KEN COLLINS ‘79
He didn’t strike observers as the typical soccer player. He wasn’t small. He wasn’t fast. In fact, if he wasn’t wearing a soccer uniform, you might have mistaken him for one of the college’s basketball players.
But looks can be deceiving and so were the many moves of Ken Collins who used his size, strength, and extraordinary ball skills to forge one of the most prolific careers in school history. From 1975-78, he not only put up big numbers but he also combined with several talented teammates to put the Mustangs on the NAIA District III map.
It didn’t take long for Collins to make an impression as he scored a career-high 19 goals in his freshman year, the second-highest, single-season total at the time. In 1976 he tallied 14 more goals and added four assists but it was a year later when he started to put an indelible mark on the program.
Scoring 11 times, the junior led the Mustangs to their first-ever 10-win season (10-6) and a place among the best squads in District III. But, he saved his best for last in 1978 when the squad posted another 10-win campaign (10-8) and he capped a brilliant career with 42 points (15 goals, 12 assists), the third-best, single-season mark at the time.
Almost 30 years later, some of Collins’ marks still stand among the best in Mustang soccer history. His career totals of 59 goals, 143 points, and 2.23 points per match are No. 3, No. 5, and No. 5 on their respective lists. His single-season totals of 19 goals in 1975 and 42 points in 1978 are No. 8 and No. 18, respectively.
Far from being one-dimensional, Collins performed in the classroom, too. Finishing strong, he posted a 4.00 GPA in his senior year and graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1979.
Following graduation, Ken pursued his MBA, worked for former teammate and TMC grad Dickson Chan in Texas, and was a sales representative in Florida. Then, in 1989, God fulfilled His calling of Ken into full-time ministry by sending him to Brazil as a missionary with Word of Life Fellowship. A year later, he married Susan McAllister and the couple has been ministering in Bible clubs, camps, and a seminary ever since.
Their ministry’s vision is to multiply disciple-makers by coming alongside the local church and providing leadership training, Bible curriculum and a thirst for evangelism. Along the way, they’ve been joined by their children: Rachel, Joshua, Daniel, and Rebecca.
Currently, the Collins’ are home on a year-long furlough and living in Kokomo, Indiana. During his time in the States, Ken is working on his Master of Arts in Biblical Counseling from TMC.
BRENDA BEMENT ’93
Brenda Bement was a pioneer, a trailblazer for a volleyball program that had experienced spotty success before she came and one that had turned the corner upon her graduation.
Prior to her arrival on campus in 1989, TMC volleyball had posted only one 20-win season in its 14-year existence. But with the hiring of Dean Conk in 1988, things started to change and Bement was at the center as the new face of the program.
In her freshman season, the Mustangs won 20 games for only the second time in school history, beginning a streak of three consecutive 20-win campaigns. In 1991, the junior outside hitter led the team in total attacks as the Mustangs qualified for the NAIA District 3 Playoffs. During her time in the blue and gold, Bement developed into a dominating force at the net, blocking opponent shot attempts, slamming kills back in the other direction, and serving aces with powerful velocity.
She finished her four-year stint at the college as the program’s all-time leader with 204 aces, was No. 2 with 3,252 total attacks, and No. 3 with 1,009 total kills and 470 total blocks. More than the numbers, she was a well-respected leader on and off the court as evidenced when she was named TMC’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1993.
After graduating in the spring of 1993 with a degree in English, Bement returned home to the San Jose area where she coached at her high school alma mater, Valley Christian, while getting started in sales at Eastman Kodak. After 1½ years in the Silicon Valley, where she was named the company’s Rookie of the Year, and in Denver, Colorado, where she worked on special accounts and led a Bible Study at Highlands Ranch Community Church, she accepted a position with the Xerox Corporation and returned to the Los Angeles area.
During her time at Xerox, she held several executive sales positions within the document management production division that offered both hardware and document management software solutions. Promoted to management of the Western Region of software and hardware solution specialists, she was responsible for increased revenue and earned a number of top performance titles.
Always looking for a challenge, she was recently offered the opportunity to work on an enterprise technology project at the Financial Services Commission, a governing entity in the British Virgin Islands that regulates and documents the forming of off-shore corporations. Currently living in Roadtown on Tortola Island, Brenda is gaining great international business experience while experiencing a very different way of life.
HEIDI GARRETT (ELLIOTT) ‘97
The renaissance of women’s volleyball at The Master’s College, under Coach Dean Conk, had its genesis in the late 80’s but it took a dramatic step up in the early to mid-90’s when a strong recruiting class, featuring Heidi Elliott among others, took the program to the next level.
It started with the 1993 campaign, one unlike any other in program history, and it was no coincidence that Elliott’s first year on the squad was a record-breaking one. It was the beginning of an unprecedented four-year run that produced an average of nearly 30 wins a season and a quartet of NAIA Far West Region playoff appearances.
Part of a talented recruiting class in 1993, the 6-1 middle blocker led the team with 52 solo blocks as the Mustangs set a single-season record with 35 wins en route to a postseason berth. The following season was a breakout one for Elliott, who paced the team in blocks again, led the Mustangs to 27 wins and another NAIA Far West Region playoff spot, and became the program’s first NAIA All-American.
There was no letdown a year later when the three-year veteran once again posted a team-high in blocks and earned NAIA All-Far West Region honors as the Mustangs went 26-16 and made it to the region playoffs once again. Unfortunately, injuries forced her to miss her senior campaign and the thrill of 31 victories, another postseason berth, and a further climb up the all-time charts.
But that disappointment was tempered by her marriage to Steve Garrett (Class of ’95) in the preceding summer. The couple, which celebrated their 10th anniversary last August, currently live in Ladera Ranch, California, and are involved in children’s ministry at Faith Bible Church. Heidi says that her greatest joy is being a “stay at home” mom for her children, Kylie and Kaden.
In her three years on the hardwood, Elliott climbed the college’s career lists in nearly every category. To this day, she shows up in the Top Ten in kills (No. 6, 819), total blocks (No. 6, 363,), and aces (No. 8, 110).
CHRIS BECK ‘94
Before Monte Brooks put The Master’s College baseball program on the national map, Chris Beck was starting to draw new boundary lines with a strong right arm and a determined mound demeanor. From 1991-94, he set the standard for future Mustang hurlers and etched his name in the record books.
Entering the college in the fall of 1990 out of Brethren High School in Long Beach, Beck immediately became the ace of the staff, notching nine wins, five complete games, and a 3.28 ERA as the Mustangs went 25-20.
A year later, the Mustangs struggled to only 16 wins and so did Beck who picked up just four wins. But in 1993 both the Mustangs and Beck bounced back as the team won 28 times (28-22) with the latter leading the way with nine more wins, 105 innings pitched, 94 strikeouts, and a sparkling 2.73 ERA.
Although his senior year didn’t turn out the way he wanted (the Mustangs went 14-32), Beck still produced in spectacular fashion. He won only five times but it was the 143 strikeouts in just 98 innings of work that lit up the speed guns and turned the heads of major league scouts.
That performance paid immediate dividends when the Seattle Mariners made him a seventh-round pick in the June Major League Baseball Draft, a month after he had graduated from the college with a degree in Liberal Studies. He left the college as the program’s all-time winner with 27 victories and a school-record 349 1/3 innings pitched, marks that stand to this day. He’s also No. 2 on the career list with 340 strikeouts and No. 3 with a 3.35 ERA.
Joined by his wife, Danielle (Vosmeier, TMC class of 1993), whom he had married the year before, Beck headed off to professional ball, bouncing around in the minors from 1994-98.
After five years in small towns, Beck figured it was time to move on but still stay connected to the sport he loved. Joining Athletes in Action in 1999 enabled him to do both as he moved to Ohio and became a coach on one of the evangelistic organizaton’s baseball teams.
He’s been there ever since, pouring his life into baseball players for the sake of the Gospel. Along the way, he’s traveled with hundreds of athletes, setting up the opportunity to do one-on-one discipleship.
Currently, Chris is the pitching coach for the Alaska Fire, one of six clubs in the Alaska Baseball League. He and Danielle live in Lebanon, Ohio, with their trio of boys, Ryan, Jackson, and Ty.
2000 Baseball Team
In every collegiate athletic program there are defining moments. Some are totally unexpected. Some are more dramatic than others. Some validate tough decisions about personnel. Others are the culmination of plain, hard work.
The accomplishments of the 2000 TMC baseball team can be defined by all of the above and so much more. Just four years earlier, the program was in complete disarray with little hope for the future. But attitudes and play on the field started to change in 1997 when Monte Brooks was named head coach.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, the program took off, reaching unprecedented heights and national recognition. It all culminated in 2000 when the men in pinstripes went where no other Mustang athletic team had gone before in winning a school-record 37 games, capturing the NAIA Region II championship, and earning a third-place finish in their first-ever trip to the NAIA World Series.
The Mustangs started early and never let up, winning 22 of their first 27 games and climbing to No. 17 in the country. Taking 10 of their next 11 contests, the Mustangs rolled into May and earned the top seed in the Region II Playoffs. There they dispatched Biola in three games before moving to the NAIA Section I Tournament where they fell to third-ranked Albertson of Idaho.
However, their quest for a national championship continued when they qualified for their initial World Series appearance as an at-large club. Splitting four games, the Mustangs concluded the campaign tied for third in the country, moving up from their final regular-season No. 15 ranking.
On the heels of the highest national finish in the history of TMC athletics and 22 new records came the benefits of individual awards. Senior pitcher Mike Ploharz, who went 11-2 with a 3.70 ERA, earned NAIA All-American Second Team and All-Region II honors while second baseman Ty Sager, catcher Mike Wertz, and pitcher Josh Higgins were Honorable Mention All-Americans and All-Region II selections.
But, most deserved of all was the selection of Brooks as the NAIA Region II Coach of the Year. Three years after taking over the helm, he was singularly instrumental in turning the Mustang baseball program into one of the best in the country