Coach Jim Kessler Announces His Retirement

by Lorena Oplinger

Grace Sports Department held a Press Conference on Monday, Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. at the MOCC Alumni Suite for Jim Kessler to announce his retirement as the head coach of Grace’s men’s basketball team. After more than five decades of coaching for the Lancers, Kessler decided it is time for him “to pass the baton and cheer for one of my coaching proteges, Scott Moore.”

Kessler graduated from Grace College in 1970, but he started his coaching career with the Grace Lancers in 1977. This made him one of the few alumni coaches that Grace ever had. As a head coach, he helped the Lancers achieve 770 career wins and more than 20 wins within 18 seasons. “Coach K.,” as he loves to be called, has been ranked #1 among active coaches in the NAIA DII. He has also been inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2016, the NCCAA Hall of Fame in 1994, and Grace’s Hall of Fame in 2008.

Nobody wears better the red jacket than Coach K.,” said Chad Briscoe, Grace Director of Athletics. Integrity, commitment, and Christian excellence were some of the many attributes Briscoe listed to describe Coach Kessler’s career.

Briscoe also announced that Scott Moore has been named the new head coach of the men’s basketball team. According to the press release provided to the media on Monday, “Moore has been an assistant on Kessler’s staff for seven years…He was a point guard for the Lancers from 2004-08…[and] He also coached Grace’s women’s tennis team from 2013-16.” Moore has a great responsibility ahead of him. “He will start building on the legacy that Coach K is leaving,” Briscoe said.   

Moore began his remarks by thanking his wife, parents, and siblings for their support throughout the years. However, he wanted to take the time to recognize the impact that Coach Kessler has produced in his life. According to Moore, “It is important to have in your life a person to be a spiritual mentor,” and Coach Kessler has become a mentor for many young men, including him.

Moore committed to play basketball for Coach Kessler in 2004. He learned from Coach Kessler that “coaching basketball is more than winning and losing games.”  Coach Kessler has led the team as an example of love, patience, and discipline. “You forever be my coach and I will be your point guard,” he ended.

Dr. Bill Katip, President of Grace College, provided some remarks about the outstanding job of Coach Kessler throughout the past four decades. “Jim cares more about his players and people than his wins and losses,” he said.

The Lancers celebrated their 50 year anniversary last Summer. “Coach Kessler brought character and competence to the team and credibility to Grace College,” said Katip. “His fingerprints are visible in many, many areas.”

Dr. Katip ended his remarks by saying that “as we celebrated the past, we are also excited for the future.” He then welcomed to Moore as the new head coach of the men’s basketball team.

For more information about the NCCAA National Championships and/or follow Coach Kessler’s final games, visit

Image above: (Left to Right) President Bill Katip, Jim Kessler, Scott Moore, and Chad Briscoe all attended the press conference to wish Jim a fond farewell.