As Head Coach Kim Elders enters his 21st season at the helm of the Cornerstone University Mens’ Basketball program, he finds himself one victory short of 500. Elders’ record currently stands at 499-202 heading into the 2013-14 campaign. Elders finds himself in illustrious company where he ranks seventh for most victories among active NAIA D-2 coaches. His .712 winning percentage is also the fourth highest amongst the same elite group of coaches.
Since taking over the program in 1993, Elders’ teams have averaged 25 victories/season. Five of his teams have recorded 30+ victories, including his 1999 National Championship team (37-3) and his 2011 National Championship team (34-4). Elders has also guided his teams to three Final 4’s (’01, ’02 & ’03) and three Elite 8’s (’05, ’07 & ’10). His 26 national tournament victories ranks third all-time in the NAIA D2.
Elders has been one of the most successful coaches in the history of the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference. Since the inception of the WHAC in 1992-93, Elders’ teams have captured six regular season titles (’96, ’99, ’05, ’07, ’10 & ’11). His ’99 squad is still the only team to finish the conference with an undefeated record. The Golden Eagles went a perfect 14-0 during that campaign.
From 1999-2011, Elders led CU to an unprecedented 13 consecutive WHAC Conference Tournament title games.
Elders has also been one of the most successful coaches in WHAC post-season play. He has guided his teams to seven conference tournament championships (’99, ’01, ’02, ’04, ’06, ’10 & ’11). Cornerstone is the only team in the WHAC’s 21-year history to capture both the regular season and conference tournament in back-to-back seasons (’10 & ’11).
Elders has garnered several individual coaches awards during his spectacular career. He has been named WHAC Coach of the Year on five different occasions (’96, ’99,’05, ’10 & ’11). Twice he has been named NAIA National Coach of the Year. The first one came in ’99 following CU’s first National Championship. His second award came after the ’11 National Championship. In ’99, Elders was also named the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Coach of the Year. He also earned Basketball Coached Association of Michigan (BCAM) Coach of the Year honors that same season. In 1996, when Cornerstone was still a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association, Elders was selected as the NCCAA National Coach of the Year.
In three different seasons (’99, ’02 & ’05), Elders teams were ranked #1 in the National Polls for several weeks. Elders has also guided his teams to 30+ victories on five different occasions.
During Elders’ 20 seasons of leading the program, he has coached 24 WHAC All-Academic players, 43 WHAC All-Conference players and 22 NAIA All-Americans. Twelve of Elders’ players have earned NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors.
On six different occasions, Elders has taken his teams on overseas’ missions’ trips. The first one was to the Philippines in 1998. Two years later, Elders led his team to Singapore. In the summers of 2003 and 2005, his teams went back to the Philippines. On the last two trips (2010 & 2013), the Golden Eagles were involved in church construction in the Dominican Republic.
“I’ve had many great memories during my career at CU,” says Elders. “But my fondest memories have been leading my players to different parts of the world on mission’s trips. God has allowed us to use our gifts and abilities to serve others and minister the gospel in these less fortunate counties. These trips are always life-changing for us.”
Elders began his coaching career in 1981 at Grand Rapids Baptist Academy, leading the boys’ JV team to a 70-29 record in five years. From 1986-1989, Elders was at Freedom Baptist Academy in Hudsonville, MI. There he served as the school’s first Athletic Director and also coached the boys’ varsity basketball team.
Arriving at Cornerstone in 1990, Elders responsibilities included Assistant Mens’ Basketball Coach and Head Baseball Coach. From 1993-95, Elders served as Interim Athletic Director for Cornerstone. He was named NAIA District 23 Athletic Director of the Year in 1993-94.
Elders is a 1977 graduate of Grand Valley State University where he earned a B.S. degree in Physical Education. He received his M.A. in Athletic Administration in 1993 from Western Michigan University.
In addition to his Men’s Basketball Head Coaching position at CU, Elders’ also serves as Associate Athletic Director and teaches classes in the Kinesiology Department.
Elders resides with his wife Holly in East Grand Rapids. He has four stepchildren: Nic (26), Zac (24), Cam (21) and Missy (18).