Following the retirement of Mike Lightfoot, assistant coach Ryne Lightfoot has been named as the head basketball coach at Bethel College. He will officially take over at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.
Ryne Lightfoot, who is currently in his sixth season as an assistant coach, is a 2010 Bethel College graduate where he also received his master’s degree in 2013.
After a standout playing career at Bethel, Lightfoot returned as an assistant coach in 2011.
“I’m excited to take the next step in my journey as the head men’s basketball coach at Bethel College,” stated the younger Lightfoot. “I’ve had the opportunity to not only spend the last six seasons with my dad as an assistant, but learning from one of the all-time greats. My goal is to not only continue on, but build on the success he has established over the past three decades.
Since Lightfoot joined his father’s coaching staff, the Pilots have posted a record of 133-52 (.719%), won back-to-back Crossroads League Tournament Championships in 2013 and 2014 , added two Sweet Sixteen finishes in 2013 and 2016 and an Elite Eight finish in 2014.
Accolades aside, the head coaching job was something that was earned and not given.
“We knew we had qualified candidates on our men’s basketball staff in Ryne and Tony Natali,” stated Bethel College Athletic Director Tom Visker.
“I’ve been extremely blessed to be with Coach Lightfoot for 19 years,” said Natali. “For our coaching staff, I’m excited for all of our new chapters in life. I felt an increased passion in the area of athletic administration and with Coach Lightfoot stepping down it was made clear God was leading me in this direction and to continue leading our track program here at Bethel.”
As a Pilot, Ryne re-wrote the Bethel record books finishing his collegiate career with 2,075 points (10th all-time), 702 assists (5th all-time) and 500 rebounds (34th all-time). Ryne and two-time NAIA Player of the Year Rico Swanson (1998) are the only two players at Bethel to finish their careers with over 2,000 points, 700 assists and 500 rebounds.
As a 6’3, 215-pound point guard, Ryne was highly recruited coming out of NorthWood High School, where he finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,673). Lightfoot had NCAA Division-I offers, but after his numerous campus visits, decided on Bethel College because of its perfect fit academically, athletically and spiritually.