As the Eagles basketball team returned to playing position, a sharp whistle cut through the sounds of the band and the crowd. Eagles players turned toward the northeast corner of the Sports Center arena where Eagles basketball coach Mark Goetsch, using the clipboard and his hand as a makeshift megaphone, was shouting instructions.
This has been a familiar scene since 1994, when Mark Goetsch and his wife Melany came to serve at Pensacola Christian College after he had coached basketball in California for 11 years. Goetsch had desired to coach at the college level, but his focus was always on something bigger than the game. “When I graduated from college, I prayed and told the Lord I was willing to go anywhere to teach and coach with only one request: wherever I go, allow me to stay for a minimum of five years so I could get plugged in to the ministry,” he said.
Over the years, PCC has afforded Coach Goetsch many opportunities to get plugged in. The family adjusted from a church of three hundred in California to one of a few thousand at Campus Church, quickly finding many opportunities to fellowship with smaller groups. Goetsch even began to lead an adult Bible study at Campus Church which he still teaches years later.
For 25 years, Goetsch has been coaching basketball and teaching courses in physical education at the College, adding on the role of athletic director in 2012. “I have the nicest classroom in the Southeast,” he said. “The Sports Center arena is a top-notch facility here, and I love walking in the arena every day.”
Coach Mark Goetsch likens his experiences to being on a team—working hard with others toward a common goal. “[My] favorite part of working in the ministry is the vision of the College: empowering the next generation to influence the world. I enjoy the opportunity to work alongside many talented faculty members as well as coaches in the athletic department,” he said.
Over the summer, Goetsch has found other ways to get involved in serving others. For the last 12 years, he has volunteered to lead student mission teams in Romania to serve with Youth Outreach Ministry. “To take college students to a field, expose them to missions and missionaries, letting them see for themselves how God could use them, is a wonderful opportunity,” he said. “It stretches me every summer where I have to rely completely on God, and God continues to bless summer after summer. Each year, I’m amazed at how God could use a basketball coach.”
Since joining PCC, Coach Mark Goetsch has remained sensitive to God’s calling, serving the Lord each year where He leads him. “I want to be available to the Lord for whatever is next for my life,” he said. “It’s been a privilege to serve in this place for 25 years.”
Whether it’s for guidance or encouragement, generations of PCC Eagles know who to look for when they hear that whistle on the court.
Read more about how God is directing and working through PCC faculty and alumni.