SCU and EC were to meet in the national tournament?
P.S. Praying for the best possible outcome regarding your scheduled heart procedure. Lavenia and I think of you and your family often and have fond memories of your time at SCU and Muse Memorial."
What wonderful memories we have of living in Oklahoma City. What an honor and joy it was to serve as president of Southwestern College and to meet to many wonderful people in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Colorado, California, Arizona, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. What I have learned in my life of over 83 years is that friendships and family relationships bring meaning to my life and that is what is important to me as a man. And I am grateful for every acquaintance and friend I have been able to make.
I bless both Emmanuel College and Southwestern Christian University and their respective presidents: Dr. Ron White and Dr. Reggies Wenyika, their administrative staff, professors, other employees, student body and Board of Trustees and/or Board of Regents.