Success in life and basketball both require a team. The Grace University basketball program understands this and focuses on both. Whether your playing NAIA powerhouses or working on projects in your community, team play is a must. We strive to develop young Christian Men with the basic fundamentals that will allow them to succeed both on the and off the court. This requires you to work together as a team, as a family. That is why the program aims to foster a family like atmosphere. At Grace University, the goal is to develop relationships that will allow you to work together as a team to accomplish your goals.
Willie Williams will begin his second year as Grace Men’s Basketball Head Coach.
He began his college career at Nebraska Christian College where he earned his Associates Degree in General Studies and played for the Parsons from 2004-2006. At NCC he was named First-Team All-Conference, Second-Team All Region as well as Team MVP. He transferred to Grace University where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Teacher Education-Secondary History and Coaching and graduated Summa Cum Laude. He played for the Royals under Coach Thad Mott where he was a Captain, received the Total-Release Award, and helped lead the Royals to their first National Championship in 2008 as part of the NCCAA Division II.
Coach Williams understands that he is a young coach but has learned a lot from the coaches he has had over the years such as Coach Joel Hueser, Coach Chris Lahm, and Coach Thad Mott. He says that each of these coaches have taught him a unique aspect about the game of basketball as well as life and that is something that he intends to pass on to his players. Coach Williams’ life verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength”.
Passion and work ethic are the keys to what Coach Williams is looking for in his players. He wants players that have a passion for Christ, a passion for academics, and a passion for the game of basketball. His players must embody all three of those qualities. In order for that passion to grow, Coach Williams requires players that are dedicated to a disciplined work ethic. “Rome wasn’t built in a day” says Coach Williams. He wants players that are willing to put in the time and effort it takes to be champions both on and off the court. He desires his players to be defined as Servant Leaders. “To Lead is to Serve, to Serve is to Lead”.
Coach Williams stresses that Family comes first. He believes that every player in that locker room is part of the Royal Family and thus they take care of one another through the thick and the thin. For him, he is married to his high school sweetheart and Grace University Alum, Kendra, and they have a 3 year old son named Tre and a brand new baby named Carter.
This past year, Coach Williams and his coaching staff laid a foundation for the Royal Way. They finished the season 19-13 and won the Central Region Championship earning a berth in the National Tournament. A number of players earned All-Region Honors and All-American Honors for their performance on the court but also in the classroom. Coach Williams was named Central Region Coach of the Year.
Coach Williams is very excited about this upcoming season as they will be returning a good number of players as they continue to build the frame work upon the foundation that has been laid this past season. This is the Royal Way.
Ben Bolin grew up in Canton, South Dakota. From a very young age, he was involved in sports year-round, participating in soccer, baseball, basketball and football. However, his true passion was for the game of basketball. After graduating from Canton High School in 2006, Ben chose to attend Grace University and play for the men’s basketball team under head coach Thad Mott. From 2006-2010, he played basketball and had the privilege of being a part of Grace University’s 2008 National Championship Team. Ben aims to pass on the values gained and lessons he learned to the basketball team members who play for Grace. The game of basketball gives players the opportunity to grow spiritually, physically, emotionally, and mentally. Ben’s desire is that the Royal players will use their talents and abilities both on and off the court to honor and glorify God, all the while growing closer to Him.
In May 2010, Ben graduated from Grace University with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Accounting. He met his wife, Season, while attending Grace. They currently live in Omaha, and Ben works as a Senior Accountant for a manufacturing company in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Coach Ravi Lulla is beginning his second season as an assistant coach at Grace University. Before coming to Grace, Coach Lulla spent time coaching at Concordia Sr. High, as well as Nebraska Christian College where he also played intercollegiate basketball. He is responsible for developing our strength training program, player development, and scouting reports for the men's basketball team. Outside of basketball, Coach Lulla enjoys spending time with his wife Chelsea, who is a Grace University alumnus.