Kenneth Eugene Conrad g71
Kenneth "Ken" Eugene Conrad transferred to Fort Wayne Bible College (FWBC) in 1967 from the University of Montana, where the former journalism major played two years of collegiate basketball (1965-1967) following a stellar high school career at East Peoria Community High School (1961-1965). One highlight at Montana was defeating the University of Notre Dame in the Rainbow Classic, but God had more in mind for Ken than the fame and glamour of big-time basketball when he called him to ministry. Don Odle, Vernon Peterson, and Bob Moening were among those who had pointed the way toward Christian discipleship and sacrificial service.
Though he only had three semesters of eligibility left at FWBC, during that brief time (1968-1969) Ken brought remarkable defensive skills to the program and re-wrote the offensive record book, establishing at least 10 new marks before he was done:
As impressive as these numbers were, Ken's season and career averages had actually dropped precipitously during a span when he reported into games where he was too injured to play more than a minute or two. Ken still finished his senior year among the top 15 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) scorers in the nation, as the top scorer in the city of Fort Wayne, and as a leading pick for the collegiate All-City team.
Ken's real impact on FWBC athletics came over the next three years (1969-1972) as an assistant to head basketball coach Stephen Morley. The two men worked well together. A school that had known only one previous winning season against full collegiate competition was transformed by a revamped coaching philosophy that emphasized intense conditioning, carefully orchestrated practices, rugged defense, tenacious rebounding, a highly disciplined offense, and above everything else, unselfish team play; all this with limited facilities, no athletic scholarships, and small squads that injuries sometimes reduced to as few as six players. Ken, who had formerly edited the Student Voice, even introduced media brochures, bringing a touch of class to the program.
After a slow start that first year, the 1969-1970 team finished 13-12 and were co-champions of the Western Division of the North Central Christian Athletic Conference (NCCAC). His second year the 1970-1971 team went 19-7 and repeated as divisional NCCAC co-champions, then won both the NCCAC tournament and the NCCAA District 3 championship game against arch-rival Bethel College to go on to the NCCAA national tournament in Chattanooga. There the Falcons finally bowed out after a hard fought tussle with that era's perennial champion, Azusa Pacific. His final year the high flying 1971-1972 Falcons went 21-5, won the inaugural Falcon Invitational, and led the entire nation (some 700 NAIA teams at that time) in both team defense (59.7 points per game) and rebounding (64.2%). Post-season play came to an agonizing halt after the loss of a premier point guard.
Ken, who graduated from FWBC with a B.A. in Pastoral Training in 1971, began regular pulpit supply before he finished school. Then, in 1972 Ken embarked upon what has become an extraordinarily rich and fruitful ministry with Youth for Christ (YFC), where he has served with great distinction ever since-over 35 years. He is currently Executive Director for Northeast Indiana, covering DeKalb, Noble, LaGrange, and Steuben Counties. From the beginning, Ken's passion for teenagers, heart for ministry, ready wit, good humor, speaking abilities, and leadership skills have been widely recognized. Through the years, he has simultaneously filled a variety of regional and national roles with YFC, yet never losing his focus on direct outreach to needy, young people or his responsibilities for sustaining local chapters. Ken has twice received a YFC Presidential Award, once as Best USA Ministry Director (1983), and then again for the Top YFC Chapter in the United States of America (USA) (1998).
Along the way, Ken has lent his wisdom and gifts as a strategic planner to various other community groups and Christian organizations, including the Cole Center YMCA, the Auburn Ministerial Alliance, the East Noble Ministerial Association, Drug Free Noble County, Noble County Community Foundation Scholarship Committee, Taylor University Fort Wayne Alumni Council, and the vital sports media ministry to athletes and fans, Face to Face.
Ken and his wife Donna, a career educator, live in Kendallville, Indiana, where they have long been active at First Christian Church. They have two sons, Sean (an actuary) and Christopher (a family care physician).