Bethany College announces that former long-time men’s head basketball coach, Clair Oleen, will join the college’s Institutional Advancement Office as Director of Development as of June 1, 2017.
Oleen will focus his time primarily on encouraging engagement with Bethany among alumni and friends and raising funds for the Bethany Annual Fund. He will also work on special fundraising efforts.
David Earle, Vice President for Advancement, stated, “Clair joining the Advancement/Alumni office is a win for Bethany as a whole. The many relationships he has developed over decades will provide a great foundation for Clair to build on as we all pull together to move Bethany forward and upward.”
President Will Jones, says, “Bethany is known for producing successful professionals who love God and love people. Coach Oleen is one such alumnus. I am hopeful that Clair’s commitment to Bethany, and his strong connections with our alumni and friends, will result in many philanthropic victories for today’s students.”
Oleen masterfully controlled the Bethany basketball sideline as the winningest coach in the college’s history for 38 years. The Dean of KCAC men’s basketball coaches, Oleen racked up a career record of 541-487. His teams earned 208 wins on the women’s side, making him the winningest women’s coach in Bethany history, and 333 wins on the men’s side, making him the winningest men’s coach in Bethany history as well. He led numerous all-conference student-athletes, eight NAIA All-American athletes, over 100 academic NAIA Scholar-Athletes, and six players who went on to play professionally. Oleen earned the Kansas Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year award and was the 2003 men’s NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Coach of the Year.
Oleen thinks the transition from coaching to working with the Advancement Office will be an easy one for him. For Oleen as a coach, it was always about the team. His players and their growth were the most important part of being a coach. His favorite coaching memory is not a specific win or even a national championship game appearance; it is the relationships he built with the players. He hopes to bring this attitude with him in his new role. Oleen expressed his love of seeing his players succeed and grow, not only on the court, but also off the court and later in life.
“It’s about the people. When you have a program, you have to surround yourself with good people. It doesn’t matter if it’s a business, if it’s a sports team, or a college. Your greatest resource is your people,” Oleen said.