ACU Students Top GSAC in Operation Christmas Child Competition

ACU Students Top GSAC in Operation Christmas Child Competition

ACU student-athletes took up a challenge from their athletic conference and packed and donated the most Operation Christmas Child boxes of any university in the Golden State Athletic Conference. Samaritan’s Purse, a Christian organization that provides spiritual and physical aid to people around the world, started the Operation Christmas Child initiative in 1993. By inviting churches, schools, businesses and individuals to participate, they have collected and delivered more than 115 million shoeboxes to children in need. The boxes are filled with age-specific special gifts, school supplies and hygiene items and sent to more than 100 countries, where pastors and community leaders share the Gospel. Arizona Christian University students have participated in the past, but this year chose to take on a few extra challenges. The student body held a competition between graduating classes, with seniors beating the other three classes and freshman coming in a close second. A few ACU staff members and alumni participated as well, and together with the student participation contributed more than 300 boxes to Operation Christmas Child. The athletic department took on the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) competition between all nine member schools in the conference. Student-athletes from nine ACU teams came together to win the challenge by providing 180 boxes, almost double the amount of the next-closest competitor and making up 30 percent of the GSAC total of 598 boxes. The Firestorm athletic teams also competed against each other and the baseball team’s winning contribution alone would have won the GSAC competition for ACU. “I’m really proud of our student body for getting involved, especially because at the end of the semester...
Athletic Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Rutter Nears 100 Wins, Grows NAIA Athletic and Academic Powerhouse

Athletic Director and Head Men’s Basketball Coach Jeff Rutter Nears 100 Wins, Grows NAIA Athletic and Academic Powerhouse

In the peaceful suburbs of north Phoenix, a southern California transplant has quietly been building a national powerhouse college basketball program at the NAIA level at Arizona Christian University. Jeff Rutter, a long-time assistant coach at Azusa Pacific and star player for Concordia University in Irvine, CA, made the move to Phoenix less than 5 years ago with his wife Kristen and never looked back. Taking over a new NAIA program in the desert at former Southwestern College, he has kept ACU in the top 25 in the nation for five consecutive years while also serving as athletic director for a growing University. “To be honest, I had no idea how good Jeff Rutter was going to be,” said Len Munsil, who after becoming President of then-Southwestern College in the fall of 2010 immediately set about building an elite Christian liberal arts university, for which athletics would be an important element. “I knew I liked him, I knew he understood and believed in the vision of what ACU could be, but I had no idea how good he would be at recruiting and coaching basketball, let alone how well he would build our athletic program. He has been a key part of ACU’s resurgence and growth.” This week Rutter is likely to surpass 100 career coaching wins, less than midway through his fifth season. Arizona has seven 4-year college basketball programs, and Rutter’s winning percentage of .726 (98-37) ranks him just a shade behind the University of Arizona’s Sean Miller (.743) and well ahead of Arizona’s five other college basketball coaches. [See chart below.] Arizona Christian University plays at...
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