Coaching experience prepares Eagles for conference season
Friday, December 7, 2007
By Stefanie Trent
may have noticed a lot of men in suits at Oklahoma Christian University
men’s basketball games this year. Five men in dress suits sit at the
head of the Eagle’s bench each game. The men are not players, but
Oklahoma Christian has five men’s basketball coaches this year. They
include a head coach, an associate head coach, two assistant coaches
and a student coach. They all range in experience and in the length in
which they have been part of the program.
Head Coach Dan Hays is in his 25th year at Oklahoma Christian. Hays
received a bachelor’s degree from Eastern New Mexico University where
he played basketball. He also holds two masters degrees, one from
Eastern New Mexico State in physical education and another from Eastern
Washington University in athletic administration.
Hays left New Mexico to become the assistant coach at Southeastern
Oklahoma State University in 1975. After spending some time there, he
coached at Northwestern State University for five years before coming
to Oklahoma Christian in 1982.
He not only coaches the men’s basketball team but also teaches in the physical education department.
“I am a professor in the PE department teaching theory of coaching
basketball, freshman seminar and fundamentals of basketball,” Hays
Helping Hays with coaching duties is Associate Head Coach Curtis Janz.
Janz arrived at Oklahoma Christian as a student in 1986. After
graduating, he became an assistant coach and has remained for 19 years.
“I always wanted to coach,” Janz said. “I have to be ready for any
opportunity, and let things happen as they may. Let God lead you to the
In addition to coaching, Janz is the Chairman of the physical
education department. He is responsible for many different aspects of
the department including creating class schedules.
“I have it easy because of the people who teach in our department. The
people have been around for a long time and do a good job,” Janz said.
The Oklahoma Christian men’s basketball team also has two assistant
coaches. Terril Hankins and Ralph Nigro are both fairly new to the
program. Nigro is in his first year and Hankins is in his third year.
Hankins also coaches and teaches at Oklahoma Christian Academy. Nigro works at Edmond North High School.
Along with the assistant coaches is student coach, Marcus Smith.
Smith has been part of the program for four years starting out as a
program assistant in hopes to work his way up.
“I am basically like an intern or manager,” Smith said. “I work with
program assistants with getting water, towels and things like that
ready for the team before games and practice. I pretty much do whatever
coach Hays tells me to do.”
Smith will graduate in April and plans on going into coaching.
“I will use my experience with Oklahoma Christian wherever I go,” Smith said.
With conference play just under way, the five coaches have a long
road ahead, hopefully leading to a bid for the national tournament.