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Bethel athletics transition allows for increased focus on roles

NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – There’s a transition taking place in the Bethel athletic department, but it won’t result in a departure.

After four years as head men’s basketball coach, Tony Hoops is turning over the reins to his assistant, Jayson Artaz. Hoops will now devote all his time to his other position, that of athletic director. The change takes effect June 1.

“This decision is one of sorrow and also great joy,” said Hoops. “Bethel basketball is something I am extremely passionate about and have dedicated my life to over the past four years.

“However, to better serve our athletic department as AD and also spend more time with my family, it’s become clear over this past season that I must step away [from basketball]. I cannot do two full-time jobs effectively without taking away from [both] our basketball program and athletic department."

Hoops came on board to lead Bethel basketball for the 2014-15 season. A 2005 Bethel graduate, Hoops returned to his alma mater after eight years as a head coach at Herington and Halstead High Schools.

Hoops assumed the AD role last May, following the resignation of Kent Allshouse.

As a player, Hoops was a member of Bethel’s 2003 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship team that qualified for the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament.

In his four years wearing a Thresher uniform, Hoops garnered three Academic All-KCAC awards, NAIA Academic All-American honors and NAIA Champions of Character recognition.

Hoops has also served as Bethel’s assistant golf coach for the past eight years.

As a direct report to the president, the athletic director position will become cabinet-level.

Hoops thanked Interim President John Sheriff and President Jon Gering for their support “throughout this difficult process. [It] is greatly appreciated and shows their commitment to continuing the positive direction of our entire athletic department.

“I would not have made this decision if I did not feel our program is in great hands,” Hoops added. “Coach Artaz is more than ready to be very successful, and I look forward to having a role within this program yet because of my love for [basketball] – just in a different manner going forward.

“Coaching is a people business. I could not be more grateful for Coach Artaz and [Assistant] Coach [Jake] Meyer. They have been unbelievably loyal, and dedicated to improving this program since we took over at its lowest point.

“I appreciate all the players that invested so much, and also all the community members who have supported us. Coaching at Bethel has been a dream job … that I thank God for every day. I

walk away knowing our program is in a better place, and I look forward to watching it thrive in the future.”

Artaz started coaching at Bethel along with Hoops in 2013-14. He is a classmate of Hoops’, graduating in the same year and playing on the same Thresher varsity basketball team.

As a player, Artaz was 2nd Team All-Conference in his senior year. He was a key contributor to the 2003 conference championship and national tournament qualifier.

Artaz coached basketball at several levels before joining the Bethel staff, most recently at Valley Center High School as an assistant.

He has a degree in elementary education and currently teaches math at Valley Center Middle School.

“I would like to take the opportunity to thank Dr. Gering and Tony Hoops for the chance to take over this basketball program that has shown great growth over the last four years,” Artaz said. “I

am very excited for what the future holds for this program and feel very fortunate to be trusted to lead it.

“Bethel College is a very special place, and I can’t wait to start work there full time, with the faculty and coaches who make this institution one of the premiere colleges in the country.”

Artaz continued, “We will keep and bring in quality people who will make Bethel College proud. Our players will give us the chance to be successful on the court and we will not settle for anything less than our best on the floor, in the classroom, and in the community.

“The good thing about taking over this program at this time is that Coach Hoops has done so much to help get the program moving forward and now it is up to us to take the next step as a team.

“When you see our team on the floor you will see a team that is highly accountable, extremely resilient, and shows great enthusiasm for the game and our teammates.”

Bethel College ranks at No. 1 in College Consensus’ ranking of Kansas colleges and universities, and is the only Kansas private college listed in the Forbes.com analysis of top colleges and universities, the Washington Monthly National Universities-Liberal Arts section and the National Liberal Arts College category of U.S. News & World Report, all for 2017-18. The four-year liberal arts college is affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu.

In sports, Bethel competes within the 12-school KCAC and the NAIA. For more information, see www.bethelthreshers.com and www.bethelks.edu.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.