Virtue-Driven Athletics

As an NCAA DIII school, Bluffton coaches and student-athletes not only perform well in competition but focus their team culture around Bluffton’s four enduring values of community, discovery, respect and service. Through our Virtue-Driven Athletics program, we lift up habits of excellence through a shared framework for all Bluffton athletes.

Highlights of Virtue-Driven Athletics

DAM Awards

DAM Awards

During a red-carpet event, student-athletes are recognized for both their athletic prowess and dedication to their sport and teams. Awards range from Newcomer of the Year to Team Cheerleader

Jimmy Burrow

Inspiring speakers

Special events are planned specifically for the student-athlete experience. Recent events included speakers Jimmy Burrow, vice president of the Joe Burrow Foundation; and Dan Hughes, retired WNBA and Olympic champion coach.


Day of Service

Athletes team up to make a difference in the Bluffton community. Service locations range from Mennonite Home Communities to the Bluffton food pantry. Additional service experiences throughout the year include adopt-a-family during the holiday season

High Five Friday

On Friday mornings in April and September, arms are stretched high and smiles are wide as Bluffton University student-athletes greet Bluffton elementary and middle school students at the start of their day.

Read more about High Five Fridays >


In its first semester as a varsity sport at Bluffton University, all three teams under the esports umbrella advanced to their respective playoffs with Bluffton’s Rocket League Purple team reaching the grand finals.

Read more about Esports at Bluffton >

Happy graduates

The achievements of the class of 2023 were celebrated on Saturday, May 6, during Bluffton's 123rd Commencement ceremony. More than 200 students crossed the stage, including traditional undergraduates, degree completion and master’s degree students.

Read more about Commencement 2023 >

Estee (Arend '13) Hemphill

Originally a criminal justice major with the goal of becoming an arson investigator, Esteé (Arend ’13) Hemphill found her true vocation through a campus job in the athletics department. Eventually, she changed her major to sport management and is now the director of service for the Cleveland Guardians.

Read more about Esteé (Arend ’13) Hemphill >

Michael Pickel '19

At Bluffton, Michael Pickel’s interest in PT was cemented when he shadowed physical therapists at Bluffton Hospital. Now in his first year as a physical therapist, Pickel is working at The Jackson Clinics while studying for a sports clinical specialist board certification.

More about Michael Pickel ’19 >

Coach Neal in Founders Hall

Guy Neal, head men’s basketball coach, retired at the end of his 34th season as the winningest coach in Bluffton athletics history. Over the last three decades Neal has coached the men’s basketball team to 392 wins and multiple conference tournaments.

More about Coach Neal >

Kim Fischer press box

Last summer, a group of alumnae approached the alumni office about hosting a reunion for the players of Coach Kim Fischer. At the same time, President Wood had a vision for a softball press box with restrooms to be built as an addition to the softball complex.

Read more about the Fischer Softball Press Box >