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Kansas State Coach, in Sweet 16, Praises Jesus: ‘My Passion Is Ministry’

The first-year coach who has exceeded expectations by guiding Kansas State to its first Sweet 16 appearance in five seasons says he views his job as a “ministry” to prepare athletes to be husbands, fathers, and leaders.  

Jerome Tang guided the third-seeded Wildcats to a pair of NCAA Tournament victories in recent days, first with a 77-65 win over Montana State and then with a 75-69 triumph over Kentucky. 

Kansas State is 25-9 under Tang after finishing last season 14-17 and missing the tournament. Tang was named head coach in March 2022. He previously served as a long-time assistant at Baylor, where he helped guide the Bears to the 2021 national championship. Before that, he was head coach at Heritage Christian Academy in Texas. 

Tang referenced his Christian faith during news conferences after both wins. 

“I'd like to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for this opportunity that He's given me, the many blessings that He's placed on my life,” Tang said after the first-round win. “I know my profession is coaching, but my calling and my passion is ministry. And I love being able to spend time around these young men and just help them to grow and become great husbands who are going to be great fathers and leaders in their community. It's just so much fun to do it through the game of basketball.” 

Kansas State plays Michigan State Thursday in the Sweet 16. 

“I'm so proud to represent Kansas State,” Tang said after Sunday’s second-round win. “I'm so proud to be a part of the community of Manhattan (Kansas). And I'm just blessed — so blessed.”

Tang worked as an assistant for 19 seasons at Baylor, including the last few seasons as associate head coach to Baylor coach Scott Drew. 

Media members participating in the annual preseason media poll picked Kansas State to finish last (10th) in the Big 12. The Wildcats finished third, despite returning only two players from the 2021-22 roster. 

Last year, Drew said Tang prayed about the opening at Kansas State. 

“When he felt like God led him somewhere, he went,” Drew said last year, according to Sports Spectrum. “He’s been more than ready for a long time. He just didn’t have the calling to go. He’s going to do a great job at K-State. I know no one’s going to cheer louder or harder for him than I will, except when we play.” 

Photo Courtesy: ©Unsplash/Spiske

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.


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