NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – Tony Hoops has resigned as Bethel College’s director of athletics after six years in the role, and nine total years as a member of the Threshers athletic department. He has been named the vice president of athletics at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa.
“It is with great sorrow and deep appreciation to the entire Bethel Community that I announce my resignation,” Hoops stated. “Bethel has transformed my life as a student, athlete, coach, and athletic director. The past nine years of my life at Bethel have been the most fulfilling time of my entire career. Our family has grown up at Bethel and we could not have asked for a better place to call home.”
During Hoops’ tenure as the head of the athletic department, the Threshers achieved more athletic success than seen in many years prior at the institution. This includes numerous Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference championships earned at the team and individual level, highlighted by the three-consecutive KCAC championships by the football team and their NAIA Championship Series appearance in 2021. The men’s basketball team won the KCAC regular and postseason titles in 2020-2021 and have earned bids to the NAIA national tournament each of the past three seasons, making it to the Round of 16 twice. The women’s basketball qualified for the NAIA national tournament for the first time in program history during the 2020-2021 season, and the competitive cheer team has also represented Bethel in their respective national tournament during the 2021 season.
“The unprecedented success we experienced is something I never could have imagined. I was blessed to hire a tremendous staff who bought into me as a young leader for which I am incredibly grateful,” Hoops went on to say. “We all have someone else’s dream job. Our staff embraced this, exhibited by their strong commitment to running excellent programs. As a result, I was able to live out my dream job.”
Hoops’ time as the director of athletics brought with it a revitalization of the athletic department in multiple ways. Multiple facility projects and upgrades were able to take place, including the installation of new turf, a new locker room and suite viewing area at Thresher Stadium, a new track and a video board at Thresher Stadium, new bleachers and scoreboards in Thresher Gym, a new clubhouse with restrooms and fan seating at the Ward Tennis Center, and a new clubhouse, restrooms, scoreboard, concessions stand, and press box at Wedel Softball Field.
“I am grateful for Tony’s contributions to the long-term excellence of Bethel College athletics,” President Gering stated. “He has been an excellent advocate, leader, and partner for the college and the community. I wish him and his family the best of success as they transition into their new lives at Northwestern College.”
Hoops was recognized by his peers in the KCAC by being named the conference’s athletic director of the year for the 2020-2021 school year. This award came during the height of the Threshers’ success on the field, but also as a result of their achievements in the classroom and community.
Bethel has seen a growing number of KCAC and NAIA scholar-athletes each of the past six years. The Threshers as a department were also able to earn their fifth-consecutive NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star Gold award in the summer of 2022.
Perhaps most impressively, the 2023 graduating class of Bethel students included a record-breaking number of student-athletes.
“Our mission was to create life-changing experiences for our student-athletes. Our staff embraced this in everything they did by passionately caring for each athlete,” stated Hoops. “This care led to model programs being created that competed for championships and graduated young men and women who will continue to impact the world.”
Hoops’ passion for establishing a new culture in the athletic department was molded during his time as a student and coach at Bethel.
Hoops played basketball at Bethel from 2001-05 and was an NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 2005 and KCAC Academic All-Conference player in 2003, 2004, and 2005. He was a member of the 2002-03 KCAC championship team and played in the 2003 NAIA National Tournament, the first in Bethel’s history. After coaching and teaching at a few Kansas high schools upon his graduation, Hoops was named the head coach of the men’s basketball program in 2014. He held this position for four years prior to his appointment as director of athletics.
When asked about his love for Bethel, Hoops said, “The people of Bethel are what makes this place so special. The alums, staff, student-athletes, and community are who motivated me every day to make Bethel Athletics the best version it could be. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for supporting me and my family. We gave everything we had to this place and I look forward to following the continued success now as an alum.”
Hoops’ final day on campus will be August 15th.
A national search for the next director of athletics will begin immediately.
In athletics, Bethel competes within the 13-school Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference and the NAIA. For more information, see www.bethelthreshers.com
Bethel College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, age, gender, sexual orientation, parental or marital status, gender identity, gender expression, medical or genetic information, ethnic or national origins, citizenship status, veteran or military status or disability. E-mail questions to [email protected]