“I knelt down at center court, and I asked God to use the broken coach that I was and to make something special. And He has.”
Jeanette “Coach” Regier has loved sports her whole life. “When I was in seventh grade,” she said, “I knew I wanted to be a coach. I knew I had a passion for it, but it took quite a few years after that for me to realize that God had given me that passion and if I wanted to use the passion and have it collide with my faith in Jesus that I could be a part of something that I would love coming to every day.”
Regier, who has been the Athletic Director and assistant professor at Calvary University since 1996, said it took quite a while for her to have her heart in the right place. “I really felt like it was all about accomplishments and my identity was wrapped up in what I could accomplish on the court, and that if I worked hard enough, I could get anything I wanted.”
Changing her perspective changed her coaching ethic. She said, “It led me to coaching with the intent for God to make a difference in the people that I served. It means that off-field relationships are not just going to be about volleyball, or basketball, or soccer; it’s going to be about that person and what their relationship with God is like, and perhaps their struggles.”
Regier originally came to CU as a student in 1996. “I was going to become a seminary student,” she said. “I taught at the high school level, and I felt God calling me to get more Bible training because I had been in a Christian school, but never went to a Bible college.”
Two weeks before classes started, she explained, her plans changed. “It just so happened about thirteen days before school started, I was summoned to Kansas City early. Their athletic director, basketball coach, and volleyball coach had just resigned thirteen days before the season was scheduled to start. And they asked me to take over, and so I did. Yeah, that was crazy. It was crazy hard. I had fourteen days to prepare and then I knew the students were coming and I wasn’t anywhere near close to being ready and I knelt down at center court, and I asked God to use the broken coach that I was and to make something special and He has.”
That wasn’t the only challenge Regier has faced since coming to CU. Six years ago, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). “My heart is for the person that struggles,” she said. “The person that’s in the middle of a battle because I’m in the middle of a battle. And I want to talk about things that are relevant to me, and battling every day is something that is relevant to me. Getting up and having the strength to get up and do stuff is important when I battle. The difficulty of being able to battle well is something that I catch and when I see a student that is battling, I go to them because I want to support them because that’s what we’re here for. So, my purpose in life changed when I got MS because now I look for the person that’s in the middle of the battle.”
Another challenge Regier has faced is singleness. She said, “I’m still looking for the man I would like to marry. I want very much for that to happen. It’s one pain that’s very real. I would say that through fighting singleness you realize that God gives you opportunities to do things with students that God brings into your life in a little different capacity. I’m in my fifties now so singleness doesn’t scare me like it used to. You go through times when it scares you, and times when it doesn’t. But the more that you see God provide through the times of fear the more you realize that this is nothing to fear. And if it gives me more opportunity to have more of another family here at Calvary or at my church then I’m pretty much down for that. It doesn’t mean that I don’t wish for a husband still. I think most everybody wants to be chosen.”
Regier is passionate about CU’s athletic program. “We care about the discipleship of a student in our program way more than we care about what happens with the championship or what happens on the scoreboard. It’s not often where you get to go to a college where they don’t care about winning as much as they care about the person.”
Regier reminisced about her favorite memory from her time at CU. “This year the men’s basketball team won the regional tournament and that wasn’t the highlight, although I did cry. But after they were done, I was writing the press release for the story, and I gave each of them a chance to be quoted for the article. Every one of them talked about the impact that God had had on their season, gave Him the glory for that, and lifted Him up. They could’ve lifted themselves up, and they didn’t. They got a platform and they used it to honor Him. That was probably the highlight. I could not have been prouder.”
After a quarter century as a coach and athletic director, Regier has a lot of advice for student athletes. “God gave you your love for sports and you need to have your passion collide with your faith. The two aren’t separate. Until they collide you won’t be where you need to be.”
Regier handing out the Spencer Award to both Tasha Parker (Krahn) and Rilee Walquist in 2019.
Regier speaking in a recentChapel.
Regier with CU Head Basketball Coach, Matt Sanders (left) and Zebulun Green celebrating Green’s induction into the 1,000-point club in 2020.