Byron Shenk has been a pillar of the George Fox Athletic department for more than a quarter of a century. After serving as a women's soccer coach through the 90's and for many more years as an athletic trainer, he now spends his days as a full-time professor. And what is abundantly clear is how many people cherish this man and seek his wisdom in their lives.
As he walks down the stairs of the Wheeler Sports Center toward the sports medicine room, he runs into a couple of baseball players heading to practice. One of them stops immediately to ask Byron if he can stop by his office tomorrow morning. Byron says yes and tells him to bring his favorite Bible verse to share. Later he tells me that he's discipling this student, which has always been one of his favorite things to do. He regularly prays with students and cares deeply for them both in times of crisis and celebration.
Here's a look into his behind-the-scenes role in the classroom, the sports medicine centers, and his office.
How long have you been working with Bruin Athletics and why did you decide to join in the first place?
I joined GFU in the fall of 1990 and felt that God was calling me to be here.
What are your responsibilities on a normal day? What's your routine?
Beginning in the fall of 2015 I reduced my load from the previous 24 years which was 50% teaching and 50% athletic training, and now my full-time position is professor. I do, however, still cover some athletic events as the on-site certified athletic trainer, for head athletic trainer, Dale Isaak. Typically I am up at 6:00 am, spend 30 minutes in Bible study, eat breakfast, and am in my office around 8:00 am. (I live in McMinnville so have a 25 minute drive). I usually leave my office to go home around 3:30 pm.
What do you like most about your job in Bruin Athletics?
What I enjoy most is serving athletes and coaches in the character and authority of Jesus with joy, a tempered sense of humor, and with humility.
Is there anything people would be surprised to know about your job?
My role now is full-time professor. I have, however, been involved in a number of Bible studies/devotionals here at GFU over the years and I truly enjoy doing Bible studies. Outside of campus I still enjoy cutting trees/wood and running my chain saw since I was a professional timber cutter for many years during the summertime months.
Do you have a favorite memory from your years in Bruin Athletics that you'd be willing to share?
My favorite memories are too many to really highlight but one or two would include helping a coach from one of our conference schools meet Christ as Lord and Savior before he passed away from cancer. It has been a wonderful blessing to see many athletes come to know Christ over the years, and then I was the on-site certified athletic trainer when our men won the National Division III baseball championship and when the women won the National Division III basketball championship.
Have you heard any good jokes you can share?
How does God wash the ocean? ... Twice a day with Tide.