Goergen Ends Eagles Career as an All-Time Great On and Off the Court
March 10, 2023
By Andrew Gogerty
(Feature Photo Credit: Karynna Ward)
Every now and then a student-athlete comes along that checks every box: the kind of person that is humble, teachable, talented, competitive, kind, caring, has a heart for the Lord and people, and is a great leader on and off the court or playing field. As Faith Eagles men’s basketball captain Jayce Goergen has concluded his playing career, he has left a legacy as one of those rare individuals—the kind coaches dream of.
Jayce came to Faith Baptist Bible College four years ago after a stellar high school career at nearby Ankeny Christian Academy (ACA). Even though ACA was just two blocks away from Faith’s campus, Faith was not really on his radar. His plan was to attend Iowa State University and major in education. God’s plan was different.
“Bible college didn’t seem like something I wanted to do,” said Jayce. “Coach Fincham approached me and told me I should consider it, that I could still play basketball, study education, and be close to home. God has totally transformed my life and what I want to do with it since coming to Faith.”
A Future in Ministry
Jayce will graduate this spring with a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies and an emphasis in Biblical Counseling. He plans to work full-time at his church in a residency position under his youth pastor to gain experience in preaching and discipleship while pursuing his master’s degree in Biblical counseling. He has taken full advantage of his opportunities for discipleship and ministry as a student-athlete at Faith, which has prepared him well for his future career.
“Faith has totally transformed what I know about the Bible, how to minister to others, and how to use God’s Word effectively,” said Jayce. “It’s helped me with discipleship, evangelism, and one-on-one. I can’t narrow it down to one thing because I’ve learned so much. It has trained me for a life of ministry wherever God is going to lead me.”
A Leader On and Off the Court
Jayce has become both an athletic leader and a spiritual leader on and off the basketball court. A three-time team captain for the Eagles, Jayce set the tone in practice and on game day.
“Jayce is probably the hardest working player I’ve ever coached,” said Eagles Head Coach Brian Fincham. “He has raised our level of play athletically and spiritually. Jayce has been a joy to coach, is always positive, rarely gets frustrated, and always seeks to point others to Christ. While he is a super competitive guy, his ultimate goal is not only to win the game, but to point others to Christ.”
Off the court, Goergen is no different. He is the team’s spiritual captain, leading the Eagles’ Sharpen groups, which keeps players accountable to each other. He is also a small group leader at his church where he mentors approximately 15 young men on a weekly basis from all walks of life, some of which are dealing with challenging circumstances and life issues. It’s where the rubber meets the road, where he has to take what he’s learned and put it into real-life application.
“You know all these things from Bible college, but then actually putting them into practice makes it real,” said Jayce. “Counseling classes have helped me so much just knowing the right probing questions to ask.”
This past fall, Goergen’s faith and everything he has learned was put to the ultimate test as he walked through a tragedy that shook his world and those in his small group he leads.
A Season of Adversity
The night of September 28, 2022, is one Jayce Goergen will never forget. He led his Wednesday small group through Scripture and prayer that night and had a time of fellowship before adjourning for the evening. What Jayce and the other young men in that group did not know was that it would be the last time they would see one of their friends, who left that night and took his own life.
Dealing with his own grief while helping to lead the young men he cares for through their time of darkness would prove the most challenging time of his life—a time when his strength as a leader was stretched beyond the limits that any basketball strength and conditioning training or Bible college training can ever surpass.
“You always know that life is a vapor,” said Jayce, “but when someone close to you like that is gone, you really understand how much of a vapor life is. It made me want to evangelize the unsaved even more.”
That season of adversity caused Jayce to pause and reflect on school, basketball, and life in general. It was a lot to soak in and is still something he thinks about often.
“You never know what people are struggling with. It’s definitely changed my view on basketball. It’s awesome that I get to play basketball but I want to be intentional while I’m here. Being able to create discipleship groups and accountability groups, we check in on each other on Bible reading and keep each other accountable for sin and pray for each other. I know it’s been an encouragement to me and to other guys too. Even basketball can be an opportunity for ministry.”
A Legacy of Success
As Goergen’s illustrious basketball career has reached the finish line, he will be remembered as one of the all-time greats at Faith. Goergen averaged 12.7 points and 3.5 assists per game over his four years, racking up 1,381 points and 379 assists. He finished as one of the top 14 all-time scorers in Faith history and made 107 starts in his career. Some other legacy statistics from Goergen:
- Team MVP
- Eagle Award
- 1st Team All-Conference
- 2nd Team All-Conference (twice)
- 2nd Team All-Region
- 3rd Team All-Region
- Honorable Mention All-Region
- 197 career three-pointers
A Grateful Heart
Goergen is grateful he had the opportunity to play so close to home the last four years. His parents, Jonathan and Shelly, made it to most of his home games, and he credits a lot of his basketball success to his dad, who pushed him to be the best he could be.
When the clock hit zero for the final time this season, Jayce says what he will miss the most are the moments with his teammates.
“We get as close as brothers,” said Jayce. “I’ll miss the conversations. I’ll miss Coach Fincham. He’s been a big help in my life. Even just praying with guys from other teams after the games, I’ll miss. I’ve been able to build a lot of relationships with guys from other teams.”
A Grateful Coach
Jayce Goergen is one of those players that is hard to replace. He’s the team leader, the “glue guy” that everyone respects, the player who never complains and just comes in and does work every day, all while performing at a high level. Beyond all of the statistics and accolades, there are so many intangibles that Jayce brings to the basketball court and the locker room that his true impact is nearly impossible to measure.
What will Coach Fincham miss the most about Jayce now that the final buzzer has sounded on his career? There are too many things to list. As Fincham says, maybe the shorter answer to that question is, “what won’t we miss?”
“Jayce’s consistency and dependability as well as his tireless work ethic and spiritual leadership are what we’ll miss most,” said Fincham. “As a coach, you can tend to take these things for granted when you’ve been blessed with them for multiple years, as I have been with Jayce. Jayce will leave a strong legacy of competitiveness and a spiritual focus that the underclassmen now have the opportunity to pick up and carry.”
Faith Baptist Bible College is blessed each year with amazing student-athletes in every sport. Jayce Goergen is a shining example of one who has set a high bar during his time at Faith. His advice to his teammates is to not wait for ministry opportunities, but to make opportunities happen. Like a dazzling assist to an open teammate, that is game-changing advice from a basketball player who has been making great things happen both on and off the court for the last four years.