by Haley Cleveland (’17, ’20)
Image: Defenders Jon Konzelman, David Robinson, Mike Show, Mike Walker and Don Davis unite on the campus of Second Baptist School in Texas.
Don Davis (’01), Mike Walker (’00) and Jon Konzelman (’07) have a long history with CSU—and each other.
“[We] work efficiently and seamlessly together because we have similar philosophies, priorities and values,” says SBS Head of School Don Davis, adding, “The Christ-centered education that CSU provided us with laid the foundation for our worldview and strong biblical convictions.”
Davis says, “The biblical foundation I received at Clarks Summit University prepared me to enter any context and apply biblical wisdom and principles to my work and job responsibilities.” That foundation has been necessary for different situations he has encountered, including a time in 2020 when more than 60 SBS students were on educational trips overseas when a travel ban was issued due to COVID-19. “Jon Konzelman and I worked through the night to make travel arrangements to ensure the safe and seamless return of our students to the USA,” recalls Davis.
Konzelman, SBS head of upper school, was similarly influenced by his time at CSU. “I have hired CSU grads at each institution I have been in because of their commitment to Christ, desire to serve others and the common values that were instilled in us,” he says. His own time at CSU was influenced by “outstanding professors in the Health and Physical Education program…They demanded excellence from us each day. At the time, I admit, I thought they were a little over the top. Looking back now, they were teaching excellence and a desire to be the very best that God called us to be. I am grateful for their genuine love for Christ and Christian education.”
Mike Walker, director of athletics at SBS, says, “I have worked with other CSU graduates literally my whole career. It has been amazing.” He explains, “There is an incredible understanding between myself and other CSU graduates in terms of our ‘why.’ I have no doubt that the other CSU graduates and I all serve in an attempt to help others know and love our Lord and Savior more deeply.” Walker, like Davis and Konzelman, appreciates the spiritual formation that took place in CSU’s basketball program under head coach Mike Show, who is now CSU’s recruitment and relations administrator and head golf coach. As a current AD, Walker says, “the program helped me shape my expectation for how athletics from a Christian perspective should look.”
Although the trio played Defender basketball at different times, they all point to that experience as a significant influence on their present ministry.
“Other than my family, no person has impacted my life more than Coach Mike Show,” shares Konzelman. “He cared about us as basketball players, but he loved and treated us like sons. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t apply a lesson Coach taught me directly or indirectly.” The team aspect also prepared him for his present position because of Show’s focus on service. Davis agrees, saying, “Our experience playing for Coach Mike Show instilled discipline, developed our leadership skills and gave us a heart to serve people.”
The CSU bond goes beyond a shared educational or athletic experience. Walker, Davis and Konzelman each attest to the community and relationship their families have found in each other. “We do life together,” says Walker. “Our children are close friends; our wives are close; it’s like having a family away from family.” He adds, “Don and I work out together each morning. Besides reaping the benefits of physical exercise, we are able to encourage and challenge each other to become better leaders, husbands and fathers.” Davis says, “We solve problems together; we celebrate together; we mourn together.”
Davis, Konzelman and Walker each named several other CSU alumni they have had the privilege to work with before they came to SBS. Davis says, “I hire CSU grads because of their love for God, their commitment to live their lives for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ, and their humility to serve others.” Walker adds, “I love CSU graduates because they work hard, pay attention to detail, and keep an eternal perspective at the forefront of all they do.”