This summer, Dr. Samuel Botta, Regent University’s founding Director of Athletics, passed the torch to Michael W. Allen after resigning from his position in June. With vast experience in coaching and a passion for developing Christian athletes, Allen was welcomed to Regent University as the new Director of Athletics. He is excited about this appointment and eager to build on what Botta has established.
This change of leadership was a surprise to many as Botta was not looking to resign last semester. However, at the urging of God, he applied for the position of Head of School at the up-and-coming Christian Cornerstone Academy in Leesburg, Virginia. For several years, Botta and his wife had followed the growth of Cornerstone Church in Washington D.C. and admired the leadership’s dedication to the Lord. When the head pastor shared about the new academy and called upon the church’s followers to apply for positions, Botta applied and was soon hired. Though he feels he is leaving a part of himself at Regent, Botta is confident in his next step and sure that God will use Allen in fantastic ways as Regent.
A New Leader
Allen was drawn to Regent based on previous interactions with friends connected to the university. He shares that he had his eye on the university before it introduced an undergraduate program in 2000. Seeing the potential and value in creating an athletics department, he was thrilled when Regent introduced athletics several years ago. Now, Allen has the opportunity and privilege to work and further Regent athletics, something he had a passion for even before its creation.
Coming from a sports-oriented family, Allen drew inspiration from both of his parents to pursue a career in sports education. Growing up, Allen was involved with athletics year-round, participating in cross country, basketball and baseball. He continued with basketball in college, playing at Chowan University for the entirety of his undergraduate education. After his collegiate career, Allen coached for several schools and tournaments before being hired by Regent this summer.
As the new athletics director, Allen’s immediate goal is to build meaningful relationships with his athletes and the general student body. He hopes to encourage the student body to support Regent’s athletes by attending games and cheering on the teams. To build on Regent’s Christian foundation, Allen also desires to cultivate spiritual growth within each player. He notes, “We don’t only base our successes on wins and losses but also by asking, at the end of the day, how we are treating each other and our opponents. We want to glorify God through our actions and attitudes.”
Allen also has several long-term goals for developing Regent’s athletic department, including creating a booster club and hosting an annual homecoming event. These ideas are in the works to encourage students, parents and alumni to help support Regent athletics by raising funds and boosting morale.
Final Words from Dr. Botta
Botta is honored to have been such an integral part of the athletic program over the past four years (2018-2022). When reflecting on his time in the department, he noted that he is most proud to have established the Royals motto “Winning with Character” and the PSALM program (Peer Student Athlete Leadership and Mentorship). He believes that “winning goes beyond the scoreboard” to how students conduct themselves and portray Christ.
He utilized the PSALM program to encourage and recognize students who pursued spiritual development with their peers and strived to imitate Christ.
As parting encouragement to Regent’s student athletes, Botta shares a verse from Zech. 4:10 that urges the people of Judah not to be discouraged by small beginnings but rather trust in God’s goodness and plan. Though Regent’s athletics department started small, it has since grown both athletically and spiritually, and he believes it will continue to flourish.
Botta also speaks directly to the student athletes, saying, “God has an amazing calling on your life, and He has put gifts and talents in you, so use your talents for God’s honor and glory!” Though sad to be leaving Regent, he and his wife are hopeful for the next step in their journey and excited for what Allen will accomplish as the new athletic director.
Allen looks “forward to meeting as many students as possible” and hopes to see everyone at games supporting Regent as one big family!