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Ford Mastin Named NAIA Coach of Character

March 11, 2014
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By: Sam Knehans, Communications & Sports Information Intern

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ford Mastin of Oklahoma Baptist University has been named the 2013 NAIA Coach of Character, the national office announced Tuesday. This prestigious award is given annually to an NAIA head coach who has embraced the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character program, demonstrated character through sport and instilled a culture of community leadership through volunteering or service. Mastin, the Oklahoma Baptist head cross country and track & field coach, will be formally recognized at the 73rd Annual NAIA Convention Awards Luncheon on Sunday, April 12 in Kansas City, Mo.

Since returning to his alma mater in 1996-97, Mastin has built a winning tradition at Oklahoma Baptist. His cross country and track & field teams have won eight National Championships and have produced more than 300 All-Americans during his tenure.

Beyond athletic performance, Mastin also teaches, mentors and challenges student-athletes in the area of character development. He established and continues to organize Champions of Character team meetings several nights each fall, where Oklahoma Baptist alumni return to speak to the team regarding the five core values of integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.

“The alumni love to be invited back to encourage the current team and to emphasize what things were important to them as students and how it is applied to life today,” writes Mastin in a team document entitled Champions of Character Applications on the Track. “This has proven to be very successful, mainly because the athletes have seen their pictures and records and heard stories of their success and commitment.” 

After these Champions of Character team meetings, the current Oklahoma Baptist student-athletes prepare skits illustrating each of the core values, which are later presented to local elementary schools, furthering the reach of the Champions of Character message.

Because of this strategic approach to teaching the five core values of the Champions of Character program, M. Dale Griffin, Oklahoma Baptist Dean of Spiritual Life and Campus Character Liaison calls Mastin, “the most intentional Coach of Character.” “Not only does Coach Ford Mastin know how to discover athletes of character, he knows how to develop them,” said Griffin. 

Landon Willets, a former Oklahoma Baptist student-athlete who nominated Mastin for the award, was one of the many student-athletes who were personally touched by Mastin’s character and resolve, after losing both his mother and sister in a tragic car accident.

“This award exemplifies not only the professional and coaching characteristics that Ford Mastin demonstrates every day on campus, at practice and at track and cross country meets throughout the country; it embodies the father, the husband, the friend and the man of God that has impacted the lives of so many,” said Willets. “Anyone who has been through the Oklahoma Baptist track and cross country program has witnessed the internal strength and resolve he displays, his respectful approach to coaching and teaching, his ability to bind the individual to the good of the team, his tactful sportsmanship and his innate ability to lead by example.”

Mastin is known for his devotion to his student-athletes and his commitment to character development, but the key to his success comes in tying character to athletic performance. “Practicing running drills and throwing techniques become significant if they are associated with the values that others may observe as we are placed in the public eye through the avenue of competitive athletics,” writes Mastin.

For his commitment to character education, his demonstration of character through sport and his impact on Oklahoma Baptist student-athletes, we recognize Ford Mastin as the 2013 NAIA Coach of Character.