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Bethel earns Champions of Character gold for second straight year

September 11th, 2019

Champions of Character gold badge

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has named the athletics department a 2018-19 Champions of Character Five-Star Gold Award winner.

Bethel was one of 63 institutions across the NAIA to earn gold status, out of the 180 who earned either gold, silver or bronze.

This is the second time in the department’s history that Bethel has achieved this distinction, and its second consecutive year to do so, after being a bronze finalist in 2016-17 and a gold winner last year.

“It is an honor to be a Five-Star Champion of Character institution for the second year in a row this year,” said Athletic Director Tony Hoops.

“The award is a direct reflection upon the coaches who are leading our programs here at Bethel. Their buy-in to the culture we are creating is unbelievable.

“It’s great to have awards like this acknowledge the daily commitment they bring to leading quality programs that produce quality people.”

Every year, each NAIA institution demonstrates its progress in pursuing “character-driven athletics.”

The Champions of Character Scorecard measures growth in training, promotion, conduct in competition and commitment in five key areas, with a possibility of earning 100 points.

Institutions can be recognized as Champions of Character Five-Star Award Winners at three different levels: Gold (90-100 points), Silver (75-89 points) and Bronze (60-74 points).

“As we continue to build our athletic programs at Bethel College and reach news standards each year, it is very important to note that none of the achievements we are accomplishing would be possible without the amazing student-athletes we have,” Hoops continued.

“Their investment in being positive representatives of Bethel College and our community is tremendous. They make awards like this a reality.”

This year, 180 NAIA institutions earned Five-Star distinction. Included were 63 institutions at the gold distinction level, 75 at the silver distinction level and 42 at the bronze distinction level.

Bethel was one of four institutions from the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC) named to the gold division. A total of 11 of the 13 total full-time KCAC member institutions received Five-Star distinction. 

See all Champions of Character Five-Star institutions at

“It’s a great time to be a Bethel Thresher right now,” Hoops said.

Bethel College, a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887, is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel is the highest-listed Kansas private college listed in Washington Monthly’s “Top Bachelor’s Colleges” for 2019-20 and according to, is the highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates. For more information, see

In sports, Bethel competes in the 13-member KCAC and the NAIA. See Josh Booth

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.