Lancaster Bible has hired Andrew Wingreen as its new men's basketball coach. Wingreen, who was an assistant coach at Bethel, the NAIA school in Indiana, this past season, takes over for Zach Filzen who departed earlier this spring for the same position at Lawrence.
Wingreen has also made stops at Bob Jones (2012-17), Rockford (2011-12) and also assisted on the men's basketball team at his alma mater, Northland International (2007-11). Wingreen earned his bachelor's from NIU in 2011, and then earned his master's from Concordia-Irvine in 2013.
Lancaster Bible will be Wingreen's first time at the helm of a program, something he has been both patiently waiting and excited for.
"It excites me to take all of the experiences I have had over the past decade and use what I have learned," Wingreen said. "There have been so many things I have seen used as an assistant coach, and I feel like I have a good idea of what will work and other things I may need to adjust."
Wingreen takes over a program that has won two North Eastern Athletic Conference championships over the past three years, and has gone 64-21 in that span. Wingreen explained the team's recent success, as well as the team's current makeup, drew him to the position.
"I like that there are clear-cut expectations for the program," Wingreen said. "The mindset is to win and play good basketball, and the foundation of the program is very strong. Lancaster Bible is in a great area to recruit student-athletes to, and there is so much potential for not only the program, but the entire school as well."
Wingreen's style of up-tempo offense and stifling defense will play well with a program that scored 85 points or more in a game eight times last season.
"I want us to play exciting basketball and have fun, something the team appears to have been doing quite a bit of in recent years," Wingreen said. "We have pieces here to be successful, and I think by moving a few guys around and getting guys in right places, we could have even more success."
During his visit to campus, Wingreen remarked that it was very apparent the team likes playing alongside one another, something he hopes to take full advantage of during the 2018-19 season and beyond.
"It's very obvious the guys not only like playing basketball with one another, but truly enjoying being together off of the floor as well," Wingreen explained. "There is some untapped potential in each of the players as well, and as we look to build a championship mindset, we will hope to tap into some more of that potential."
Lancaster Bible athletic director Pete Beers said the process of finding a men's basketball is always a challenge, but that it became apparent Wingreen had risen to the top by the end.
"It has been a great process, and we had many amazing candidates to choose from," Beers said. "We are thankful that Andrew rose to the top, and I believe he is ready to lead this program and is the right person to take the men's basketball program to a higher level of excellence."
Beers also said he believes Wingreen will show the young men in the program what leadership looks like both on and off the floor.
"What excites me most about Andrew is I believe he is the right person to help shape future leaders by using the platform of basketball to help fulfill the mission of our department and institution," Beers explained. "I believe he, along with his wife Julie, will be heavily invested in this development and we are thrilled to partner with them in this journey."
Wingreen expanded on Beers' thoughts, saying he couldn't wait to begin having an impact not only with the basketball team, but the institution as a whole.
"The people we met on our trip to campus were so friendly and real," Wingreen said. "We share the same heartbeat to help students succeed, and are excited to use athletics to show people who Jesus is. I appreciate Pete and Josh Beers, and all of those involved in the hiring process, taking time to show us what Lancaster Bible is all about, and we cannot wait to start making an impact alongside so many good people."
The Chargers went 23-6 last season, as well as 15-1 in NEAC play, en route to their second-ever Division III NCAA Tournament berth.