April 11, 2022
KANSAS CITY, Mo.— As the most exciting time in NCAA college basketball comes to a close for the year, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA, www.fca.org) is proud to present its annual John Lotz “Barnabas” Award to Indiana Wesleyan University’s (IWU) Greg Tonagel for his leadership, dedication and commitment both on and off the court.
The award is given annually to honor a basketball coach who best exhibits a commitment to Christ, integrity and encouragement to others, and lives a balanced life. Tonagel is the 20th winner of the “Barnabas” Award, named for former North Carolina assistant and Florida head coach John Lotz.
“Greg Tonagel exemplifies the ideals of the John Lotz Award—commitment, integrity and encouragement,” said Shane Williamson, FCA President and CEO. “For almost 20 years in basketball, we have loved watching Tonagel lead both on and off the court and truly impact the lives of his players.”
Tonagel etched himself into the Indiana Wesleyan Basketball record books, setting program coaching records for most wins (478), highest winning percentage (.802), most NAIA National Tournament wins (34), most NAIA National Tournament appearances (14), most Crossroads League Regular Season Championships (13), and most CL Tournament Championships (5). IWU has also enjoyed 8 seasons with at least 30 wins under Coach Tonagel and possess a current streak of 16-straight seasons with at least 20 wins.
Off the court, Tonagel has invested time to share God’s Word at IWU FCA campus huddle meetings, led chapels at FCA Leadership Camp for high school and middle school students and served as the keynote speaker for an FCA Banquet as well.
Coach Tonagel also joined the FCA Coaches Chat— a weekly fellowship time for coaches over Zoom in 2020— to share how God was working in his and his players’ hearts immediately following the cancellation of the 2020 NAIA National Tournament. IWU was warming up for its First-Round game as a number one seed poised to win a 4th national title when they received word that the tournament had been cancelled, and Coach Tonagel used that opportunity to share the hope of Christ with others during a time of great disappointment for the program.
Tonagel’s coaching mission is “to raise a generation of men who will trade the pursuit of ‘me’ for the pursuit of ‘three,’” meaning that Christ should be a first priority, followed by others, then the self.
Tonagel and his wife, Amy, have six children, Jace, William, Allie, Riley, Abbigail, and Joel.
Since its launch by FCA in 2003, the “Barnabas” Award has honored an impressive and impactful lineup of coaches. Past winners and their respective schools at the time of the award are: John Wooden, UCLA (2004); Steve Alford, Iowa (2006); Ritchie McKay, Virginia (2009); Tom Crean, Indiana (2013); Hubert Davis, North Carolina (2018); Scott Drew, Baylor (2019); Tony Bennett, Virginia (2020); and Brad Soucie, Liberty University (2021).
FCA’s theme for 2022 is Every, based on Ephesians 1:3: “All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.” FCAreminds Christian coaches and athletes that they already have everything they need in Christ and encourages them to seek Him both on and off the field.
After extensive growth, FCA has reached millions of people with the Gospel. View a timeline of FCA’s 68-year history here, including videos, quotes, articles, leader profiles, Camp themes, photos and more.