Chris Lovell enters his first year as the head coach of the men's basketball team bringing years of basketball knowledge and championships to ETBU. His love for the game and spreading the word of Jesus will continue to grow through the foundation already set in the ETBU program.
"We are delighted to welcome Coach Chris Lovell to the ETBU Family, as the next Head Coach for ETBU Men's Basketball. Chris was someone we identified and sought out to follow Coach Curran. His passion and love for Jesus and basketball were evident throughout the process. Coach Lovell's dedication to excellence and using the sport of basketball to minister to his student-athletes is the perfect fit for ETBU and Tiger Basketball. We are excited for Coach Lovell to lead the program in the years to come," said ETBU Vice President for Athletics/Athletic Director Ryan Erwin.
About Chris Lovell
Lovell brings a championship resume to ETBU that will keep the men's basketball program in the top-tier of the ASC. He won three Texas TAPPS 5A state championships (2013-14, 2014-15, 2015-16) at Prestonwood Christian Academy, while being ranked the #1 large private school in Texas. Then, in four years at Bossier Parish Community College, he turned a sub-par program into a program that was competing for a conference championship.
"I'm honored and thankful to have the opportunity to be the next head men's basketball coach at East Texas Baptist University," said Lovell. "ETBU is a special place and is a really good fit for me and my family. We will seek to honor God and continue to build on the foundation that Coach Curran has started here. I'm looking forward to creating and leading a culture of winning while recruiting the best players possible as we seek to represent the Lord and ETBU in the best way possible. I would like to thank Dr. Blackburn, Ryan Erwin and everyone at ETBU for this incredible opportunity. I am excited to get started and to bring an exciting style of basketball to ETBU."
At Bossier Parish Community College
This past season his team went 20-11 for their first 20-win season in over 15 years at BPCC. His team posted a 12-7 record in the NJCAA Region XIV tying for second place, which is the best finish for the program since moving to that region. On February 25, he was named the Hoopdirt.com National NJCAA JUCO Coach of the Week. He is a two-time LABC JUCO Coach of the Year and was the first coach since the early 2000s to post three straight winning seasons.
For the fourth straight season, BPCC qualified for the Region XIV conference tournament. In the 2018-19 season, his team reached the NJCAA Top 25 Poll for the first time in over 20 years. He has also coached the LABC JUCO Player of the Year the past three years.
At Prestonwood Christian Academy
In three seasons as the head coach, Lovell won 99 games and three straight TAPPS 5A state championships. Max Preps had two of his teams ranked 50th (2014-15) and 81st (2015-16) in the nation. In the 2014-15 season, his team was the #5 overall ranked high school team in Texas by Max Preps. He took his teams to national tournaments every year including the Jerry Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas, Nev., and The Max Preps Classic in California.
From 2009-2012, he was the assistant head coach as Prestonwood Christian and won two TAPPS 5A state championship and were runners-up one season. In that year, they were ranked in the national top 10 by USA Today, ESPN, and Max Preps along with winning the #1 high school tournament in the country at the City of Palms Tournament. In his first two seasons as the assistant coach, they were state runners-up each season.
At Grapevine Faith Christian School
In his first position as a head coach at the high school level, Lovell went 19-17 winning the Bi-District championship. His team advanced to the playoffs, which was the first time for the program in five years, and finished third in TAPPS 4A District 1. Before he arrived, the team had only won seven games the year before.
At Trinity Christian Academy
Breaking into high school coaching as an assistant coach at Trinity Christian Academy, Lovell was a part of a strong winning program. In his three years, TCA won the 2008-09 Texas TAPPS 5A state championship and was the 2007-08 TAPPS 1-5A District champions. He was also a finalist for the TABC Assistant Coach of the Year.
Lovell began ministry work in 1996 as the minister to students at Germantown Baptist Church in Germantown, Tenn. He was there 10 years where he oversaw and led student ministries for sixth through 12th grades. He left there for Prestonwood Baptist Church where he served also as the minister to students for six years. At Prestonwood Baptist, a member organization of over 36,000 members, he was in charge of the global student ministries overlooking the staff of three campuses and 5,000 students. He was at this position for six years before moving to Grapevine Faith Christian School as the head men's basketball coach.
He started working in ministry at Kanakuk Camps in 1995 as the basketball head coach and director. He led the specialty camps for seventh through 12th grades.
Lovell was a four-year letterman at LSU-Shreveport playing in the NAIA. He was a three-year starter and a two-time captain for the Pilots. In high school, he played at Trinity Heights Christian Academy helping them to two L.I.S.A State Championships. In his senior season, he was All-District first team and a L.I.S.A. State All-Star game selection. The two-time team captain also helped his team to two district championships.
Lovell graduated from LSU-Shreveport in 1995 with a general studies degree and earned a Master's of Arts in Christian Education from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary in 1999. He and his wife, Amanda, have three children, Paxton, Bowman, and Kerrington, and attend Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, La.
Assistant Coach/Head Developmental Coach
In his first year at ETBU under head coach Brandon Curran, Freeman has spent the past six seasons at Baylor University where he served as a student assistant for four years before being promoted to a graduate assistant coach for the 2017 and 2018 seasons. As a graduate assistant coach, Freeman helped Baylor reach the Sweet 16 during the 2017 season and to a NIT appearance in 2018. His primary responsibilities included assisting with scouting (including breakdowns of opposing personnel and opponent's offensive and defensive schemes) and player development. He also had a major role developing graphic media content for the team and recruits.
During his tenure as a student assistant, Baylor won an NIT Championship in 2013, reached the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2014, and made NCAA Tournament appearances in 2015 and 2016. He graduated from Baylor with a BA in Communication Studies (2016) and MS.Ed. in Sports Management (2018).
Freeman played his prep career at Prestonwood Christian Academy. As a player he helped lead PCA to TAPPS 5A State Championships in 2010 and 2012 and a State Runners Up in 2011.
"I am so excited to welcome Mitch to our ETBU Basketball Family. He picked up so many good things from his time at PCA and Baylor and brings a lot of valuable skills and new ideas to our program. As a graduate assistant, he was able to learn from some of the best player development coaches in the nation. Most importantly Coach Freeman sees coaching as a ministry and aligns with our mission to love and grow the young men in our program. He is going to do an outstanding job leading our developmental program and will be a huge addition to our varsity staff as well. We can't wait for him to get here this summer," says Curran.