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Over the past decade as the head coach for Cornerstone University basketball, Kim Elders has established himself as one of the top coaches at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II level. During that time, Elders averaged 27 victories (four seasons with 30 or more), took his teams to four Final Fours, three Elite Eights, one Sweet Sixteen and captured the National Championship once in 1999.
Elders, who begins his eighteenth season at the Cornerstone helm, has a career record of 425-179. Elders' teams have averaged 25 wins per year since he took over the program in 1993. His victories and winning percentage (.704) rank number one at the school. Since the 1995-96 campaign when the Cornerstone program began to establish national-level status, Elders has garnered several coaching awards, including: Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) Coach of the Year (1996, '99,'05 and 2010), NAIA National Coach of the Year (1999), National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) National Coach of the Year (1999), and Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) Coach of the Year (1999). Elders also earned National Coach of the Year in 1996 in the National Christian College Athletic Association.
Elders has led the Golden Eagles to five regular season conference championships (1996, '99, 2005,'07 and ‘10). His teams have played in 12 consecutive (13 of the last 14) WHAC Championship playoff games, capturing the title six times (1999, 2001, '02, '04, '06 and ‘10).
During his tenure, CU has been in the NAIA Top 20 in ten different seasons. In 1999, 2003 and '06, Elders' teams held the no. 1 rank in the national poll for several weeks. He has coached eighteen Academic All-Americans, 38 All-Conference players and eighteen All-Americans.
On five different occasions Elders has taken his teams overseas on mission's trips. The first one was in 1998 to the Philippines. Two years later they spent three weeks in Singapore, ministering and putting on basketball clinics. In 2003, the team took a 12-day trip back to the Philippines, sharing the Gospel in many of the areas they did four years earlier. In the spring of 2005, Elders led his team back to the Philippines - this time to the northern part of the country. This past spring the team traveled to the Dominican Republic where they played games, put on clinics and also were involved in different building projects.
"These trips were the highlights of my career," said Elders. "To use the abilities that God has given us to help further His kingdom is an opportunity not everyone gets. They were life-changing events for all of us."
Elders began his coaching career in 1981 at Grand Rapids Baptist Academy, leading the JV Mustangs to a 70-29 record in five seasons. The next four years he spent at Freedom Baptist Academy where he guided that athletic program during its inaugural years. He served as athletic director and boys' basketball coach during that time.
Arriving at Cornerstone in 1990, Elders' responsibilities included assistant basketball coach and head baseball coach. Three years later, he was named head basketball coach, inheriting the team that went 8-24 the previous season.
Elders, a 1977 graduate of Grand Valley State University, earned a B.S. in physical education. In 1993, he received his M.A. in athletic administration from Western Michigan University.
Besides coaching, Elders' other responsibilities at Cornerstone include associate athletic director and professor in the kinesiology department.
Elders lives in Ada with his wife Holly and four step-children: Nic (22), Zac (20), Cam (18) and Missy (15).
Eric DeSantis begins his sixtth season as a Golden Eagles assistant coach. He completed his undergraduate work at Moody Bible Institute (Chicago, Ill.) in 2003 with a degree in family ministries. While at Moody, he played three seasons on the men's basketball team. DeSantis was named Most Valuable Player after his senior season. He also led his team on mission trips to both Egypt and Alaska. DeSantis received his master of arts in counseling from Cornerstone in December of 2005.
DeSantis' responsibilities include recruiting and working with CU's post players.
Dennis Graham enters his second year as the head junior varsity men's basketball coach and varsity assistant coach at Cornerstone. He will also serve as the recruiting coordinator. He completed his undergrad work at Cornerstone University in 2005, majoring in elementary education, while having a double minor in English and history. During his time at Cornerstone, he was involved with the basketball program for three years as a student manager.
As a coach, Graham has several years of experience in many different realms of coaching including head coaching stints at Vestaburg High School where he was the varsity girls' basketball coach as well as the junior varsity boys' coach and coached both boys' and girls' basketball at Sparta Middle School. In 2004, Graham coached one season of American Athletic Union (AAU) basketball with the Grand Rapids Storm 16U team and last year served as a volunteer assistant at Alma College.
Currently, Graham is working toward his master's degree in business management at Cornerstone.
Lance Roark has been an integral part of Cornerstone's basketball success for 19 years - three as a player and 16 as the junior varsity or assistant coach. As a player, Roark is still considered one of the best point guards to put on a Golden Eagles uniform. During his senior year, he established a single season record when he dished out 243 assists - a record that still stands to this day. To go along with his 7 APG, Roark also averaged 15 PPG and 7 RPG, which earned him First Team All-Conference honors. He was equally successful in the classroom, maintaining a 3.3 GPA and was named to the WHAC All-Academic Team that same year.
After graduating from Cornerstone in 1994, he received his master's degree in educational leadership at Grand Valley State University in 2001. He currently teaches language arts and physical education classes at Sparta High School in Sparta, Mich. He has served in the Sparta district as the varsity basketball coach, junior varsity soccer coach, and assistant baseball coach at various times since 1995.
Roark's responsibilities include recruiting, working with Cornerstone's perimeter players and alumni relations.
He is married to Jodi Hillaker Roark (CU '96) and has two daughters: Alexandra (11) and Avery (7).