Mack Named Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Lancaster Bible

Photo Courtesy LBC Athletics

Lancaster Bible College, and the Lancaster Bible College Athletic Department, have announced the hiring of Jon Mack as Head Men’s Basketball Coach. Mack, who has been the Head Coach at NAIA Division I Southwestern Christian University in Bethany, Oklahoma the past two seasons, becomes the 14th head coach in Lancaster Bible Men’s Basketball history.

Prior to Southwestern Christian, Mack was the Men’s Basketball Head Coach at the University of Valley Forge from 2000-2017, and also served as Director of Athletics from 2004-17. At Southwestern Christian, Mack compiled a record of 34-32, and led the Eagles to the NCCAA Division I National Championship game in 2017-18.

Mack said he hopes to establish a culture and a mission at Lancaster Bible and have the team find its ‘why.’

“We want to build a culture and sustain it,” Mack said. “Our mission is to prepare a journey of discipleship and excellence, and we need to give God our best. Our four pillars will be skill, teamwork, Christian character and servant leadership, and they will drive our decision-making and actions.

Throughout the interview process it became clear that Mack’s care and dedication to defining a culture set him apart from others.

“You have to spend time with the root of the tree (culture), and not just the fruit of the tree (wins, accolades),” Mack said. “It’s easy to focus on the fruit, and wins are important, but you have to nurture the root, or the fruit will dry up. We have to have a solid culture, and what you do on a daily basis makes up your culture. I believe Lancaster Bible understands this process and we can take care of the root the best way possible.”

Lancaster Bible Director of Athletics Pete Beers agreed with Mack, and credited Lancaster Bible President Dr. Peter W. Teague and the leadership team at the college with seeing Mack’s vision as well.

“I am very thankful for the intentionality of our President, Dr. Teague and the leadership team of Lancaster Bible College in committing to getting the right person for this position at this important time for our institution,” Beers said.

Another cornerstone of Mack’s coaching principles are teammates holding one another accountable, something he sees as invaluable if the team’s culture is to grow.

“We need educate the team on what accountability looks like and that they are responsible for themselves, and accountable to their teammates,” Mack explained. “If we can understand those ideas, it can go a long way in establishing a positive culture within this program.”

Mack will be the fourth head coach in the past eight years at Lancaster Bible, but despite the carousel of coaches, the program has had its greatest successes over that span, including two trips to the NCAA Division III National Tournament, five North Eastern Athletic Conference Final appearances, and an NCCAA Division II National Championship. Despite the success, Mack said he was drawn to the college for a different reason.

“You obviously want to have a chance to be successful on the floor, and the success at Lancaster Bible is attractive, but the main thing to me is that over the 36 hours I was on campus a couple of weeks ago, there is a clear mission and vision of where the institution is going, and the leadership at the school is unapologetic about it,” Mack said. “I am a purpose driven person, and Lancaster Bible is a purpose driven school, and I will grow and be stretched by working at the school.”

Mack also mentioned Pete Beers as a reason for being drawn to Lancaster Bible, as the two have been friends for almost 20 years.

“Pete has been a great friend and mentor to me, and was very influential in me getting both the basketball job and athletic director position at Valley Forge,” Mack explained. “He has taught me how to have both big picture vision and day-to-day vision.”

Beers echoed his Mack’s statement, and is thrilled to add Mack to the Lancaster Bible coaching staff, not only for his on-the-court success, but his off-the-court success as well.

“I have had the privilege to watch Jon from the very beginning of his coaching career and I have found him to be a life-long learner and a tremendous impactor in the lives of those he touches,” Beers said. “I look forward to seeing him quickly adapt and to make an indelible impact in the lives of each young man that is part of our men’s basketball program.”

Mack, who is married Jen with two sons, Jalen and Justis, said he has watched film of the team, and is excited to get started in Lancaster.

“I love the team’s energy for one another, and they move the basketball very well,” Mack said. “They are unselfish, and that is something we will build upon. We are going to focus on four areas – defending, rebounding, transition, and sharing the basketball. We will be intense and aggressive on the defensive end, and will look to create havoc on our opponents. I truly believe that defense will be our primary offense, and our offense will be our primary defense. If we can create turnovers, then get good shots and set up defense again, we will be successful.”

Mack, who will enter is 20th season of coaching in 2019-20 with 321 wins, said his style of play is tough, but rewarding.

“It takes discipline to play our style, and we need tough players to roll up their sleeves and work hard, but when we get out into transition, we can have some fun, and use our athleticism,” Mack said.

And while Mack said he has grown to like Oklahoma, he is also excited to return to the eastern part of the United States.

“Oklahoma has been great to us, and the people and surroundings really grow on you, but we are excited to be headed back to where we are from,” Mack said. “We have lots of family and friends in the area and my parents are in New Jersey, so it will be nice to be closer to them. We have learned a lot out here, and I have enjoyed the challenge of NAIA and Sooner Athletic Conference.”

In addition to his tremendous coaching career, Mack was also a fabulous player at Valley Forge, where he scored a program-best 3,494 points and grabbed 1,250 rebounds. He was an NCCAA Division II All-American, and an NCCAA National Player of the Year Finalist.

Mack said he is appreciative of the leadership team at Lancaster Bible, and can’t wait to get started on campus in a few weeks.

“I am so thankful and appreciative to Pete Beers, Josh Beers and Dr. Teague for their trust and confidence me,” Mack said. “I look forward to serving with them, and am blessed to have this opportunity.”

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