SHAWNEE—Chris Jensen knows who his football team represents. On Aug. 31, Oklahoma Baptist University (OBU) will field its first football team since 1940, and Jensen will be there to lead the squad for that monumental event on Bison Hill.
Ask him who these athletes in green, gold and black will be competing for, he will say it’s more than OBU.
“There are a lot of expectations ,” said Jensen who has served as a deacon at Oklahoma City, Emmaus. “I realized that even going through the interview process, before I talked to anybody about this job. I know that the head football coach is not only the head football coach of OBU, but also represents the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma (BGCO), and I see that as our responsibility. I want this to be a team that the BGCO can rally behind and really throw their support towards.”
Jensen knows about starting a football squad from scratch. He comes to OBU from Southmoore High School, where he began the football program in 2008. In the SaberCats’ second year, the squad finished 11-2 and reached the Class 6A semifinals. Jensen was named Oklahoma 6A-1 Coach of the Year in 2009.
The thought of coaching at OBU actually came to Jensen as early as 2010. He said he discussed the idea with a current player’s dad who is an OBU graduate, even before they knew OBU was going to bring football back.
When OBU officially announced the university was reviving the football program, Jensen said he did have some early reservations about applying for the head coaching position. He had a good thing going at Southmoore. His family was well adjusted, especially his son who has some special circumstances which require him to need an aide at school.
Through prayer and fasting, Jensen knew he should pursue coaching at OBU. He also realized coaching at a Christian university would be a great opportunity.
“In the public school setting, to approach things from a Christian perspective is a risk,” he said. “I didn’t mind taking that risk because I trusted God had me where I needed to be and doing what I was supposed to be doing. As I look back and see how I’ve been prepared (to coach at OBU) and don’t mind standing in front of a church congregation, delivering the Word, I know God has me here for a purpose.”
Jensen was named OBU’s head football coach in January, 2012. From the very beginning, he knew what he had to do to prepare for this upcoming season, which included getting involved in state Baptist work such as making frequent appearances at Falls Creek during the summer Youth Weeks.
“I do really believe we represent all the Baptist churches in Oklahoma, and I think there’s not a better way to prove that by showing up at Falls Creek and showing support for OBU, trying not only to generate excitement for our university, but also for our football program,” he said.
OBU kicks off the 2013 season at home against Southwestern College (Kan.) at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 31.
///BISON FOOTBALL NAMES EIGHT CAPTAINS
OBU announced its football captains for the season, naming eight players to the honor
Defensive captains are Christian Edmonds, Kimes Gilbert, Nelson Mederios and Keegan Metcalf. Offensive captains are Turner Coon, Clae Grauer, Nyko Symonds and Blake Woodard.
“I know that our players selected captains that will represent this team in the right way,” said Jensen. “It wasn’t my plan to have so many, but the voting dictated that we have four on offense and four on defense. I know that we have been blessed with strong leaders, and my prayer is that God gives them wisdom and courage as they step into this new role.”
Edmonds is a defensive lineman from Ardmore; Gilbert is a defensive lineman from Oklahoma City; Mederios is a defensive back from Edmond; and Metcalf is a linebacker from Elk City. Coon is a wide receiver from Dale; Grauer is a quarterback from Claremore; Symonds is a wide receiver from Oklahoma City; and Woodard is a quarterback from Newcastle.