MNU’s Lamar announces retirement at conclusion of 2021-22 season

MidAmerica Nazarene University and Pioneer Athletics announced the retirement of Rocky Lamar as Head Coach of MNU men’s basketball at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. President David Spittal expressed gratitude for a beloved icon of the Pioneer community.

“I am deeply grateful for Rocky’s years of dedicated service and his commitment to the Lord, his family, and the athletes who have played under his leadership and influence.”
Lamar has served as head coach since 1986. He was a fierce competitor as an MNU student-athlete, and collected 788 wins throughout 36 coaching seasons. He was inducted in the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2014 and is the active NAIA national leader in wins.

“I will have more to say in the coming days,” said Lamar. “But for now, I just want to say that it has been one of the great joys of my life to serve at MidAmerica Nazarene. To me, it is the greatest institution in the world. There’s no better place to work. It’s never felt like a job. And I have loved my time here.”
In addition to coaching duties, Lamar also previously served MNU as director of athletics and adjunct faculty for physical education.
Lamar has coached 36 NAIA All-America honorees. He has been named Conference Coach of the Year seven times (89-90, 91-92, 95-96, 99-00, 06-07, 11-12, and 15-16). He was named NAIA & KBCA Coach of the Year for the 2006-07 season and KBCA Coach of the Year for the 2008-09 season. The Pioneers have won 13 conference championships and have been to the NAIA national tournament 19 times. They finished second in the NCCAA National Tournament in 1996-97 & 1997-98. MNU basketball reached the NAIA final four in 2001 (runner-up), 2006, 2007 (National Champions), 2008, 2009, 2014, and 2016.
Lamar’s career can be summarized as an investment in young people. His energy, warmth, and excellent instruction created thousands of lifetime relationships.

“Rarely does one have the privilege of witnessing three-and-a-half decades of service and commitment to a single organization as we have with Coach Rocky Lamar,” said Director of Athletics Todd Garrett. “His commitment to the Pioneering Spirit has permeated this campus and is not a legacy left, but one that is and will be lived out by the many basketball alumni and coworkers he has influenced. His commitment to carrying out the mission of our University through the game of basketball never wavered and is a guidepost for us to continue to use our passions as platforms for kingdom work. An equal and worthy contributor in this living legacy was the influence of a tenured “assistant coach” for all of these years, Rocky’s wife Dr. Jo Lamar; giving of her talents and skills as “Jo Mama” for hundreds of student-athletes off the court. Rocky’s competitive drive and pursuit of championships will only be overshadowed by his desire for young men to develop a Championship relationship with Christ while at MNU. We honor and thank him for his service to our University.”
In addition to his work at MNU, each summer Lamar holds the Rocky Lamar Fundamentally Driven Basketball Camp, where thousands of young people have learned the basics of basketball. Along the way, Lamar provides an example of his Christian faith to campers. His wife Dr. Jo Lamar has contributed much to the university and to the camp.
Spittal says the MNU family congratulates Coach Lamar on his outstanding career and looks forward to celebrating his exemplarily service early next year.

Tagged with: