The man behind the school: our interview with Dr. Gresham

Dr. Gresham poses with the school mascot at a football game in fall 2012. (Photo by Brad Crofford)

Garvis Long, Staff Writer

You may have heard of him, and you may have even met him. But do you know Dr. Loren P. Gresham?

Let me shed some light on Gresham, a.k.a. the man behind the school.  In addition to being the current president and a former professor, he is a former coach of the Bethany Nazarene College (BNC) men’s basketball team, which achieved remarkable success, including a national championship in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 1981.

Gresham has been the university president for 24 years and has always given back to the Oklahoma City and Bethany communities.

I caught up with the president  to discuss his career, basketball and working with students.

The Echo:  What is your favorite color?

Dr. Loren Gresham:  Blue.  My wife says I look good in blue.

TE:  Where were you born?

LG:  I was born in Nashville, Tennessee, then moved to California.

TE:  What is your biggest joy of being president of SNU?

LG:  The observation of students is my biggest joy: seeing them four or five years and watching them change, mature, how they make contributions to the community and giving them a diploma…  just getting to see lives change for the better.

TE:  What is the thing you like least about being president?

LG:  Trying to deal with a lot of different inside groups.  Everybody is trying to help you do your job.

TE:   How long did you coach?

LG:  Seven years.  Great players help me look like a great coach.

TE:  Do you keep in contact with any of the players?

LG:  I try to keep in touch with them.  We all spread out, so I have only really kept in contact with the ones who live around the area.  We have a reunion of the team every ten years.

TE:  How has coaching helped you with being a president of a university?

LG:  Coaching has helped me in this job through three things.  It helps me evaluate talent, helps me make decisions quickly and sometimes under pressure, and helps me relate to different people.

TE:  Your wife is huge in the Southern Nazarene University community.  How has she helped your career?

LG:  My wife is a very smart person.  I trust her a lot.  We talk a lot, and more often than not she’s right.  She loves students, loves being with students and is very understanding about my work.

TE:  Who is your favorite basketball team?

LG:  The Oklahoma City Thunder. It’s great to have a basketball team in this city.

TE:  Who is your favorite basketball player?

LG:  Michael Jordan. He was a great player.

[Editor’s note: this interview is from reporter’s notes and is not an exact transcript.]