LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN, Ga. – Andy Euler, the men's basketball coach at Covenant College, has resigned to take the same position at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois. Covenant turned to one of its own, hiring former Scots point guard Nathan Kirkpatrick to take over the Scots program.
Kirkpatrick returns to the Lookout Mountain campus from the University of Georgia, where he has been completing his Master's degree in Sports Management & Policy and teaching undergraduate classes. Prior to his year in Athens, Georgia, Kirkpatrick had spent two years on Dale Layer's staff at Colorado State University.
"I'm extremely excited to have Nathan Kirkpatrick rejoining our men's basketball program at Covenant College," said Roy Heintz, Covenant's Director of Athletics. "He is a fine Godly man, a great young coach with a strong coaching pedigree from his time under Dale Layer at Colorado State, and since he graduated from Covenant, he has wanted to return to be our head coach. I'm confident that Nathan will continue to build on the work of Coach Euler, but will definitely bring his own style and philosophy to the program."
Euler spent two years at Covenant College and also served as the Assistant Athletic Director. He had been the boy's basketball coach and head of the Bible department at Wheaton Academy for the previous eighteen years, and his family had returned this year to the Chicago area so that his wife could continue her educational pursuits.
"We are obviously saddened to see Andy Euler leave us, but this move is really the best thing for his family. The Chicago area has really been home for the Euler family, and their roots were very deep there, so it is great for Andy to have the opportunity to move back to Trinity International," said Heintz.
"Trinity really was aggressive in pursuing him, and like us, they believe that Andy will bring them great success, with a Christ-centered focus. We definitely will miss him, and feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to work alongside him – but we feel equally blessed to be able to turn to Nathan Kirkpatrick to take over. It is great when one of your own has such a strong desire to return, and it will make for a smooth and easy transition."
Kirkpatrick grew up in the Athens, Georgia area, in Watkinsville, and was the ICSGA Boy's Basketball Player of the Year in 2001 for Westminster Christian Academy where he was a four-year starter and the school's career and single-season all-time leading scorer. He then played for the Scots from 2001-2005 where he started at point guard, served as a team co-captain in his final two seasons, and earned Appalachian Athletic Conference All-Academic honors.
At Colorado State, Kirkpatrick served his first year as the Administrative Assistant Coach and then was the Director of Basketball Operations his second year. In addition to directing the Rams basketball camps, he was deeply involved in individual player development, working alongside and learning from Bill Peterson. Heintz and Kirkpatrick both call Peterson "the best coach in America when it comes to individual player development." Peterson is now on Scott Skiles coaching staff with the Milwaukee Bucks, and gained renown for his work with the Dallas Mavericks and their young stars at that time – Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, and Michael Finley.
Heintz says that Kirkpatrick's time in Fort Collins, Colorado will pay dividends as a head coach at Covenant, "I have known Dale Layer and Bill Peterson for over twenty years, and both of those coaches are really great at all aspects of the job. To see how much Nathan learned from them in his time on their staff – game and practice planning, individual player development, how to run a quality program – those were invaluable experiences for Nathan and have prepared him well for this opportunity."
Kirkpatrick is overjoyed with the opportunity to fulfill a dream, and become the head coach at his alma mater, "The opportunity to serve as the Men's Basketball Coach at Covenant is incredible, but for me it is magnified, because it happens to be at my alma mater - a place that I love and cherish. It has been my goal ever since I left Covenant to be able to come back here and serve young men as a leader, teacher, mentor and coach."
"God's provision with this new chapter in my life is extremely humbling, and I am incredibly grateful to President Nielson and the rest of the Covenant administration for this wonderful opportunity. My strong love for Covenant College and its Christ-centered education has stayed with me ever since I left as an undergraduate, and now I am excited to bring that love back as I focus on investing not only in the lives of these young men but also into the Covenant community and surrounding areas."
The Scots return three starters and a stable of young players that earned game experience, from a squad that finished 9-22 overall, and 5-13 in the Appalachian Athletic Conference last season.