Roger Idstrom to stay on Lipscomb basketball staff

Roger Idstrom to stay on Lipscomb basketball staff

The last few weeks brought plenty of change to the Lipscomb men’s basketball program. But one of the team’s steady leaders is staying put. Associate head coach Roger Idstrom will remain on staff, new Lipscomb coach Lennie Acuff announced in his introductory press conference Wednesday. “A big for part for me in taking over the job is that I felt like we needed someone that had been here,” Acuff said. “The more I talked to people, there was no doubt that Roger Idstrom needed to be a part of our staff. “Roger’s a good man and a really good basketball coach, and he’s had an awful lot to do with [Lipscomb’s] success. I really thought he’d make our transition a lot smoother.” Idstrom served as Lipscomb’s interim coach after Casey Alexander departed for Belmont. He talked with recruits, worked on next year’s schedule and kept tabs on the players, even while his own future was up in the air. “Yeah it’s crazy, and it’s been stressful,” he said. “It’s probably been more stressful for my wife and family, just the unknown part of it. But really for me, it’s been focusing on the day-to-day of this program and making sure that our guys are doing what they need to be doing in the classroom.” The 1989 Mars Hill College graduate has also served on the staffs at his alma mater, UNC Asheville, Montreat, Wabash Valley College, Gardner-Webb and Stetson. Idstrom followed Alexander to Lipscomb in 2013 to become associate head coach. Idstrom’s presence brings a welcomed familiarity for Lipscomb’s current players. Rising senior guard Michael Buckland said he is thrilled Idstrom...
Lipscomb track star Jonathan Schwind overtakes opponents, aims for nationals

Lipscomb track star Jonathan Schwind overtakes opponents, aims for nationals

As the Lipscomb track and field team approaches the final stages of its season, one name has stood out among the rest as Lipscomb’s most dangerous weapon. That name is Jonathan Schwind. Schwind is a junior finance major from Suwanee, Georgia.  He graduated from Lambert High School and joined Lipscomb after being scouted by assistant coach Benton Reed. “Coach Reed was the guys’ coach at the time, so he made a trip down and visited our houses, and he even had dinner with us one night,” Schwind said. “All the other coaches would talk on the phone and stuff, but I was like, ‘Okay, this coach is really interested. He came to my house from all the way up here.’” That would be the start of Schwind’s career as a Bison, and although the collegiate level has been a challenge, Schwind has been able to put in the hard work with his coaches and teammates that’s allowed him to achieve the standout season he’s experienced this year. “In high school there’s usually one or two fast guys on a team,” Schwind said. “Now you come to college, and everyone was a top guy at their school, so being able to run with the guys on the team really pushes you and helps you a lot.” “This year I think we’ve just been able to get him more strength,” track and field director Bill Taylor said. “He’s got pretty amazing range, but his sweet spot and the stuff he loves is the eight and the fifteen.” The 800m and the 1500m races are definitely where Schwind has found his stride. At the...
Autism awareness month: exploring what autism is really like

Autism awareness month: exploring what autism is really like

April is known for springtime, rain and Easter. It’s also known as Autism Awareness month, a time to come together and raise awareness for autism. The IDEAL (Igniting the Dream of Education and Access at Lipscomb) Program was founded by Misty Parsley in 2014. It strives to help students with special needs at Lipscomb get the most out of their college experience, including those with autism. Parsley was an autism consultant in her previous line of work, and she has been working with students with autism for most of her career. She now works as the director of special education programs and as a faculty advisor for IDEAL. Parsley said the program strives to individualize how they help students with their needs, everything from their schedule, to finding ways to motivate them to get their work done. “When working with those with autism, you have to somewhat learn as you go,” Parsley said. “You have to be willing to make changes and implement strategies as issues arise and be willing to meet the students where they are. We really just individualize based on their interests, their needs, what’s worked in the past and what we can implement here at Lipscomb.” One student with autism in the program, Cooper Everitt, said the IDEAL program has benefited him, and he enjoys being a part of it. “Lipscomb is a very nice school, and I love doing the IDEAL program,” Everitt said. “It helps me become a better person, to be more flexible and more responsible.” Parsley noted that autism is a constant struggle with social situations and sensory input, and those...
COLUMN: Lennie Acuff a natural fit for Lipscomb basketball

COLUMN: Lennie Acuff a natural fit for Lipscomb basketball

Lennie Acuff once wanted to play basketball for Lipscomb, but he admitted that he “wasn’t good enough” for Don Meyer’s legendary NAIA teams. Instead, the longtime Alabama-Huntsville skipper now gets his chance to coach the Bisons. Lipscomb officially introduced Acuff as its next head coach Wednesday, beginning a new era for a program that is coming off one of its most successful seasons – a year that ended one victory short of an NIT championship. But Acuff was familiar with the Bisons long before they joined the NCAA Division I ranks. He attended Lipscomb basketball summer camps as a kid, and he continued to learn from Meyer as an adult, even visiting his house on at least one occasion. “I think it’s important that everybody knows that I understand what Lipscomb basketball is about,” he said. “[Two] of the guys on my high school team played on the [1986] national championship team – Anthony Jones and Bob Ford. “I would’ve loved to have been a Bison. [Coach Meyer] was the best teacher the game has ever had. I cannot tell you how much he taught me, how much I learned from him and the level of respect I have for what he built here.” Acuff seems like a natural fit for the Bisons. He’s down to earth, family-oriented and speaks with a Southern drawl. He’s also bald, just like Meyer and Casey Alexander – arguably the two best coaches in Lipscomb’s history. But, perhaps most importantly, Acuff has the basketball resume to keep the Lipscomb program on an upward trajectory. His track record at UAH, which includes 437 wins,...
Lennie Acuff ‘convicted’ to keep Lipscomb on upward trajectory

Lennie Acuff ‘convicted’ to keep Lipscomb on upward trajectory

It’s been a busy two days for Lipscomb basketball. Yesterday, Lipscomb welcomed Lauren Sumski as the new head coach for women’s basketball. And today, Lipscomb introduced Lennie Acuff as the new head coach for men’s basketball. Acuff is the winningest coach in the history of the Gulf South Conference, amassing 437 wins over 22 seasons at the University of Alabama-Huntsville. He has a total of 550 wins in 29 seasons. Acuff said he believes that encouraging those around him is crucial. “The most powerful thing you can say to someone is ‘I believe in you,’” Acuff said. Acuff added that he knows there are difficult decisions he’s going to have to make as Lipscomb’s head coach, especially involving players, but he is prepared to make the decisions that bring the most benefit to both the team and the school. “You’ve just got to get guys that you think are good enough to win, but also guys that are good representatives of the school,” Acuff said. “You get guys that want to work — there’s a real big difference between guys that like it, and guys that love it. You need guys that love it.” Before college, Acuff attended basketball camp during the Don Meyer-NAIA era at Lipscomb. Today, he was visibly excited about the opportunity to lead Lipscomb’s program, but that excitement didn’t come without some sadness leaving the school and people he loves in Alabama. “We had a lot of friends,” Acuff said. “We had an unbelievable group of kids, and it’s going to be hard leaving them, but I’m excited to coach these guys and be a...
Kenny Cooper transferring to Western Kentucky

Kenny Cooper transferring to Western Kentucky

Lipscomb guard Kenny Cooper is transferring to Western Kentucky, the Hilltoppers announced in a release Wednesday. Cooper entered his name in the transfer portal April 15, just five days after coach Casey Alexander bolted for the same job at Belmont. He then took an official visit to Bowling Green last weekend. “We’re excited to have Kenny join our program,” WKU coach Rick Stansbury said. “He’s a high-character young man from a great family. He has the valuable ability to make players around him better, and he’ll bring a wealth of experience and toughness to our team.” The loss of Cooper is a tough blow to an already-depleted Lipscomb roster, which is graduating five key seniors. He was set to be the team’s top returning player, having averaged 9.8 points, 4.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game this season. Cooper is currently a junior with one year of eligibility remaining. Non-grad transfers typically have to sit one season before playing, but he plans to apply for an eligibility waiver from the NCAA. Other schools that showed interest in Cooper included Butler, Virginia Tech, Missouri State, UNC Charlotte, Southern Illinois and Loyola Chicago, according to Corey Evans of Rivals.com. Cooper’s departure leaves Lipscomb with just one scholarship point guard in rising sophomore Alex Jones. Columbia Academy’s Carson Cary will be a walk-on next season, and rising senior John Matt Merritt is also a walk-on. New coach Lennie Acuff could look to the transfer portal to fill Cooper’s spot. Nearly 700 players from Division I schools were exploring transfer options as of last week. Photo by McKenzi...