Regent Deepens Its Commitment To
Training Scholar-athletes as Christian Leaders Both on and off the Court
The Regent Athletics program has experienced exponential growth since launching its first sport, a men’s and women’s track-and-field team, six years ago. In 2022-23, Royals scholar-athletes will compete in 11 men’s and women’s sports as part of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
Regent Royals entered the starting blocks this fall, ready to sprint into a new era of success under the leadership of Michael Allen—the university’s newly appointed athletic director. The son of teachers, Allen knew from a young age that God was calling him to a career in athletics.
“To see how God has moved me from one position to the next, one level to the next, and one experience to another, he definitely had his hands in preparing me for this next chapter here at Regent,” Allen says. “The future is bright, and I look forward to building on our strong foundation of winning with character.”
The Royals’ winning with character philosophy seeks to equip strong Christian leaders on and off the court, field and track. Allen believes the sports program’s success is rooted in Regent’s ability to demonstrate to scholar-athletes and future recruits that the university is committed to providing a first-class, collegiate athletic experience.
“Our mission as Regent Royals is the same as our university. We will strive to do all things with excellence, embrace innovation, and never waiver in our integrity,” Allen insists. “We want to continue to move the needle. Ultimately, if we’re not looking to advance our department, we’re only falling further and further behind our competition.”
“Allen is an accomplished leader with a proven track record in building and developing world-class athletic programs,” says Dr. Joseph Umidi, executive vice president for Student Life at Regent University. “He is dedicated to serving Regent Athletes, and we look forward to continued growth and expansion under his leadership.”
During the 2022-23 Academic Year, Regent scholar-athletes will compete in men’s and women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. Allen’s future plans for the Royals are rooted in Proverbs 29:18: Where there is no vision, the people perish.
“I want to continue strengthening our foundation as a collegiate athletics department,” Allen explains. “But there’s a cost for doing business, and our first objective is to address our athletic facilities and operational needs. As we add and improve upon what is necessary to field competitive intercollegiate athletics, it is then my long-term vision to attract the best possible scholar-athletes we can to train Christian leaders to change the world.”
Regent’s long-range plan includes the construction of an athletic complex on campus. In the short term, teams must travel off-site to access the facilities they need. Not having on-campus athletic facilities creates unique and significant challenges for Royals scholar-athletes, coaches and trainers.
“One hurdle we face is the current inability to create the kind of game-day environment for students, alumni and fans that can be found on most college campuses,” Allen says. “The lack of venue availability to host games and matches makes it extremely difficult to provide a consistent home for our scholar-athletes.”
But Allen has his eyes set firmly on the Regent Athletics “long game.” Through his efforts, Regent is partnering with a local church in Virginia Beach to establish a home gym for the next three years. To get the church gym game-day ready for our teams, Allen is now working to secure and install equipment like a collegiate volleyball net and an official’s stand system, scoreboard upgrades, basketball shot clocks, and seating for our spectators.
Joakim Marie-Joseph (CAS ’24), an international business student from the Caribbean island of Saint Martin, plays on the Regent University Men’s Basketball team.
“I came from a two-year college, and the environment there was not the best. So, I made up my mind with my family to come to Regent,” Joakim recalls. “The student body, coaching staff and my teammates are amazing. It makes me strive to give my all.”
Joakim thinks having a “home court” will enhance Regent Athletics’ winning with character mindset. “It will show friends and families, the student body, staff, and alumni what Regent Royals scholar-athletes have been working so hard and practicing so long to accomplish.”
“On and off the court, we’re a brotherhood,” Joakim says. “We love each other. We care for each other. We look out for each other, making it easy to go out on the court and play basketball with one another.”
Jordan Banister (CAS ’25) plays on the Regent University Women’s Volleyball team. She says the best part about being a Royal is “definitely the people.”
“Everyone from the players to the staff and the coaches are like family. Everyone checks up on each other and supports each other so much.” Jordan adds, “Being a Regent Royal is much more than just being an athlete. Our job is to honor the Lord by the way we conduct ourselves in the classroom, on the court and in public.”
“Being a collegiate athlete and coach takes a special commitment,” Allen stresses. “As the University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban says, ‘The standard is the standard.’ Nothing more, nothing less. So, we need a commitment from everyone to achieve our goals and fulfill our vision.”
Allen wants to ensure the goals for Royals scholar-athletes align with Regent’s mission. He believes athletics is the biggest window to show the general public what a university is all about.
“I’ve found, when schools find the right balance, sports can bring many people together and enhance the university’s overall mission,” Allen explains. “In turn, our alumni can take pride knowing their athletic teams are honoring God and representing Regent well.”
“Athletics provide so many life-learning and leadership opportunities,” adds Allen. “Life is a roller coaster. But whether we are competing in our careers or our personal relationships, we should be drawing our hope and strength from Jesus Christ and living out our mission to change the world.”
Under Allen’s guidance, Regent Royals are charging into the 2022-23 season carrying the light of Christ into the world of intercollegiate athletics.