Highlander Athletic News

February 21, 2023

Matthew Webb standing with #kingchasing award in front of step and repeat banner.

Houghton Recognized as #KingChasing Institution of the Year

Houghton was named the first-ever #KingChasing Institution of the Year by the National Christian College Athletic Association following the 2021-22 academic year.

The award was presented to Houghton Director of Athletics Matthew Webb at the NCCAA National Convention in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on June 2, 2022.

The #KingChasing program uses the four values of the NCCAA Game Plan 4 LIFE – Love, Integrity, Faith and Excellence – to enhance the purpose of collegiate athletics beyond winning championships. The mission of the program is to keep Christ at the center of the student-athlete experience and showcases the institution’s commitment to integrating Christ within the athletic department.

“It is an honor to receive this recognition from the NCCAA. This is a testament to who our coaches and student-athletes are as we strive for a higher purpose than just winning games,” said Webb. “When we were introduced to the #KingChasing program, it resonated with what we already value and aspire to in Houghton athletics. Last year, we focused on Love as the primary value, and this year, we are focusing on Faith. We want to win championships, but we want to do it the right way. Ultimately, we are about developing young men and women who compete with excellence, lead by character, and exemplify Jesus Christ in our world. The #KingChasing program provides an umbrella under which we can make this a practical focus.”

Points for the program are earned in a variety of ways, including minimizing ejections, excelling in the classroom, praying for colleagues at other institutions, and engaging in community service and missions. The #KingChasing Standards are foundational elements that athletic department staff and student-athletes commit to represent and uphold.

Muise Named National Coach of the Year

After leading the softball program to a record-setting year, Head Coach Chad Muise ’15 was named the National Christian College Athletic Association Coach of the Year. The first-year coach guided the Highlanders to a 20-17 season with the team just missing out on an Empire 8 postseason appearance. The 20 wins were a program record, besting two 13-win seasons (2018 and 2019). The conference win total was also a program record. The team and several individuals set numerous program season offensive records. The Highlanders averaged nearly seven runs per game and hit .322 at the plate. Muise was also honored as the Empire 8 and NCCAA Region Coach of the Year.

Houghton student Amanda Burrichter in Highlander athletic uniform.
Houghton student Julius Klohr holding award standing with Matthew Webb.

Excellence Award Winners

Amanda Burrichter ’23 and Julius Klohr ’21 were recognized with Student-Athlete Excellence Awards at the annual Night of Excellence Banquet in April. The awards honor those who have regularly exhibited excellence in the areas of athletic performance, academic achievement and Christian character during their time as Highlander student-athletes.

Burrichter (cross country/track and field) received the Velma H.M. Hewson Excellence Award, and Klohr (soccer) was the Dr. Marvin H. Eyler Excellence Award recipient.

The Night of Excellence event honors the contributions and impact of those who are concluding their careers as Highlanders and as a challenge to the newer athletes who will carry the mantle of leadership into the coming years. The program featured seniors Tessa Brown ’22 (tennis) and Jack Howard ’22 (track and field) passing a baton as a symbolic exchange of leadership to junior class representatives Moriah Steffen ’23 (soccer) and Jason Kauffeldt ’23 (baseball).

The night also included senior speeches from Barbara Richert ’20 (softball) and Dillon Bell ’21 (cross country/track and field), who shared stories of their time as Highlanders and the impact Houghton athletics has had on their lives.