It was a big week for Evangel University athletics.
The university announced two significant retirements: longtime men's basketball coach Steve Jenkins and its Crusader mascot.
'Epitome of Evangel athletics'
Jenkins' exit this week came after 39 years as head coach for the team, according to a news release.
He led the team to a 692-542 overall record, making him the all-time leader for Evangel in coaching wins. Jenkins ranks fourth in wins among active men's head basketball coaches in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and 21st on the NAIA all-time wins list.
"Steve is the epitome of Evangel athletics and sets a great example for all who follow him," said Dennis McDonald, director of athletics, in the release. "He influences his players to have a strong walk with God, to excel academically and to always strive to be top athletes."
During the 2001-02 season, Jenkins and his team posted a 35-1 overall record and went 20-0 in conference play to capture the university's first NAIA national title.
The university started an immediate search to find his successor, according to the release.
Evangel leadership made the decision to do away with the school's official mascot that’s been in place since the university's 1955 inception, according to a separate news release.
“The world has changed significantly since the 1950s, when the Evangel community, intending to depict strength, honor and commitment to the faith, first identified a Crusader as the school’s mascot,” said George Wood, interim president of Evangel, in the release. “Today, we recognize that the Crusader often inhibits the ability of students and alumni to proudly represent the university in their areas of global work and ministry.”
The term historically is associated with soldiers in the Crusades, a series of religious wars between Christians and Muslims, according to History.com.
Wood and his cabinet moved unanimously with the Evangel Board of Trustees to retire the mascot name. The consideration process for changing the name dates back to 2007, according to the release.
Evangel plans to create a committee comprised of students, alumni, faculty and athletic staff to lead the process of identifying a new mascot.
Read profiles of this year's honorees.
Aaron York, general superintendent of Donco 3 Construction, describes what he sees in the construction job market in Springfield in 2021. Rachel York is the co-owner of Donco3 Construction.
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Jeramey and Julia Henson discuss the reason they and HM Dentworks co-owner Chris McWhirter started the HM Dentworks Academy. With the job demands of their field taking them across the country, all three felt that they needed a plan for the future.
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Barak Hill gives advice based on what he learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and how it affected his business. He says we should all have a backup plan ready to use.
Sandy Higgins, owner of the Crackerjack Shack, recommends the book "The E-Myth Mastery" by Michael E Gerber. She says it changed the course of how she runs her business.
Aaron York describes the work culture he tries to foster at Donco3 and why he attributes to it a part of Donco3's success. Rachel York is a co-owner of Donco3 and Aaron is the General Superintendent.
Hollie Elliott, executive director of the Dallas County Economic Development Group, explains how local schools factor into business decisions and affect a local community.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistree Pottery, says an important lesson she learned was not to over-expand and to do her research before hand. She gives examples from her experience as a startup business owner.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen own TCI Graphics, and are now celebrating 50 years of business. Jim Meinsen takes some time to explain his philosophy on debt, and how to stay out of it.