The true merit of a coach is not found solely in wins and losses. Rather, the influence of the coach on his players is what counts, both on and off the field. Tim Hall’s legacy as a coach cannot be questioned, as his impact has been felt by his players since he started coaching in 1996.
Tim Hall is preparing to step away from coaching soccer, and last Thursday, PLNU honored the school’s winning-est soccer coach with Tim Hall Night.
“For me, I’m deeply honored and appreciative of what everybody is doing, and honestly humbled, but it’s awkward for me. But I love it because they are doing it out of their hearts for me, so I’m all in.”
The women’s soccer team fell to Azusa Pacific 2-1, while the men’s team prevailed 1-0 over their respective counterparts, but any result on a scoreboard fails to speak to the larger impact that Hall has.
“We are here [at Tim Hall Night], so that says a lot about what sort of an impact Tim had on us,” said Nick Pence, class of 2005. “He invested himself completely with all of his players, and there are those lifelong stories that we have because of him.”
Hall wants his players to succeed on the field, but he always stresses balance in their lives. He wanted good people that would buy in.
“My goal for each athlete was for them to get an education and degree, pursue Christ and have healthy relationships and then soccer,” said Hall.
Senior defender Morgan Pearce learned a lot from Hall. “He taught me self-sacrifice, how can I put myself aside to help my team succeed,” said Pearce. “Then off the field, he has really invested in me spiritually… and he taught me how to take my faith seriously.”
Junior forward Emily Pedlowe will be sad to play for a coach other than Hall next year. “I’ve never had a coach who cares, not even equally, but more about who I am as a person than my ability as a… player,” said Pedlowe.
A highlight for many of Hall’s players were mission trips he took his teams on. Throughout his career, Hall’s teams went on nine mission trips (six to Africa and three to Brazil). They did missionary work through soccer, and Pence and Antl remember playing in stadiums in Africa with barbed wire fences and armed guards watching from above. However, they also remember the work they did there.
“We worked in orphanages, and it was at a time when AIDS had hit hard,” said Pence. “It was really cool to see how our visits made the day for those kids.”
Coach Hall primarily wanted the players to immerse themselves into the different cultures.
“Seeing him interact with the kids there was so cool because his heart and his love is so big, and Tim connected with them just as he would connect with us,” said Pedlowe.
Hall loves when his work can be centered on building relationships with students, players and even strangers in different countries. He took his teams back to Africa because the country is deeply rooted in his own story.
“Everything about me is Africa,” said Hall. “I was raised there, seeing the segregation, the apartheid. Early in… life I learned the beauty of people of different color and culture.”
Hall was adopted by a missionary family and raised in Africa. Soccer was a huge part of the culture there, and it quickly resonated with him. Hall lived there until the age of 14, when he and his family moved to Orange County. When looking for a college, Point Loma Nazarene University was his most desired destination.
“My whole heart and soul was to come [to PLNU],” said Hall. “For me, going to college wasn’t ‘where can I go find the best place to play soccer,’ but for me, it was ‘I’m going to Point Loma, and thank God they have soccer.’ If they didn’t have a soccer team, I still would have come here… I grew up knowing God, but this is where I learned to love God.”
At PLNU, Hall struggled initially with the college transition, but after Dr. Leon Kugler, his coach, challenged him to grow, he loved his experience. Coach Kugler praised Hall’s abilities, but more importantly, he spoke of Tim’s natural leadership qualities and his love of God.
“My first impression of him was at our preseason camp. Tim was a born leader as a freshman and fit in immediately with upperclassmen.” Dr. Kugler continued. “He is a man with a keen sense of competitiveness and brought out the best in his teammates. He had a wonderful career as a player, and then he came back to influence lives for Christ.”
Hall did not initially see coaching as a part of his future, but while he was pastoring a little church, Point Loma called with a job offer to coach soccer and work as the Director of Nicholson Commons. He accepted and later began to teach at PLNU.
“I had not really sought to [coach] and didn’t really have a history in coaching, but I knew I had been around the game enough, so… we came.”
Over the next 22 years, Hall has coached both the men’s and women’s teams. He founded the women’s club soccer team and was instrumental in its transition to becoming an official collegiate sport.
“Tim is a far superior coach to me in my opinion, and he is able to influence athletes for Jesus,” said Dr. Kugler.
As a coach, Hall accumulated the most wins in school history, with 261 entering his final season, and has received multiple Coach of the Year awards. However, none of the accolades were the highlights of coaching for Hall.
“The biggest highlights for me are the kids… I love the relationships… I have two frames in my office that have pictures of every team I’ve ever coached… it’s one of my most prized possessions.”
Now, after a 22-year journey, Tim Hall is ready to move on from coaching.
“I just know it’s time. It’s not something I’m leaving for something better, but it’s time for me to make a change and move forward with where I am in my life… I think it’s the way that God develops us through our journey, so it’s just time for me to do something different. I’m mourning this thing, but that doesn’t mean that it is bad.”
Hall will still remain active on the PLNU campus. He will be moving into a full-time teaching role and also work as the athletic department chaplain.
“He is so relational, and he has the uncanny ability to treat every person like an individual, make them feel special and actually genuinely care about every person he comes in contact with,” said Tyler Hall.