It would be appropriate to look at the contemporary Jim Rickard and see plenty of accomplishments worthy of induction into the Mustang Athletic Hall of Fame. But, that would be shortsighted and unfair to someone who contributed so much to the soccer program as a player before imparting even more to two decades worth of players. All of this is a testimony to a journey that started nearly 25 years ago.
Following his graduation from Richland (WA) High School in 1986, Rickard entered The Master's College where he developed into one of the greatest defenders in the history of the program. His leadership qualities were noted from the outset with his appointment as team captain, a post he would hold throughout his collegiate career. Playing sweeper, Rickard led the Mustangs to 57 victories, three postseason berths, and a pair of National Christian College Athletic Association national championships ('87 and '89) during a sterling four-year career.
Along with his team's success came individual honors for Rickard, whose reputation as a fierce competitor and a sportsman gained positive reviews from coaches all over the country. He was named an NAIA All-American and an All-Far West selection in 1987 and 1989, an NAIA All-District III choice all four years, and the Defensive MVP of the 1987 National Christian College Athletic Association National Tournament. He also finished his career as the only defender in program history to appear on the college's Top 30 scoring list, tallying 48 points (10 goals, 28 assists).
After graduating from the college in 1990 with a degree in Business Administration, Rickard immediately became an assistant coach for the Mustangs, helping the squad to its first-ever NAIA National Tournament appearance the following fall. One year later, Rickard took over the mantle of head coach, beginning a period of unparalleled success at the college.
Over the last 20 years, Rickard has guided the Mustangs to a school-record 247 wins, sixteen playoff appearances, seven NAIA region finals, three NAIA National Tournaments ('91, '92, and '09), and a trio of NCCAA National Championships ('94, '01, and '07). He won the first of three NCCAA Coach of the Year honors in 2001 (the others were in '07 and '09).
Although his 2001 squad won an NCCAA national crown and enjoyed a brief stay at the top of the NAIA's Top 25, the 2009 team achieved the most, winning both the GSAC's regular-season and tournament titles en route to a runner-up finish at the NAIA National Tournament. All of that earned Rickard GSAC Coach of the Year kudos and national coach of the year honors by the NCCAA and NAIA, the first time that's ever happened. His Mustangs, displaying spirited and clean play, also claimed the national tournament's Team Sportsmanship Award.
But Rickard, who has coached over 20 NAIA All-Americans and over 50 NAIA all-region/conference performers, has always been about more than accomplishments on the soccer field. To keep the team's focus on spiritual things, he maintains a year-long discipleship program with his players and has established prayer groups on the team.
A committed husband and father, Jim and his wife of nearly fifteen years, Jolene, live in Santa Clarita with their two daughters, Michaela and Brooke, and son, Trenton. Jim earned his Master's in Business Administration from California Lutheran University in 1999, passed the CPA exam, and works at the Stewardship Services Foundation in the off-season.
Baseball was barely on the radar when Tim Kane enrolled at Los Angeles Baptist College in the fall of 1984. The sport, which had its inception in the mid '70s, had been a nice spring diversion for a dozen or so student-athletes for nearly a decade but one that was never taken seriously by many as evidenced by schedules that never exceeded 24 games.
But, that all changed in the spring of 1985 when Kane became one of the pioneers who led the program out of irrelevance to legitimate status as an intercollegiate sport. Wasting little time acclimating to the college game as a freshman, he hit a remarkable .405, belted nine home runs, and drove in a team-high 46 runs as the squad won a program-best 14 games. That earned him the rare accomplishment of being named the college's Athlete of the Year as a freshman.
A year later, the Mustangs won 20 times in an expanded schedule and Kane was a major contributor, hitting .315 and driving in 11 runs, even though he saw limited action due to his recovery from right arm surgery.
In 1987, the Mustangs went 24-20, establishing another single-season record for wins and finishing above the .500 mark for only the second time in program history. Kane drove in 25 runs and hit a solid .255. But that was all window dressing for his senior year when he raised his batting nearly 100 points to .353 while driving in 36 runs as the Mustangs equaled their win total from the previous campaign.
When he graduated from The Master's College in the spring of 1988 with a degree in Business Administration, Kane was at the top of the charts for at-bats (518), runs scored (130), rbi (118), hits (172), and doubles (42). It's testimony to his production at the plate that over 20 years later, his name still appears on three (runs scored, rbi, and doubles) of those lists.
After his final season, Kane traded his spikes for the business world where the Lord has blessed his work for over two decades. He started at Lockheed as a production manager for one year, moved on to Page Digital for a year, and then found his niche in sales at Money Mailer, a company that served the business-to-consumer and the business-to-business community in all aspects of direct mail marketing.
During his nearly ten years with MM, he developed into the country's top sales representative and then bought a company franchise that became the top-producing office in the nation for eight consecutive years. Selling the franchise in the summer of 1999, he started an e-mail marketing business and that he eventually merged with his current company, Coupons Inc. At CI, he began as a general manager, moved to a senior sales executive position, and has served the past 2½ years as Regional Vice President, Western Sales.
As great and rewarding as those responsibilities are, Tim finds greater satisfaction in his family. He has been married to Wendy (they met at TMC) since 1986 and the couple have raised five children along the way: John Thomas (JT-2010 TMC grad), Whitney, Tanner, McKinley, and Wilson (born in 2010).
Together, the couple and family have been deeply involved at Grace Community Church since 1985. Initially, they worked with the Cornerstone (young marrieds & family) ministry and served in leadership for eight years. After a decade in that ministry, they moved on to high school (ONEIGHTY) staff where they've been ever since. During their five years working with the youth, they've enjoyed hosting a weekly Bible study at their home in Placerita Canyon.
Since its inception hundreds of years ago, golf has given off the impression that it is simply an individual sport, one where each participant is responsible only for what he or she does on the course. But, that's not the case in the collegiate ranks where it is very much a team endeavor. And, it is at that level where The Master's College's youngest stand-alone sport has achieved remarkably in just over a decade of existence.
However, in this context it is true that the play of individuals determines a team's success or lack of it. One of those who did just that was Chad Wensel whose play over two years elevated that of his teammates and vaulted him into the elite of college golfers.
Entering the college in the fall of 2002, the Thousand Oaks, California, native made immediate contributions on a team that was on the way to big things. Teaming up with three All-Americans, Wensel was a key component on a Mustang squad that won its first-ever NCCAA national championship.
The following spring, Wensel really took off, nabbing two individual titles as the Mustangs
Won the NAIA Region II championship in late April and then finished the year a month later with a superb third-place showing at the NAIA National Tournament in Florida. Wensel was recognized for his terrific play by being named to the NAIA All-American team.
But, that was just a lead-up to, arguably, the finest year in the history of the program and that of its premier player. In the fall of 2003, the Mustangs successfully defended their NCCAA crown and Wensel's sixth-place finish earned him NCCAA All-American honors.
As fall turned to spring, the Mustangs garnered their second straight regional championship and took seventh place at the national tournament where Wensel went where no Mustang had gone before, winning the NAIA Men's Golf Championship in Olathe, Kansas, becoming the first-ever TMC athlete to capture an individual national title. Capping a memorable year and career, Wensel was named to the 2004 NAIA Men's Golf All-American team.
Since leaving the college, Wensel has been pursuing a career in professional golf. He has gone to Q-School (professional golf's qualifying school), played in a few mini-tournaments on the West Coast, and is currently working at Sherwood Country Club with the goal of qualifying for the PGA Tour.
For the past five years, Wensel has been involved with StillPoint Family Resources, a ministry that helps, among others, disabled and at-risk children. He gives of his time to raise money for the organization by providing golf and surfing lessons. He currently attends Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley.
Deann Lewis and a soccer ball have been inseparable since before she can remember. The love for the game showed during her playing days at The Master's College and continues to display itself as her husband's assistant with the women's soccer team. What is just as evident, however, is her perspective on the sport through the lens of her walk with the Lord.
Much of that started to take focus in the fall of 2001 when Lewis enrolled in the college. It didn't take long for the freshman to adjust to a higher level of play as she tallied a team-high 16 goals, leading the Mustangs to a school-record 12 wins and a runner-up spot at the NCCAA National Tournament. Lewis was all-everything as she earned All-GSAC, All-NAIA Region II, NCCAA All-American honors and took home the NCCAA tourney MVP.
She wasn't as prolific the following year but still managed to kick in 11 goals as the Mustangs' win total dipped to six. Although she tallied a career-low 12 points in her junior year, the club bounced back, going 8-8-2 and she was named an NCCAA All-American for the second time. After marrying Curtis Lewis the following summer, she finished off her career at the college in the fall of 2004, scoring five more goals en route to 14 points.
Etching her name in the record book, Lewis finished her career as the second-highest scorer (84 points) and goal-producer (36 goals) in program history and both of those marks are now No. 3 on each list.
After graduating in May of 2005 with a degree in Biblical Studies, Lewis put her playing experience and knowledge to work immediately in the role of women's soccer coach at Desert Christian High School in Lancaster where she and the Knights strung together three remarkable campaigns. In the winter of 2006, she guided the team to a 18-2-1 record but that was all window dressing to what was about to happen. A year later, the Knights went a jaw-dropping, 26-0-1 and captured the CIF Southern Section Division VI championship as Lewis was named the division coach of the year. In 2008, the team and Lewis duplicated everything from the previous season except for the undefeated record (22-4-3), winning their second straight CIF title and capturing coach of the year honors again.
All that did was earn Lewis a "promotion" to help her husband coach a struggling program at the college. That proved to be a much more difficult task than on the high school level as evidenced by the Mustangs' 2-12-2 mark in 2007. But, a sea change started to take place the following year when the squad recorded a 13-9-1 record, a program-best fourth-place finish in the GSAC, and a runner-up finish at the NCCAA National Tournament.
The dramatic turnaround continued in 2009 with a 15-win campaign and an NCCAA national title after three runner-up finishes and then this past fall the Mustangs raised eyebrows all over the country with a school-record 17 wins, a second-place GSAC finish, and a first-ever berth in the NAIA National Tournament.
Since 2004, Deann, along with Curtis, have served together at Faith Community Church in the Antelope Valley where they worked with the youth and missions ministries. She has been on a missions trip to the Philippines and is planning another one to Egypt this summer.
When Deann is not coaching or serving she is working as a dispatcher for the Beverly Hills Police and Fire Departments.