The Grace College men's basketball team has been defined by one man over the last 35 seasons and that man is head coach Jim Kessler.
“Coach K” begins his 36th season at the helm of the Lancers basketball program and is currently one of the most winningest active coaches in the nation with 655 victories.
Kessler has led the Lancers one of their most successful stretches in program history with six consecutive national tournaments in the past six years: twice at the NCCAA National Championships (2006-07, 2009-10) and four times at the NAIA National Championships (2007-08, 2008-09, 2010-11, 2011-12). Overall, Grace has made seven appearances in the NAIA Nationals, including the 1992 squad, who finished 32-5 and won the NAIA Division II National Championship.
In 2011-12, Kessler not only won his 650th career game as Grace's coach, but he also led the Lancers to the Crossroads League championship. Grace was the regular season co-champion for the first time since 1992-93 and the outright Crossroads League tournament champion for the first time in program history.
Kessler has enjoyed 14 20-win seasons and three 30-win seasons during his coaching career at Grace. He was inducted into Grace's inaugural Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. He has also been inducted into the NCCAA Hall of Fame (1994) and has been both the the NAIA Coach of the Year (1992) and NCCAA Coach of the Year (1983, 1992)
Most recently, he was named the Crossroads League Coach of the Year in 2009 for taking Grace to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances in the NAIA Nationals and was the NCCAA Regional Coach of the Year in 2012.
It is the journey, not the destination, which keeps Kessler around the game. In his fourth decade, Kessler enjoys not only the practices, but the opportunity to see the impact Christ has on the lives of the players he coaches. It has been his mission over the past 35 years to help his players grow in their faith through missions trips, community service projects, in-season outreach opportunities and Lancer Basketball Camps.
Kessler has led the Lancers on multiple international mission trips over the years, including trips to the Philippines, Jamaica, Bahamas, Egypt, Germany, France and Kenya. He has made extensive contributions on Grace’s campus by establishing campus projects that have raised funds for the college library and for other equipment and programs aimed at enhancing the quality of life at Grace.
In the local community, Kessler has organized annual tournaments to benefit local organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and the Kosciusko County Cancer Care Fund.
For his contributions to the lives of youth in the Warsaw community, Kessler received the 2005 Pete Thorne Memorial Award. In 2006, he received the NABC Guardians of the Game National Award for Service.
Kessler is a 1970 graduate of Grace College where he had a four-year playing career with the Lancer men’s basketball team. He is married to Susanne and the couple has four daughters -- Kim, Sarah, Jenny, and Janelle, four sons-in-law, and seven grandchildren. Kessler and his wife reside in Winona Lake, Ind.
Jon Yeh returns to the ranks of the Lancers basketball staff for his 11th season at Grace. He started as an assistant coach under Jim Kessler from 1999-2006. He then took the head coaching position at Eastern Nazarene College from 2006-09 before returning to Grace in 2009.
While at Eastern Nazarene, Yeh led the program to its most wins in six years in 2008-09, won the Commonwealth Coast Conference Sportsmanship award twice, and recruited players who won conference Rookie of the Week honors three times in his last two seasons.
During his time at Grace, Yeh has recruited four Indiana Top 40 workout participants. He has also helped lead the Lancers to a second-place finish in the NCCAA National Tournament (2003), and the team has improved its record in nearly every year. He also recruited the nucleus of players that led Grace to their back-to-back NAIA Elite Eight finishes in 2008 and 2009.
Yeh attended Illinois Wesleyan University and finished his Bachelor's degree from Taylor University-Fort Wayne. He then earned his Master's from Ball State University.
Yeh and his wife Corrinne reside in Winona Lake, Ind., with their son (Jadon) and two daughters (Mya, Liana).
Scott Moore begins his first season on the sidelines for Grace’s men’s basketball team. He is far from a new face with the Lancers, however.
Moore played from 2004-08 on the Lancers’ basketball squad, ending his career No. 6 all-time in career assists. During his senior season, Moore’s Lancers finished 26-10 and made a run to the Elite Eight round of the NAIA National Championships.
Moore is already off to a quick start on the Lancers’ coaching staff. He has helped land a pair of top caliber players for the 2013 season (Eric Miller, Brock McFarland).
For the past three years, Moore has served as the head assistant coach at Mount Vernon Nazarene University under his brother, Matt Moore. During his short time at MVNU, Moore recruited two Top 40 players from Indiana, an All-State player from Michigan, as well as a number of Ohio All-State performers.
Moore helped develop a pair of 1,000-point scorers with the Cougars and was in charge of the offense and player development. During the 2010-11 campaign, MVNU ranked No. 6 in the NAIA for field goal percentage (48.4) and No. 12 for 3-point percentage (37.9).
Moore played his high school basketball at Columbia City. During his senior campaign, Columbia City achieved a mark of 25-4 and advanced to the state championship game.
After graduating from Grace, Moore decided to play professional basketball in Perth, Australia, for the Wanneroo Wolves of the State Basketball League. Alongside his twin brother Marcus, the Moore brothers led the Wolves to their best record in franchise history at the time. Scott ranked first in the league in steals and third in assists.
Outside of Australia, Moore has traveled and played basketball in numerous countries including China, New Zealand, Belize and Mexico.
Moore graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Grace and is finishing his Master’s degree in physical education from Ball State University. He will be teaching in the physical education department at Grace in the spring.
He is currently engaged to Bridget Bellam.
Don Zawlocki enters his eighth season on the Grace coaching staff. “Coach Z" brings a wealth of experience to the practice floor and sideline for the Lancers with over 20 years of coaching at the Indiana High School level.
Zawlocki was an NCCAA All-American in 1982 when he played at for Bethel College.
A majority of his responsibilities include working with post players along with the Lancers defensive attack. Coach Zawlocki is currently a high school math teacher at Whitko High School. He and his wife have one son, Danny, and the family resides in South Whitley, Ind.