The tradition at Indiana Wesleyan goes deeper then just basketball. Between the #IAM3 lifestyle they instill, or “The Pursuit” podcasts that they broadcast. It is easy to see that the culture they have created within the program is the main reason for the success their student-athletes have both on and off the floor. It is a culture that promotes team success over an individuals success. Don’t get me wrong Kyle Mangas will be one of the top players in all of NAIA next season, but as good as he is, guys like Canaan Coffey have as big of an impact on the Indiana Wesleyan’s success on the floor, as much as anyone.
Canaan chose Indiana Wesleyan because he felt it was a great place to both develop his faith, and his game. The soon to be senior loves being part of a program that emphasizes putting their faith at the forefront of everything they do. It was one of the main things that led him to signing with IWU out of high school.
Signing with Indiana Wesleyan paid off. Not only is he continuing to develop his faith, but Canaan said that his favorite moment as a Wildcat is when they won the 2018 National Championship. He said it was an unbelievable feeling when the buzzer went off. They had been through a lot as a team that year, and all the ups and downs led them to a national title. Canaan said that he’ll never forget when the entire team gathered on the court and prayed together immediately after winning the game. For him, it was another awesome reminder that our eyes should constantly be fixed on our God.
The “even” years have treated IWU really well since 2014. They have won
national titles now in 2014, 2016, and 2018. They now enter a season that will end in 2020, and will once again be focused on getting back to Sioux Falls. He says they are a hungry bunch and full of guys who want to get after it on both the court and in the weight room. Canaan believes that they have the talent and the drive to do great things, and that there is no reason for them to not have big goals.
Canaan does pretty well off the floor as well. He was named as a 2018-2019 Scholar Athlete. He has carried a 3.5 overall GPA throughout his entire career at IWU. Academics is something Canaan has always valued, so being named a NAIA Scholar Athlete was really special for him. He thanks his parents for sacrificing so much for him when he was growing up, so he feels that him working hard in the classroom is a simple way to show his appreciation to them. He is also smart enough to know that basketball is going to be over at some point, and he wants to prepare himself for his future the best he can.
Canaan also appreciates what NAIA basketball has done for him. He says that kids should all consider this level of play because it’s an ultra competitive, team oriented, high-level of basketball. He believes that people underestimate the skill level of NAIA basketball. He says that a lot of the teams they play have a lot of talent, but are also put a lot of focus on playing as a team, and he says that it makes it more fun to play. Additionally, Canaan wants people to know that NAIA may be small school basketball, but it has led him to make some really good, close friendships that will last a lifetime. Those relationships with people both on campus and in the community lead to big crowds, and awesome playing environments.
While he has won a lot of games in a Wildcat uniform Canaan knows that basketball will be over soon. After his career is over, he really would love to work with an organization like Athletes in Action. He wan’ts to stick around sports, but also find ways to incorporate his faith and do a few mission work trips as well. Outside of sports, he is considering a profession as a wedding videographer and hopes to start his own business one day.
I have no doubt that Canaan will be successful with whatever he decides to do in life. He is fully bought in to the culture that Indiana Wesleyan has instilled into him. He’s a good player, who has bought into the role the coaches have asked him to play on the floor. The toughness and grit that he plays with, and his ability to hit big shots, will be something that will carry into his every day life. He’s a kid who is easy to root for, and I look forward to watching his success in life.