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Cultivating Disciples,
Pursuing Excellence

by Andrew Mindeman

A new era of LeTourneau athletics is underway.

Dr. Tim Sceggel was named the new Vice President and Director of Athletics at LeTourneau in late springsceggel.jpg 2022. A longtime administrator within Christian college athletics, Dr. Sceggel brings years of experience to Longview. “It is an incredible honor to be able to join you in support of LeTourneau University,” said Sceggel. “Since arriving on campus this summer, I’ve been so encouraged with the direction of the institution overall, and athletics in particular.”

Dr. Sceggel spent the last 15 years serving in multiple capacities, including Director of Athletics, at fellow CCCU institution Covenant College. He was named the AD at Covenant in 2016 and was part of the most successful period of Covenant athletics history.

A graduate of Covenant, Dr. Sceggel saw his life transformed during his college years and became motivated to lead Christian institutions’ athletic departments towards success not only on the field but in students’ spiritual lives.

“My passion for Christian college athletics dates back to my undergraduate days as the men’s basketball manager at Covenant College where I had a front row seat to the value of integrating our faith in the context of sports,” remarked Dr. Sceggel. “After college, I spent time working in the athletic department at Wheaton College, where I learned what it looked like to intentionally pursue excellence.”

Sceggel’s affection for transformative college experience is obvious: “If you look across the world, America is really the only one who combines sport with higher ed. It’s this unique aspect of a formative time in someone’s life in college combined with the gifts, talents, and abilities God’s given us athletically. America has figured out how to combine these, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, and as believers, we have an awesome opportunity to influence the culture. What better place to do that than on a Christian college campus?”

During his time at Covenant, Dr. Sceggel formulated his approach to Christian college athletics. The mantra “cultivating disciples and pursuing excellence” emanated through the athletic complexes at Covenant to remind everyone about their call to honor and glorify God through sport and developing leaders for Christ.

These experiences led Dr. Sceggel to develop the new mission of the athletic department at LeTourneau, which is to cultivate disciples and pursue excellence.


In a sports culture that emphasizes wins over everything else, Dr. Sceggel has a different approach. As an institution, LeTourneau is seeking to develop leaders with Christian values and mission. Athletics are part of the college experience, and Dr. Sceggel believes his department needs to continue the mission of the institution.

tim-sceggel-chapel-18-medium.jpg“The goal of cultivating disciples is to see student athletes encounter Christ in the context of their athletic pursuits,” said Dr. Sceggel. “Practically, this means that our coaches, trainers, and athletic communication folks will intentionally integrate their faith in their various areas of oversight.

This intentional effort is designed to help student athletes grow in their relationship with Christ as a result of their athletic participation. If there is a student athlete that does not yet know Jesus, we will seek to facilitate that introduction in hope that it may lead to a decision that has eternal significance.”

Discipleship within LeTourneau Athletics will look different across various teams and evolve over a student athletes’ four years on campus. It is designed to be descriptive of their experience, rather than prescriptive. This means that coaches have the flexibility to adjust their approach based on the spiritual needs of the team, which typically includes some combination of learning what it means to compete for Christ, along with team prayer, small groups, and service.


Integrating faith into athletics is a big piece of the puzzle for Dr. Sceggel, but he still wants LeTourneau to compete for championships on the field. However, excellence is not found only in wins but also in the classroom, community, and all aspects of the department.

“God has given our coaches and student athletes gifts, talents, and abilities that he calls us to use for His glory. Winning is an import measurement of the pursuit of excellence, but so are academics and so many other areas,” added Dr. Sceggel.

Recently, LeTourneau student athletes have excelled in the classroom. During the spring 2022 semester, student-athletes produced a 3.13 GPA, and 13 programs had team GPA’s above 3.0. Additionally, in the most recent cohort, student athletes graduated at an 11 percent higher rate than non-athletes and three percent higher than student athletes at other NCAA Division III institutions.

Part of Dr. Sceggel’s initial phase of instituting this mission was making new head coaching hires. During the summer, LeTourneau hired many new personnel—including head coaches—and redesigned the leadership team in athletics. Five new head coaches were brought on board during the summer, and numerous other changes occurred with department personnel to strengthen Dr. Sceggel’s mission.

As for success on the field? LeTourneau experienced lots of that during the fall 2022 season. Men’s soccer made its second-ever appearance in the American Southwest Conference tournament championship match while volleyball also qualified for the league tournament. The YellowJackets had five major award-winners in the ASC, and seven student athletes earned Academic All-District honors.


With this mission in place, Dr. Sceggel desires to see LeTourneau become the preeminent option for student-athletes who want to grow in their relationship with Christ, get a phenomenal education, and win at a high level. “This won’t mean that we get every recruit or win every game, but I do believe that in time we will be able to position ourselves as the best place in the nation for high school students that align with our mission,” he added.

Dr. Sceggel also emphasized the role alumni and parents can play as part of this process in transforming LeTourneau Athletics. Specifically, prayer and giving.

“We deeply covet your prayers. An undertaking of this magnitude can only be achieved through a foundation in Christ. Please pray that the Lord would prepare the hearts of our student-athletes to be receptive to our discipleship efforts and for discernment for our coaches in how best to facilitate our athletes’ spiritual growth. Secondly, there are several practical needs within our department. There is a need for the Lord to bring forth folks who are excited about our mission and want to give toward that end.”

A time of departmental transition can cause trepidation, but Sceggel has demonstrated commitment and2022-10-26-athletics-staged-photoshoots-for-now-257-large.jpg integrity in his coaching hires as well as the leadership team he’s assembled. He wants to win just as much as any other AD in the nation, but his drive to see that the department integrate faith – and in doing so provide an extension of the University’s mission – is something not often seen at other institutions. It’s hard not to be inspired when he articulates his belief in discipleship:

“When you come to the end of your life, and you’re about to depart this world, you’re not gonna say, man let me see my sweet sixteen trophy one more time; you’re gonna say give me Jesus. So, we want to equip you with Christ now to help you serve him all the way through your life. The research even shows that students with a higher level of faith affiliation are actually better, more engaged students, and they graduate at higher levels. If we have a strong faith, that impacts everything around us.

Honestly, this is why I love Division III Athletics. D3’s whole thing is holistic development of a student athlete. It doesn’t mean we’re any less committed to pursuing athletic success or development, but we’re framing it in a way that says this is an important piece of your college experience, but so is getting acclimated in the classroom, so is getting involved in your hall, so is becoming a student leader or an RA or whatever else you want to do. We want to develop you in all these ways so that when you leave here, you’re equipped with Christ, a great education, and a great way to understand and look at life and navigate your way through it. If we’re not doing any of those things, then we’re just shortchanging our students.”