Sept. 13, 2017

 If The Master’s University were to assemble an intramural basketball team made up of its four new hires for the 2017-2018 athletic year, the team wouldn’t be half bad.

Well, it might be half bad.  Lena Kelley

 Master’s has hired two former All-Americans to serve as its men’s and women’s basketball assistant coaches, respectively. It has also hired Mason Nesbitt as sports information director and Nate Akin as an assistant athletic trainer.

 Akin, a 2012 Master’s graduate, will be working with women’s soccer, cross country, track and field and men’s golf after finishing a Master of Science in athletic training at California Baptist University this spring.

 As for basketball, Thomas Lowery – a 2001 NCCAA All-American at Christian Heritage College (now San Diego Christian) – joins head coach Kelvin Starr’s staff as the Mustangs look to build on last season’s epic turnaround, when they won 23 more games than the year before.

 Lowery is the father of six children and an eight-year veteran of the United States Marine Corps.

 He has coached club basketball for over 20 years, girls varsity hoops for six years and boys varsity for three years (as an assistant with vaunted Foothills Christian of El Cajon).

 For the girls, Lena Kelley (formerly Rivera) returns to the program after earning NAIA All-American status as a Mustang in 2013.

 After graduating, Kelley built a career in the internet marketing industry as a writer and editor for four years. Though the experience sharpened her professionally, she knew her passion was still on the court.

 She hopes to bring the relentless passion, energy and competitiveness she played with to her coaching role.

 And documenting it all will be Nesbitt, who comes to Master’s via The Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper.

 Nesbitt worked at the paper as a staff writer and sports editor for four years before returning to his alma mater.