In celebration of the men’s basketball’s national victory, Vanguard hosted a championship rally for all of the Vanguard community to attend. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters packed The Pit. Attendees filled the gym floor seating, the bleachers and the balcony.
At the entrance, the men’s basketball champion team and also the women’s basketball team, who were ranked No. 1 in the NAIA throughout the season until a hard loss at the national tournament, greeted attendees with free t-shirts. Also, members of Vanguard’s staff handed out blue and gold “Go Lions” posters.
Serving as the MC for the rally, KOCE’s Ed Arnold kicked off the event with Vanguard’s new cheer: “Ooh! Aah! You wish you were a Lion.” The cheer that resounded in The Pit throughout the season as losing teams hung their heads, defeated by the Lions.
During the rally, various coaches, athletic staff and Vanguard president Michael Beals gave short speeches thanking the individuals who supported the team along the way. In his introduction, Arnold talked about the team being more than just excellent basketball players. “Character-wise and otherwise these are outstanding people,” he said.
Before a final word from president Beals, a photo and video montage of the NAIA national tournament played. Then, while the lights were still low, We are the Champions began to play and everyone’s attention shifted to a black curtain at the back of the stage. As the curtain began to peel away, glimpses of a bright red banner brought the crowd to their feet with cheering and applause. Attendees whipped out their phones to snap photos and record videos as the curtain dropped to reveal the “2014 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Champion” banner.
In his closing remarks, President Beals congratulated the men’s team and assured them that throughout the rest of Vanguard’s existence their banner would remain on the wall of whatever gym facility Vanguard has. President Beals also gave an encouraging word for students to cultivate their God-given talents, whatever they may be, like the members of the men’s team had cultivated their athletic talents.
To learn more about Vanguard’s men’s basketball team and their journey, click here.