PLNU News

22
Jan

Story by Tyler Wehr

Often, coaches move from college program to college program quite frequently. Some coaches leave because they see greener pastures somewhere else; some coaches leave because of the chance to build something different and new; finally, other coaches are given no option but to leave because of the nature of collegiate sports and its need for immediate success. But, as with most rules, there is an exception. This is where we find Point Loma Nazarene University women's head basketball coach Bill Westphal. He has spent the last 17 years building one of the most successful programs in Point Loma's history, amassing an incredible record of 350-176, and making the playoffs in each season. 

As with all good things, however, they must come to an end at some point. Westphal has announced, prior to the 2015-2016 year, this will be his final season at the helm of the PLNU women's basketball program. This marks a significant conclusion to a portion of Westphal's life that has been immersed in the world of basketball since his early childhood days, but he appears ready to let the game go.

"Golf, God, and Grandkids," he says in his typical easy-going manner when asked what he is going to do when he retires. "Although, probably not in that order," he adds quickly with a wink.

There will be a Recognition Night for CoachBill Westphal prior to the Sea Lions' game on Wednesday, Feb. 3. The game will tipoff at 7:00 p.m., and coach Westphal will be honored prior to the contest. 

Bill Westphal began his basketball career at Aviation High in Redondo Beach, California. He was recruited to play his collegiate years at the University of Southern California (USC), and went on to tour the country with the original Athletes in Action basketball team. From there, Westphal decided to do what he had wanted to do since high school, and got into the world of coaching.

"It was really my high school basketball coach that got me to have the desire to coach," Westphal explained. I was a teacher's assistant for him my senior year of high school, and I asked him a ton of questions about basketball and coaching. He told me to get a Physical Education degree and then I could be a teacher and a coach just like he was, so that's what I did when I was at USC." After the Athletes in Action stint, he accepted his first job as a high school teacher and coach.

Westphal then went on to coach at the college level and the professional level, with his most successful seasons coming at the helm of the Grand Canyon University men's basketball team. He led the Lopes to a two-year mark of 55-15 and a birth in the NAIA National Championship game both seasons. Those teams were also ranked No. 1 in the NAIA polls for multiple weeks during his tenure.

After years of coaching at all different levels, and running one of the most successful basketball camps in the state of Arizona, the Westphal Brothers Basketball Camp, which he ran with his brother Paul, Westphal decided to make the move out to a small college in San Diego named Point Loma. 

He accepted the job of men's associate head coach in 1999, but then later went on to take over the women's program in 2000, where he has spent the last 16 years. He has made the playoffs in each one of his years at the helm of the women's basketball team, even doing so in the few years of the probationary period when PLNU was moving from the NAIA to the NCAA.

Westphal, though, is a reflective man. He does not dwell on his accomplishments nor does he share them often. He says he has learned many things over his incredible career, most of which having to do more with life and less with basketball. When asked what the three most important lessons he has learned as a coach over the years were, he did not rush to an answer, but instead took a moment to think.

"The first thing I would have to say I have learned is that it is always about more than winning," Westphal explained. "Win/loss records are nearly always forgotten, but relationships that are built throughout the season are lasting. The relationships I build with my players, the relationships they build between one another, and the relationship the team and the individual players build with Lord are always the most important things."

"A lot of my players come back to visit me from time to time and it is so exciting for me to hear about what they are doing now, where they are living, and their new families," he says with a smile. "I always love to see them interacting with their children; that is what matters."

He does not rush to the second lesson, but instead lingers on the lessons of the first. Eventually he begins to describe a journey he has been on for his entire career, but especially at PLNU. "I have spent my years coaching trying to discover what it means to be a Grace Based Coach. Every year, I discover a little bit more about what this looks like and how it should be implanted in his life. Now, I can't give you an exact definition of what a Grace Based Coach is because I am still discovering the answer to that myself, but I can tell what it is not. It is not being legalistic or dictatorial," he smiles as he says this. "A lot of the girls think I am too easy on them or don't push them as hard as I should, but I just tell them 'Well, you should have seen me 20 years ago. You would have hated me.' I used to think fear was the greatest motivator, but over time I have realized that is not the case at all. Love is the greatest motivator."

Madison West, a junior guard on the PLNU women's basketball team, affirmed this. "Coach Westphal always tells us to live loved. For the last two seasons, he has always emphasized this. Often, during the season in the middle of the heat of league, he reminds us basketball is just a small portion of life; it is something he has realized over the years and thus emphasizes it with us. It all stems from a verse in 1 John 4:16 that he wants to live by, and challenges us to live by. The verse talks about how God is love, and whoever lives in love, lives in God. So in everything we do, we should abide in God, therefore living loved."

Finally, Westphal arrives at the last of the three lessons. Fittingly, it is a quote from one of the most successful basketball coaches of all time, John Wooden. "Your players are good enough if you are capable of showing them how," Westphal says as if recalling a good friend. "Last year, our team started out 1-6 amidst great expectations. I tried different line-ups, different strategies, whatever. None of it seemed to be working over those seven games. But I would sit in my office and tell myself my players are good enough as long as I can show them how. I didn't blame them or point out all of their mistakes, I just constantly worked to figure out how to show the team they were good enough."

He constantly tinkered with the line-up until finally he found a formula that seemed to be working and eventually received at an at-large big to NCAA Regional, where the Sea Lions upset the No. 1 team in the nation, Alaska Anchorage, on their home floor, 64-63.Your players are good enough if you are capable of showing them how.

Westphal appears ready to let go of the game that has shaped him, and allowed him to shape so many others over the last 45 years. With a few more games before the end of the season, he is going to give his team everything he has before he says goodbye for one final time.

But, regardless of the outcome of the season, it has never been wins and losses that have defined a successful season for Westphal. That, as Westphal says, is always forgotten.

What will not be forgotten is the impact Westphal has had on PLNU's campus and with his players. "Live loved," Madison West says. That, above everything else, is the legacy Westphal will leave once he retires.

Live loved. 

Athletics
14
Jan

County of San Diego documentary highlights months of work by Adey and PLNU students to complete project

Last year PLNU’s Art and Design faculty, David Adey got a surprise invitation from the County of San Diego to create a new landmark public art piece. 

As part of the final phase of construction for County’s Waterfront Park project, a new parking structure for employees at the nearby County Administration and the public was set to break ground in 2015. Without his knowledge, Adey was unanimously selected to create an art piece to adorn the concrete structure. Says Adey, “I guess you could say it sort of fell into my lap!” With commission in hand, Adey was tasked to come up with a vision for what would become his first-ever piece of public art. 

In March 2015 the work began with a celebratory kick off. Adey was joined by student volunteers from PLNU, members of the County Board of Supervisors and PLNU’s President Bob Brower Ph.D. to begin collecting individual tire treads to create the piece. “We collected about 800 tiles that first day, but would end up needing around 3,500, so we had a long way to go!” recalled Adey. 

Each individual impression collected would be fired, glazed and fired again for the very labor intensive piece. The County News Center followed Adey and his students throughout the process as more tiles were created, arranged, and finally glued together over the summer at Adey’s studio on campus. After a tense transport, the wall-mounted sculpture, titled “Inspiration Expiration,” went up on the building days before the October 30th dedication.

When asked about the meaning behind the piece, “The tire tread references the individual,” explains Adey. “There’s a diversity element to the piece, since each is a unique color and literally no two are alike, but there’s also this idea of the commute, that all of us get into our cars and go to this place of work and then go home and then get up and do it all over again. The daily commute is something that unites us but also shows our individuality.”

For more information on Adey’s project, check out the full documentary on the County News Center

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU
17
Dec

We just received word that the PLNU Debate squad is the number one ranked team in the country based on the NPDA year long national rankings as of the last official ranking by NPDA (through the Fall Semester) Here is the link to the NPDA home page http://parlidebate.org/execsec/results10.php If the link does not work just google NPDA Rankings.

NPTE, the other major national debate organization, ranks the top senior level individual two-person teams competing across the country. As of yesterday's rankings, PLNU had two of the top 8 two-person teams in the country. Brandon West and Caleb Moore are ranked third and Josh Gilbert and Thomas Routson are ranked 8th in the nation.

There is still plenty of time left as we compete through the spring as well, but it is a nice neighborhood in which to enjoy the Christmas break. ☺ Thanks for your support of the team and our students, in classes, administratively, financially, and through prayer support and alumni coaching, etc. . . We realize and appreciate that this is an entire team effort.

We are always looking for promising recruits from your classes or friends and family. Josh graduates this week and Brandon graduates in the Spring, as will other top team members, so there is room for promising new recruits. Thanks for spreading the word. We hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

By the way, if you want to see what forensics is all about, our team will help host a Christian home school speech and debate tournament the week prior to classes starting in January, Thursday Jan 7 through Saturday January 9th. The public is welcome to enjoy hearing these talented 12-18 year old students. Saturday will be the elimination rounds. They look to community volunteers to help judge as well, so feel free to drop in and experience the judge training as well if you wish.

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Communications & Theatre
17
Dec

We just received word that the PLNU Debate squad is the number one ranked team in the country based on the NPDA year long national rankings as of the last official ranking by NPDA (through the Fall Semester)  Here is the link to the NPDA home page   http://parlidebate.org/execsec/results10.php  If the link does not work just google NPDA Rankings.  

 

NPTE, the other major national debate organization, ranks the top senior level individual two-person teams competing across the country.  As of yesterday's rankings, PLNU had two of the top 8 two-person teams in the country. Brandon West and Caleb Moore are ranked third and Josh Gilbert and Thomas Routson are ranked 8th in the nation.

 

There is still plenty of time left as we compete through the spring as well, but it is a nice neighborhood in which to enjoy the Christmas break. ☺ Thanks for your support of the team and our students, in classes, administratively, financially, and through prayer support and alumni coaching, etc. . .  We realize and appreciate that this is an entire team effort.

 

We are always looking for promising recruits from your classes or friends and family.  Josh graduates this week and Brandon graduates in the Spring, as will other top team members, so there is room for promising new recruits.  Thanks for spreading the word.  We hope you have a wonderful Christmas.

 

By the way, if you want to see what forensics is all about, our team will help host a Christian home school speech and debate tournament the week prior to classes starting in January, Thursday Jan 7 through Saturday January 9th. The public is welcome to enjoy hearing these talented 12-18 year old students.  Saturday will be the elimination rounds.  They look to community volunteers to help judge as well, so feel free to drop in and experience the judge training as well if you wish.

 

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Forensics
10
Dec

To view the executive summary of SDMAC San Diego's Shipbuilding and Repair Ecosystem, go here

Fermanian Business & Economic Institute
01
Dec

To view the report SDHC: Its Housing Footprint, Community Role, and Economic Impact on San Diego, go here.

Fermanian Business & Economic Institute