I teased this one earlier today on Twitter. Here’s the official release…
Following a strong four years of men’s basketball, East Texas Baptist University will be transitioning head coaches as Brandon Curran follows a call into full-time church ministry. Curran leaves a solid foundation for the new incoming head coach Chris Lovell who comes to ETBU from Bossier Parish Community College.
“While we are sad to see Coach Curran leave ETBU, we also excited for him following the Lord’s call for his life to enter full-time ministry. In four short years, Coach Curran has built a Christ-centered culture within the ETBU Tiger Basketball program that has continued to excel on the court and in the classroom. Coach Curran has helped set the standard for ETBU Athletics and our vision for sports ministry. We will forever be indebted for his coaching leadership,” Vice President for Athletics Ryan Erwin said.
Brandon Curran Era
Curran led ETBU to four straight American Southwest Conference tournaments playing for the championship twice in 2018 and 2020. He posted two 20-win seasons in 2017-18 and 2019-20. In his time, 16 players earned All-ASC East team awards, while he had four players on the ASC East All-Freshman team, and three players on the All-Defensive team. He compiled a record of 69-39 in four seasons going 39-27 in the ASC East Division earning NCAA Division III South Regional rankings during the 2017-18 and 2019-20 seasons.
“Jen and I are both so thankful for the past four years we’ve been able to spend at ETBU. It truly has been a gift serving in ministry as a basketball coach here,” says Curran. “I appreciate Dr. Blackburn for inviting me to come serve with him back in 2016. He had a vision for us to build a Christ-centered program that God would use to transform players and coaches into Godly men and leaders and I’ve loved the fruit that the Lord has brought about as a result. I’m thankful to Ryan Erwin for his leadership and for providing an environment for us to compete for championships. I’m thankful to my staff, the assistant coaches and graduate assistants that have worked so hard to recruit talented players, outstanding students and future leaders into this program. The players and coaches here are family to my family. My kids love all our guys and look up to them. These transitions are so difficult emotionally, but the relationships with these young men and with our coaches will continue. God gets the glory for the talents and abilities he has given to all of us, and the success of ETBU Basketball. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and his ways are higher than our ways. Our four years at ETBU were a special time and although He is now leading us elsewhere, I’m thankful that my family was able to be part of what the Lord is doing here.”
His program also improved in academics, spiritual discipline, and community service. Each year the team’s grade point average improved as they also had eight players named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Honors Court and two straight NABC Team Academic awards. In 2018-19, Jordan Gray was voted the ASC men’s basketball Distinguished Scholar-Athlete as the sport’s top academic student-athlete. Landin Brown received the President’s Award at the December 2019 commencement, which is given to the graduating ETBU student, who is the best representation of a Christian leader, scholar, and servant. The team also conducted weekly Bible studies and discipleship, as well as helped with numerous service projects in the Marshall community.
“We are delighted to welcome Coach Chris Lovell to the ETBU Family, as the next Head Coach for ETBU Men’s Basketball. Chris was someone we identified and sought out to follow Coach Curran. His passion and love for Jesus and basketball were evident throughout the process. Coach Lovell’s dedication to excellence and using the sport of basketball to minister to his student-athletes is the perfect fit for ETBU and Tiger Basketball. We are excited for Coach Lovell to lead the program in the years to come,” Erwin said.
About Chris Lovell
Lovell brings a championship resume to ETBU that will keep the men’s basketball program in the top-tier of the ASC. He won three Texas TAPPS 5A state championships (2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16) at Prestonwood Christian Academy, while being ranked the #1 large private school in Texas. Then, in four years at Bossier Parish Community College, he turned a sub-par program into a program that was competing for a conference championship.
“I’m honored and thankful to have the opportunity to be the next head men’s basketball coach at East Texas Baptist University,” said Lovell. “ETBU is a special place and is a really good fit for me and my family. We will seek to honor God and continue to build on the foundation that Coach Curran has started here. I’m looking forward to creating and leading a culture of winning while recruiting the best players possible as we seek to represent the Lord and ETBU in the best way possible. I would like to thank Dr. Blackburn, Ryan Erwin and everyone at ETBU for this incredible opportunity. I am excited to get started and to bring an exciting style of basketball to ETBU.”
At Bossier Parish Community College
This past season his team went 20-11 for their first 20-win season in over 15 years at BPCC. His team posted a 12-7 record in the NJCAA Region XIV tying for second place, which is the best finish for the program since moving to that region. On February 25, he was named the Hoopdirt.com National NJCAA JUCO Coach of the Week. He is a two-time LABC JUCO Coach of the Year and was the first coach since the early 2000s to post three straight winning seasons.
For the fourth straight season, BPCC qualified for the Region XIV conference tournament. In the 2018-19 season, his team reached the NJCAA Top 25 Poll for the first time in over 20 years. He has also coached the LABC JUCO Player of the Year the past three years.
At Prestonwood Christian Academy
In three seasons as the head coach, Lovell won 99 games and three straight TAPPS 5A state championships. Max Preps had two of his teams ranked 50th (2014-15) and 81st (2015-16) in the nation. In the 2014-15 season, his team was the #5 overall ranked high school team in Texas by Max Preps. He took his teams to national tournaments every year including the Jerry Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., and The Max Preps Classic in California.
From 2009-2012, he was the assistant head coach as Prestonwood Christian and won two TAPPS 5A state championship and were runners-up one season. In that year, they were ranked in the national top 10 by USA Today, ESPN, and Max Preps along with winning the #1 high school tournament in the country at the City of Palms Tournament. In his first two seasons as the assistant coach, they were state runners-up each season.
At Grapevine Faith Christian School
In his first position as a head coach at the high school level, Lovell went 19-17 winning the Bi-District championship. His team advanced to the playoffs, which was the first time for the program in five years, and finished third in TAPPS 4A District 1. Before he arrived, the team had only won seven games the year before.
At Trinity Christian Academy
Breaking into high school coaching as an assistant coach at Trinity Christian Academy, Lovell was a part of a strong winning program. In his three years, TCA won the 2008-09 Texas TAPPS 5A state championship and was the 2007-08 TAPPS 1-5A District champions. He was also a finalist for the TABC Assistant Coach of the Year.
Lovell began ministry work in 1996 as the minister to students at Germantown Baptist Church in Germantown, Tenn. He was there 10 years where he oversaw and led student ministries for sixth through 12th grades. He left there for Prestonwood Baptist Church where he served also as the minister to students for six years. At Prestonwood Baptist, a member organization of over 36,000 members, he was in charge of the global student ministries overlooking the staff of three campuses and 5,000 students. He was at this position for six years before moving to Grapevine Faith Christian School as the head men’s basketball coach.
He started working in ministry at Kanakuk Camps in 1995 as the basketball head coach and director. He led the specialty camps for seventh through 12th grades.
Lovell was a four-year letterman at LSU-Shreveport playing in the NAIA. He was a three-year starter and a two-time captain for the Pilots. In high school, he played at Trinity Heights Christian Academy helping them to two L.I.S.A State Championships. In his senior season, he was All-District first team and a L.I.S.A. State All-Star game selection. The two-time team captain also helped his team to two district championships.
Lovell graduated from LSU-Shreveport in 1995 with a general studies degree and earned a Master’s of Arts in Christian Education from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1999. He and his wife, Amanda, have three children, Paxton, Bowman, and Kerrington, and attend Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, La.