This year, the basketball season isn’t the only new beginning for the Eagles basketball team. It’s also their first season playing alongside Coach Jason Bell. After coaching for fourteen years at Front Range Baptist Academy (CO), Coach Bell and his family moved to Pensacola, where he joined the PCC Eagles this past summer. “We came here because I really felt like God wanted us to help others reimagine what Christian athletics looks like,” he said.
Coach Bell is the eighth coach to lead the men’s basketball team, taking over after Coach Mark Goetsch retired from his 27-year coaching career to teach full-time in the classroom. Since first joining, Coach Bell has been strategizing for upcoming games and working with his athletes through practices. This past October, he was able to introduce the team to students during Eagles Fan Fest.
“If you have musical talent, everyone understands how they’re supposed to use that musical talent for God. They play in church, they sing; that’s pretty easy to understand. But how does someone use their basketball talent for God?” Bell asked. “In a recent first step, Eagles Basketball partnered with Campus Church to host the inaugural Pensacola Invitational. During the games, meals were provided for the visiting teams along with a gospel presentation, and three opposing players accepted Christ.”
Over the first few weeks, veteran Lady Eagles coach Jared Sellars came alongside Coach Bell to help him settle into transitioning from high school basketball to college basketball. “The game is faster, and the players are bigger and stronger; but after about ten minutes into our first practice, I discovered, you know what? This is just basketball,” Bell explained. “These guys still get really excited about playing basketball and being together. As coaches, we are really focused on working hard for our players to help them reach their immediate goals of success on the floor as well as our larger purpose of developing Christian leaders.”
For this playing season, Coach Jason Bell is focused on helping the team to be “SOUL’d out” in everything they do.
- Being selfless: “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.”—Philippians 2:3–4
- Taking ownership of their role: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”—Luke 16:10
- Understanding unity: “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”—Acts 4:32
- Remembering their larger purpose: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own SOUL?”—Mark 8:36
By encouraging his team, Coach Jason Bell helps the Eagles offer their best each day, connecting athleticism, good sportsmanship, and Christlikeness. “Being really good at basketball increases our influence and opportunities to draw others closer to him,” he explained. “Our goal for this season is to maximize the only two things that we can control on a daily basis—our attitude and our effort. Our players are doing an outstanding job embracing that culture.”
“[Coach Bell] pushes us every day. Even when we think our bodies can’t take it, he stays on us to make sure we aren’t slacking,” said Christian Porter (Jr., FL), a player on the Eagles basketball team. “He has our best interest in mind.”
“Coach Bell has done a good job setting the expectations high for our team,” said AJ Ward (Jr., FL), another Eagles basketball player. “He wants us to not only be successful throughout the regular season, but also during postseason. Although it has been challenging for some of us to adjust to a new coach, I think we are making some good progress toward achieving our goals.”
With the new season underway, the Eagles are ready to put their best foot forward on and off the court. Keep up with the team at pcceagles.com!