Bethel Honors Coach Mike Lightfoot

On Saturday, Feb. 4, Bethel College will celebrate the 30-year legacy of Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Lightfoot.

Lightfoot will lead the No. 4 ranked Pilots against arch-rival Grace College at 3 p.m. A pre-game ceremony to honor Lightfoot will feature Bethel administrators and other special guests, and will take place approximately 15 minutes before tip-off. Following the game will be a special dinner with current and former teammates, assistant coaches and their families.

"What our men's basketball program has accomplished under Mike's leadership has been extraordinary," stated Bethel College Athletic Director Tom Visker. "His influence goes well beyond winning conference and national titles. Mike has been deeply committed to using the game of basketball to teach young men how to become great leaders, citizens, and followers of Jesus Christ. That is where he has made his most lasting impact.  We are very grateful to Mike and his wife, Jacci, for making Bethel College basketball what it is today."

Lightfoot was hired in 1987 as Bethel's eighth men's basketball coach in program history following his mentor Homer Drew. Fast forward 30 years and Lightfoot truly made the most of his time in Mishawaka. His 785 wins is sixth-most among NAIA coaches and the highest among active coaches.

Lightfoot is the quickest collegiate coach at any level to 300, 500 and 600 career wins. He accomplished those feats in 10, 18 and 22 seasons, respectively. He is also tied for the quickest to 100 and 200 career wins, accomplishing those in 4 and 8 seasons, respectively. Only the former University of Kentucky head coach Adolph Rupp won 400 games quicker than Coach Lightfoot (477 games to 488).

In all, he has recorded 28 winning seasons, including 10 seasons with 30-wins and 26 seasons with 20-wins. He has also coached 32 NAIA All-Americans and 101 All-Crossroads League players since taking the helm of the program.

Lightfoot has coached the Pilots to 36 all-time No. 1 rankings, the most in NAIA history, and holds the second-longest streak of being ranked in history, a streak of 76 consecutive polls from 1992-2000.

His career is nothing short of extraordinary:  Seven National Championships (3 NAIA, 4 NCCAA), five National Coach of the Year awards, 14 tournament appearances, 18 Crossroads League championships, 13 Sweet Sixteens, seven Elite Eights and five Final Fours.

The Bethel College men’s basketball team is currently 23-3 overall and 12-1 in the Crossroads League: good for a two-game lead for first place. Bethel has yet to lose a game since Lightfoot announced his retirement on Jan. 5.

Watch Lightfoot share about what he’s learned in his years of coaching on this Harvest Show interview from Jan. 31.