Mishawaka, Ind. - Mike Lightfoot has celebrated signature wins over his career at Bethel College, but even he admits the next one will be something special. Lightfoot is one win away from joining the exclusive 700-win club among college basketball coaches and can reach that milestone on Tuesday when the Pilots host Taylor University at 7:00pm inside the Wiekamp Athletic Center.
"I honestly try not to get caught up in personal achievements,” stated the 27-year skipper. “In the 55 years of Bethel basketball it has always been about putting the team ahead of yourself. It’s been something instilled in me since I was a player here by Coach (Homer) Drew and I try to pass that along to our guys today."
"Winning is great," Lightfoot continued, "but basketball only lasts so long. Soon these young men will enter the real world and it’s my responsibility to help prepare them for that next step.”
Lightfoot enter’s Tuesday night’s contest with a record of 699-260 (73 percent). Not too shabby for a guy who didn't think he would ever coach this long, let alone at his alma mater. Lightfoot is the longest-tenured coach in Bethel history, being at the Mishawaka college since 1987.
“Bethel is simply my mission field,” stated Lightfoot. “It’s where I’m called to be.”
Lightfoot is currently second on the all-time active wins list (NAIA) behind Dan Miles of Oregon Tech (998 wins, 43 seasons).
During his time at Bethel Coach Lightfoot has won 17 Crossroads League titles, Seven National Championships and five National Coach of the Year awards.