By Jim Nieman
Bass fishing has been added as a scholarship sport at Kentucky Christian University. That may strike some as odd, but certainly not the new head coach and the school’s associate athletic director.
“Bass fishing fits Kentucky Christian University perfectly,” says Brian Slone, who was selected to coach the bass fishing team. “After all, Jesus chose fishers first” when recruiting disciples.
“With the abundance of outdoor sporting activities in this region, and the popularity of this new sport on college campuses, this decision was just a natural,” said associate AD Bruce Dixon.
Slone said bass fishing is becoming so popular at colleges and universities that it’s hard to track how many schools have teams and/or clubs.
The same pattern is true in high schools, he said.
“In Kentucky . . . we have 111 schools that have teams,” Slone said, and most of those schools have “at least one student athlete . . . who dreams of fishing at the next level.” Slone hopes to bring in some of the best anglers in the state and nation . . . and perhaps even the world.
He’s already received commitments from a number of fishers. (You can track signings and other developments here: www.kcuknights.com/archive/0/24. Most recent headline: “Knights Bass Team Lands Three.”)
A big plus for bass fishing is that it’s coeducational, the third such sport at KCU, joining archery and the cheer squad.
“It’s the most nondiscriminative of any sport,” Slone said. “After all, the fish doesn’t know who is on the other end of the line.” And both men and women “can enhance their angling ability and be competitive.”
Competitive bass fishing doesn’t consist of just gassing up the boat, picking through your tackle box to find a lure, and casting your line.
“How much prep you put into it determines how much success you gain,” Slone said. “For us, practice begins in the classroom.”
“Once the upcoming yearly schedule is determined, we will begin preparing for that first event. We will examine everything there is to know about that particular body of water . . . [including the] rules and regulations.
“We will assess water conditions, depths, structures, and weather conditions before even hitting the water. We will dive into future forecasts, barometric pressure, and possible bass feeding patterns. We will have an idea of what we will be casting, where we will be casting, and where we will be on the lake throughout the day.
“Then, after the tournament, we will evaluate what we could have done better and what we did right, and apply it to the next tournament we begin preparing for . . .”
Slone brings a good amount of experience to his new role as head coach.
He has membership in multiple fishing and bass organizations. He has competed in a vast number of fishing tournaments across the United States—including national championships and the Tournament of Champions—winning a dozen times and finishing in the top 20 a total of 86 times.
Slone earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology education from Morehead State University in Kentucky. Two years later he earned a master’s degree from MSU. But Slone spent his first year of college at Kentucky Christian.
“When I chose this college nearly 30 years ago, I had the desire to serve God but lacked the maturity or proficiency to do it.” In the intervening years, Slone has been active in sports, community, and church work. “I feel ready to serve this university and to develop a bass fishing program worthy of putting the name of Kentucky Christian University on the front of the jerseys.”
The bass fishing season runs from mid to late February into October. The team will fish one to two tournaments per month (excluding the summer months) in such states as Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, Alabama, and Texas.
Jim Nieman serves as managing editor of Christian Standard.