After years of moving around, Steve Drabyn has found his home at Bethel University.

Graduating from Belmont University in 2004, he worked as an assistant coach in Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida. But he had kept his eye on Indiana: “the best state for basketball.”

Drabyn especially liked Bethel University, a team he had watched for years with his father, a varsity basketball coach for more than 30 years. Bethel has a great men’s basketball athletic tradition, but more than that, the university seeks out the type of athletes he loves to coach, with high character, academics and work ethic – on and off the court, Drabyn says.

“For me, it’s not about where I coach, it’s about why I coach. It’s about impacting young men as people, as students, as family members,” says Drabyn.

Drabyn kicked off a great first season at Bethel in 2019, winning their first 15 games, but a series of injuries and illnesses sidelined several players. They didn’t make it into the NAIA tournament, but they did make it into the NCCAA tournament before the country shut down due to COVID-19.

While the team was disappointed, Drabyn used the experience as a learning opportunity about perspective and how anything can be taken away at any time.

Drabyn continued to keep his team in touch, with weekly Zoom meetings where they discussed everything from the pandemic to racial inequity, and small groups with deeper discussion. His players had a great semester academically, and the experience made the team closer, Drabyn says.

Building those connections with his team is a key role for Drabyn as a pastor-coach, one of the main reasons he was drawn to the job at Bethel. Drabyn has a prayer list for each of his players and they have devotionals before games.

“Sure, we want to win games and championships, and be the best players we can be. But at the end of the day, you want them to succeed when they get done with their program; be guys that are going to be great fathers, workers and spiritual leaders,” Drabyn says.

About Coach Drabyn
Position: Bethel University Men’s Basketball Head Coach
Hometown: LaPorte, Ind.
Previous coaching experience: Assistant coach at Seewanee, Tenn.;
Lees-McCrae College, N.C.; Carmel High School, Carmel, Ind.; Stetson
University, Fla.; Lipscomb University, Tenn.
BU Season record: 22-11
College: Belmont University, Tenn.
Position played: Combo guard, point and shooting guard
Favorite college teams (besides Bethel): Teams that share the ball,
like Villanova, Butler, Gonzaga, Virginia