It seems like only yesterday that Mike Show was 24 years of age, eager to embark on his first season as the head men’s college basketball coach at Baptist Bible College.
Taking over for long-time coach Jim Huckaby, Show was full of youth and enthusiasm for his new position after two years as an assistant coach.
But that was 20 years ago, and now Show is much more than just a basketball coach.
Something had to give, and Show decided to end his coaching tenure at BBC, leaving the position after a 20-year run and a 272-288 record with the defenders. But he’s not leaving the school — not by a long shot.
“I’ll still be around, running the recreation center and being the athletic director,” Show said. “I basically had three jobs.”
Being the head basketball coach took a lot of time, not only with practices and games during the season, but also with long nights on the recruiting trail, trying to find outstanding student-athletes to play for the Defenders. Keeping top-notch players entering the program is an important key for any coach and Show understands that better than anyone.
But all the time Show has put into the coaching part of his life has meant time away from his own family and, with six children and a wife, that has meant being absent from many events in their lives.
“It’s not just [with son] J.C., it’s all of my kids,” Show said. “I’ve missed a lot of their games.”
With J.C. headed off to Bucknell University to begin his collegiate basketball career, Show had a tough decision to make — should he remain as the Defenders head coach, or give it up to have the option of following J.C.’s college career?
“I sat down and looked at [Bucknell’s] schedule, and all their conference games are on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which is on the same day as BBC’s conference games,” he said “I have enjoyed coaching, but at this point in my life, it’s time to step down.”
Over his 20 years, BBC has seen remarkable growth led by its basketball program, starting out with Show directing the Defenders to a 22-10 mark his first year, guiding the team to the National Christian College Athletic Association tournament.
As the college grew and began to increase its athletic programs, the school transitioned into Division III of the National College Athletic Association.
The school joined the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) and captured that title to qualify for the NCAA Division III National Championships in 2008. A loss to eventual national runner-up Ursinus College marked the end of a five-year stretch that saw Show compile an 81-31 record with the Defenders.
But Show was looking beyond wins and losses, trying to find a better fit than the NEAC, and found it with the Colonial States Athletic Conference (CSAC), the former Pennsylvania Athletic Conference.
“Going to Buffalo and Baltimore, I’m glad to be in a conference,” Show said. “We’ve struggled, but we are in a very competitive league.”
Even in the midst of what would turn out to be a 9-16 record in Show’s final season coaching, the Defenders came up with a huge victory, a 106-97 win over national second-ranked Cabrini College. It gave Show another memorable moment in an illustrious career.
But it is the everyday things that Show seems to think will be what he will miss the most.
“The high point is all the relationships with the players,” Show said. “I will miss that when Oct. 15 rolls around.”
But he will still have an impact on the athletic department as its director, trying to steer it to prominence in the CSAC, as well as overseeing the many summer camps held at BBC each year.
It has been a long ride for Show, a 1992 graduate of the school.
“I’ve been very blessed, thankful for the opportunity [to lead the basketball program at such a young age],” he said. “The program is in good hands.”
Joel Nietz, who has been an assistant coach under Show for 10 years, will take over as the head coach for next season.
“Coach Show and I have been coaching together for 10 seasons, and it’s difficult to see him step away from coaching because of his passion for what he does,” Nietz said.