It is an amazing accomplishment for any athlete to make it to a stage in their career when they are paid to play. Playing professionally is a just a dream for many children all over the world. The Bethel College Athletic Department Mission Statement does not target developing student athletes to prepare them for a professional career, but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen. Bethel Athletics has been able to be a spring board for many athletes to go out into the professional sports scene. Below is a list of former Pilots who continued on in their career on the field or on the court. Some of these athletes are still active in the professional leagues all over the world today. Take some time to read their stories to find out more about how God has blessed their journey's from their days as a Pilot to where He has led them now.
Jim Baker, Steve Hosinski, Jeff Hauteman, Dave Haverstick, Ryan Takach, Eric Stults, David Troyer, Bruntyn, Greg Kloosterman, David Humen, Justin Masterson & John Urbanski
Justin came to Bethel as a freshman in the fall of 2003 and spent two years with the Bethel Baseball team before heading to San Diego State University to finish is college career. Following school the Boston Red Sox picked Masterson up in the 2nd round of the 2006 MLB Draft. Justin worked his way through the Red Sox farm systems making stops at the Lowell Spinners, Lancaster JetHawks, and Portland Sea Dogs. In 2008 Justin was invited to spring training and on April 24th he stepped on the mound for the first time against the Angels. In July of 2009 in a trade agreement, Justin was acquired by the Cleveland Indians. In the 2010 season, in a game against his former Red Sox, Justin pitched his first complete game in which he only gave up two hits. This year Masterson got the nod as the Opening Day pitcher for the Indians in 2012 and 2013. Early in the 2013 season Justin grabbed wins over both 2012 Cy Young Award winners which is a feat only two other pitchers have ever accomplished in the history of the MLB. Not only did Justin beat both, he did them in his first two starts.
Eric was a two sport athlete as a student at Bethel participating in both baseball and basketball. In his final year on the field for the Pilots he helped lead the team to the 2002 NCCAA National Championship. In 2002, Stults was drafted by the LA Dodgers in the 15th round. Stults pitched for several farm league teams in the Dodger's organization before making his Major League debut in September of 2006. In June 2008 Eric pitched one of the best games of his career as he held the Chicago White Sox scoreless in his first career Major League complete game shutout. He duplicated his 2008 performance with another complete game shutout in 2009 when he faced the San Francisco Giants. In that game Stults threw 123 pitches, striking out 5, allowing no walks, and giving up only 4 hits. After a short stint in Japan, Eric made his way back to MLB playing for the Rockies, White Sox and is currently with the Padres.
David Haverstick was a two sport athlete at Bethel participating in Baseball as well as Men's Basketball. On the field, David was named To the MCC All-Conference team as he helped the Pilots to two MCC championships. in 1997 Haverstick was drafted in the 16th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. During the 1997 season David pitched for two teams pitching in 15 total games. After his playing career closed he didn't wonder too far from the game. David has hand several coaching jobs at the collegiate level. The most recent position being at Western Carolina where he serves as the Associate Head Coach and Pitching Coach.
Greg Kloosterman played 3 seasons in a Pilots uniform before being drafed in the 9th round of the 2003 MLB Draft. Kloosterman was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers and was sent to the Helena Brewers which is Milwaukee's rookie affiliated team. In the following season Greg was moved to the the Beloit Snappers, a single A team in Wisconsin and another move took place in 2005 to West Virginia which is where Greg would end his 3 year run in the Minors. Kloosterman's finished with a 5.95 ERA in 274.1 innings pitched while collecting 246 strike outs.
David Humen transfered to Bethel in 2002 and played for the pilots during his final colleegiate season in the spring of 2003. After a successful season David was drafted in the 9th round of the MLB draft by the Florida Marlins. The 6'2" right hander pitched from 2003 to 2009 on an aray of teams at different levels. In 2006 David moved up to the AA Marlins farm team and pitched 5 innings giving up no runs and striking out 6.
Dave Riffell, Jody Martinez, Dave Troyer, Rico Swanson, Eric Brand, Adrick Hills, Kyle Sears, Adam Schaper, William Walker, AJ Whitehead, & Natalie Young
Jody was dubbed "the definition of Bethel Basketball" after his stellar four year career as a Pilot. His #44 jersey was retired as his name covered the Bethel Basketball record book. Jody left for Mexico to play professionally but called it quits after he got married in the summer of 1990. Jody now is the Head Coach for the Lady Pilots and has coached two players who continued on to play professionally (AJ Whitehead class of '01 and Natalie Young class of '08)
Rico played for the Pilots from 1994-1998. Swanson is perhaps the most decorated player in Bethel history. Rico racked up over 2,000 points, 700 assists, 600 rebounds, and 400 steals during his career. Those stats complied together are unmatched by any NAIA D-II player in history. Rico was a member of three NAIA National Championship teams and was named NAIA player of the year in both 1997 and 1998 along with being the NAIA Tournament MVP in both years. Bethel would retire his #11 jersey upon graduation. Rico signed a professional contract to play in Croatia and Sweden as well as playing for two seasons in the IBL.
Eric played for the Pilots from 1996-2000. Brand is undoubtedly one of the best players to ever put on a Pilots uniform. In his four year career he set the bar for all future Pilots to aim for in points scored, FGs made, FTs made, and games played. Eric's holds the career scoring title at Bethel with 2,696. Another feat that has yet to be repeated by any other Pilot is Eric played in four National Championship games in four years. Bethel would soon retire his #55 jersey. After leaving Bethel Eric took his game overseas and played four years in Austria and one in Perth, Australia. In his one season in Australia (2005) Eric was named the League MVP.
Adrick played for the Pilots from 2002-05 accumulating 1,226 career points and lead the Pilots in assists in the 2003-04 season. Adrick headed to the AAPBL in 2005 where he played for the Lincoln Generals and in 2006 He moved to the Cuyahoga Falls Cougars where he averaged 19.5 points per game and was named an IBL All-Star. In 2007 Adrick made yet another move to the Marysville Meteors (Marysville, OH). For the 2008-09 season Adrick took his game overseas to Germany where he played for BG Illertal, Braves, Goeppingen, Leitershofen and with the ETB Wohnbau Baskets.
Kyle played for the Pilots from 2002-2006 racking up 1,417 points. In 2007 Kyle joined the Elkhart Express in the IBL. Kyle has now returned to his high school alma mater, Elkhart Memorial as an assistant coach and helped push the team to one of the best season in school history. The 2011-12 Chargers ended the season one game short of the Class 4A State Championship and finishing with a 24-2 final record.
Will played for the Pilots from 2005-2009. In his four years at Bethel William led the Pilots to an NCCAA National Championship Title in 2007 and to the NAIA Final Four in 2009. William was named the National Player of the Year and First Team All-American in '09. Bethel retired his #33 jersey after his senior season. Walker continued his career and took his game to Sweden in 2009. He has played for Sodertalje, Heffengben (in Luxembourg) and Solna. One of the many highlights for Walker was in 2011 when he won the league's slam dunk contest and awarded the all-star game MVP. Walker continues to play in Sweden.
Adam played for the Pilots from 2004-2006 transfering to Bethel from Iowa State University. After graduating from Bethel the Demotte, Indiana native played in the IBL for the Gary Steelheads for two seasons before heading overseas to play in both Lithuania and Spain. Schaper then received an offer to play just north of the boarder in Canada where he played for three seasons.
AJ played 3 seasons at Bethel after transfering in after her freshman season at Western Michigan University. In her senior year, AJ lead the Lady Pilots to their first appearance in the NAIA National Tournament and we named an NAIA 2nd team All-American. After graduating in 2001 AJ continued her basketball career playing in Turkey for a few seasons before heading to Germany. In Germany AJ played for the Berlin Baskets which is part of the DBBL Divison 2 League.
Natalie was a two sport athlete at Bethel College being a member of both the women's basketball team as well as on the track and field team. During her 4 years in a Bethel unifrom, Natalie managed to set 10 individual records including total points and blocks in a career (2685 and 243) along with being the first Lady Pilot to ever be named an NAIA First Team All-American (2007 and 2008). After graduation Natalie traveled to Perth Australia and played in the State Basketball League for the Lakeside Lightning. Young was awarded SBL player of the week twice during the regular season. She was also selcted to the SBL Women's All-star team which is a 5 member team selected by the coaches from all 12 league participating teams.
Roberto Smith, Colin Semwayo, Pablo Rodriguez, Andres Rodriguez, Raul Barillas, Arron Patrick, Cody Troyer, Nikki Matunas, Lisa Franke & JoBette Nabarro
Raul Barillas played for Bethel 2006 to 2008 and while earing his degree in Computer Information Technology Management. Currently, Raul is now with the ranks of coahes in the Chicago Fire MLS Academy. Raul has been working as a staff coach for the Chicago Fire Academy since July 2012 after serving as an Assistant Coach for Lewis University, (Romeoville, IL) in 2011 and for the 2010 IHSAA State Champion Lake Central (St. John, IN) boys soccer team. Prior to his experiences as an Assistant Coach both at Lewis University and Lake Central, Raul Barillas spent two years with the Chicago Magic Soccer Club. He served as both the Director for ages 8 to 11 and the Assistant to the Technical Director for ages 12 to 15. He assisted the Chicago Magic U15 Girls team that won the 2009 National Cup VIII and U14 Boys team that won the 2010 National Cup IX.
Lisa was a 4 year member of the Women's Soccer team at Bethel from 2003-2006. During her time Franke scored 92 goals in only 71 games. Her Bethel career is highlighted by ending as the career leader in goals scored and points. After her years at BC, Lisa made her way to the USL W-League where she played for the Colorado Force which is now the Colorado Rapids. During the 2009 season Franke went on a 5 game/4 goal scoring streak and moved her to the leading scored on the team. Her performance also placed her on the USL W-League Team of the Week June 21-27th of 2009.
JoBette played midfield for the Pilots from Hilo Hawaii and in the summer of 2006, before her senior season the Santos Football Club aquired her skills for a run at a Chamiponship. As a Pilot, JoBette was named to the MCC All-Conference team in 2004 and was an NCCAA All-American in 2004 and 2005. JoBette and Maile (a player from Harvard) were both added to the offensive attack for the Santos Football Club which is Brazil.
Brittany Fisher, April Russell & Anna Welsh
April is the only softball player at Bethel to have her jersey retired and hanging in Championship Lobby of the Wiekamp Center. After having a storybook career at Bethel April had the opportunity to compete against our country's greatest. In the summer of 2001 a team was formed of college talent to play agains the National USA Gold team and the WPSL (Women's Professional Softball League) All-stars. The games were televised on ESPN.
Anna Welsh, an Olivet Nazarene Univeristy graduate, was the Pilots head coach from 2004-2012. In 2004 Anna had the opportunity to coach against the USA Olympic team as they made their 'Aiming for Athens' tour. Additionally she played agains the the National USA Gold team and against the WPSL (Women's Professional Softball League) All Star team. The team Anna was on in the summer of '01 also rostered Bethel softball stand out and Bethel Atheltic Hall of Fame Member April (Allison) Russell.
|Bethel vs||12th of 23|
|NCCAA Outdoor Nationals|
|Bethel vs||8th of 24|
|NCCAA Outdoor Nationals|
|NAIA National Championship|
|NAIA Outdoor Nationals|
|NAIA Outdoor Nationals|
|Illinois Institute of Technology||EST|
|Southern Polytechnic State University||EST|
|Grand View Tournament|
|Grand View University||EST|
|Grand View Tournament|
|University of Northwestern Ohio||EST|