July 17, 2012
This week's edition of the TMC coaches series features Jason Semelsberger, sixth year head coach for the Men’s Golf team.
TMC: How did you become a coach at The Master’s College?
JS: While I was playing golf professionally, I was working part-time at a Roger Dunn's Golf Shop to pay the bills. There I met Paul Berry, the former Athletic Director of TMC, and we hit it off. We found out we both loved golf, we were both believers, and we knew a lot of the same people. He called me a year or so later and asked me to consider taking the vacant head coaching position at The Master's College.
TMC: What was your first exposure to golf?
JS: My First exposure to golf came because of my parents. Both of them played quite a bit and I wanted to go run around with them out on the course when I was around the age of four. They got me some plastic clubs and let me come out to be with them. I loved it and started competing at the age of seven, after a year of group lessons at Vista Valencia Golf Course.
TMC: What has been the biggest challenge coaching over the years?
JS: Having to be patient and allow the guys to grow at their own pace ultimately proves to be the biggest challenge. When you fall in the ages of 18-21, you pretty much have EVERYTHING figured out. Until you move into your later 20’s and early 30’s you gain more experience and realize how little you know. But it’s that constant challenge of understanding their situations and share from a standpoint that will be received well and be applied to life.
TMC: Describe your most memorable experience at The Master’s College?
JS: Of course there have been good memories and bad memories in my five years at TMC. I think the nine holes of golf I played with Coach Lundstrom, my predecessor, sticks out to me as a great memory. He and I went out to Valencia Country Club and he just walked me through everything I could expect as the TMC golf coach and answered all of my questions. It struck me how much he cared about the program and his concern for passing it to me. He demonstrated a passion for the college’s golf program and, in particular, the players that he coached. I learned a lot from that and continue to learn from him. Other than that, it's a smattering of funny stories from the extended rides in our team van.
TMC: What do you love most about The Master’s College?
JS: I love our commitment to teaching, coaching, learning, mentoring and doing everything in accordance to what the Bible says for how to live life and obey God.
What do you view the greatest challenge the sport presents?
JS: What I love about the sport is that it’s extremely challenging. As you improve, you feel a sense of accomplishment because it’s really hard to get better and it allows you to step aside and track your progress. In an individual sport, like golf, you have no one to blame but yourself. The teammate didn’t drop the pass, nor did the other player set the pick…but it boils down to your own skills and you alone are responsible within God’s sovereignty, of course.
TMC: What character qualities do you look for in an ideal athlete?
JS: It would be trite for me to say that I look for leaders (although I do!), but I think that on the golf course I would like a student-athlete who will do what it takes to get better, relishes the opportunity to succeed under pressure and is not afraid to fail. Most importantly, we want players who draw all of their confidence from the Lord and play for Him.
TMC: In what ways do you view coaching as a ministry?
JS: The most important thing I can do as a coach is affect young men's lives by helping them grow in their relationships with Christ and as men. It's in that area that I believe God will hold me accountable, particularly, as to how I encourage the players that I have had the privilege to coach. While it is very important, golf is far below that on my list of priorities.
TMC: How would you describe a perfect season?
JS: A perfect season is one where the Lord receives maximum glory through our golf team. I'm not going to lie, it would also include winning the national championship!
TMC: With the 2012 season behind us, how are you looking to build off your success for the 2013 season?
JS: Last year was one of my hardest years of coaching. As soon as last season was over, I began to look forward to coming back and having the opportunity to put the past behind and move forward. This coming year is already surrounded by excitement and a great feeling among the players with great aspirations in what the Lord has planned for the team.
Jason and his wife, Amy Grace, have been married for two years, attend Faith Community Church and currently reside in Canyon Country, CA.
Join us next week as we interview Bobby Blanken of the Women’s Volleyball team.