Fields Promoted to Head Men’s Basketball Coach | Judson University Christian College

Fields Promoted to Head Men’s Basketball Coach as Thrift Takes Texas School AD Position

Bruce Fields (Elgin, IL April 27, 2020) The Judson University Men's Basketball Program has a new head coach as Judson University Athletic Director Joel Popenfoose announced the hiring of Bruce Fields as the Head Men's Basketball Coach on Friday. Fields succeeds Brian Thrift, who resigned to become the athletic director and Head Boys Basketball Coach at Brazos Christian High School in Bryan, Texas.

"We are excited to welcome Bruce Fields as our Head Men's Basketball Coach. Bruce has a heart for God and a heart for student-athletes," said Popenfoose. "His character and work ethic is top-notch and he has the experience and the maturity to lead this program forward as he builds on the foundation laid by Brian Thrift."

Fields has been the lead assistant coach for the program for the last two seasons. While at Judson, Fields has seen successes including a four-game home conference winning streak during the 2019-2020 season. The Judson staff coached a balanced offensive attack that included five players averaging 10-plus points-per-game. That season also included a 90-89 upset over #9 Madonna during the season opener.

In 2018, the Eagles had a team that included three players that averaged over 13.5 points-per-game including Taylor Boley, who reached the 1,000 career point threshold during Field's first season as an assistant.

"It is with deep gratitude that I accept this opportunity to be the next head men's basketball coach at Judson University," said Fields. "I would like to thank Dr. Crume, Dr. Fennern, and Joel Popenfoose for entrusting me with this honor. My wife and I also want to thank Coach Thrift for his mentorship and encouragement. I look forward to building upon the culture of brotherhood and love that he has instilled here. I am excited to be coaching this special group of young men as we strive to excel not only on the court but also in the classroom and our surrounding community."

Prior to Judson, Fields served as an assistant coach at Trinity International University during the 2017-2018 season. A season in which the Trojans had a 21-11 overall record, a third-place CCAC finish, and an NAIA Division-II National Tournament Berth.

During the 2016-2017 season, he served as an assistant coach at Olive Harvey College. The Purple Panthers finished with a 17-14 record during that campaign which included an NJCAA Region IV Tournament Appearance.

Fields has also coached at various basketball development camps including the Tom Crean Basketball Camp at Indiana University and the Brandon Miller basketball camp hosted by Butler University.

From 2002-2011 Fields played professional basketball in Europe. In 2004-05, he recorded a 35-point, 15-rebound performance for the Svendborg Rabbits of the Denmark Ligaen League. He would average double-figures in the Swiss (Starwings Basket Regio Basel Team) and French (Saint-Vallier Team) in 2005-2006 and 2007-2008 respectively. In 2009-10 and 2010-11, Fields averaged 10-plus points per game with Flyers Wels of the Austria-Bundesliga League.

Fields played collegiately at NCAA Division-I Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina from 1998-2002 where he graduated in 2002 with a degree in Business Administration. Fields graduates with a Master's Degree In Organizational Leadership from Judson University in 2020.

Fields was inducted into his High School Athletic Hall of Fame at Mooresville, High School in Mooresville, Indiana in 2013.
Thrift leaves Judson as the eighth winningest coach in program history and established a strong culture of character and sportsmanship as the Men's Basketball Program won the CCAC Champions of Character Award in each of the last two seasons. Thrift was responsible for recruiting Boley, Jordan Johnson, Bryce Prochaska, Darius Jones, DeMarcus Williams, and Johnny Flynn.

"I want to thank Judson University for the incredible opportunity to lead the men's basketball program," said Thrift. "It was a life-long dream to be a collegiate head coach and JU let me realize that dream. I will forever be grateful for my time here."

Popenfoose is grateful for the culture that Thrift has brought to the program.

"Brian Thrift has established a healthy team culture and invested liberally in his student-athletes in his years at Judson. Our Men's Basketball program rests on a strong foundation due to Brian's leadership and we will miss his many contributions to our Athletic Department and to Judson University."

The Judson University Athletic Program wants to thank Coach Thrift for his time at Judson and wishes him the best. The program also wants to congratulate Coach Fields on his hiring as Head Coach and the Eagles look forward to his contributions to the Athletic Program.

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