Ashland University's athletic department will have Faith Day on Feb. 2, when the Eagle women's and men's basketball teams play host to Grand Valley State at 1 and 3 p.m., respectively, at Kates Gymnasium.
"We're excited to introduce this new event to the campus and Ashland area community," said Ashland Director of Athletics Al King. "The concept comes from Major League Baseball, which has done a splendid job with its Faith Night programs. This is an opportunity for people to see our student-athletes and coaches in an entirely different light. We believe they have a powerful message to share, and this is an excellent forum to bring people together."
At halftime of both basketball games, Eagle student-athletes will share their faith testimonies. After the end of the men's game, the AU collaborative band will play worship songs, leading up to the Faith Day presentation, scheduled to begin approximately 20 minutes after the conclusion of the men's game in the gym. While the band is playing, there will be pizza and beverages for those in attendance.
The presentation will include King, Rev. Joe Maggelet, Ashland University's athletics chaplain and Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) advisor; three Ashland University head coaches, Eagle student-athletes from a variety of sports, and Dr. Carlos Campo, Ashland University President. City of Ashland Mayor Matt Miller will give the closing prayer following the presentation.
Miller also will be the AU men's basketball 212 Club honorary captain for the game vs. the Lakers.
"Faith Day is a celebration," said Maggelet. "Players and coaches are going to talk about their faith on a platform they do not usually get a chance to do. This will strengthen our relationship with the community and our local churches."
Said John Bouquet, National Day of Prayer chairman for the Ashland County Ministerial Association and senior pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in nearby Savannah, Ohio, "AU Faith Day is a monumental opportunity for the faith community and the university to partner by spotlighting student-athletes who are walking out their faith in Jesus Christ. Student-athletes and coaches will be sharing their life verses, the story of their Christian journey and hear first-hand how they live out their Christianity in their daily lives. Faith Day will be a highlight of the season for many fans and athletes of all sports."
Ashland University's men's basketball team is ranked No. 6 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Division II coaches' poll, and is 13-0 overall and 6-0 in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. The Eagle men lead the GLIAC by two games just six contests into the conference season.
AU's women's basketball team is No. 7 in the latest Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division II Top 25 Coaches' Poll, and is 13-1 overall and 5-1 in the GLIAC. The Eagle women are both second in the GLIAC overall standings and in the GLIAC South Division standings.
Ashland's athletic department is one of only two in D-II to have two basketball teams ranked in the top seven in the nation (Indiana, Pa. – No. 1 in women's basketball, No. 3 in men's basketball).
For more information on Faith Day, call the AU athletic department at 419-289-5441.