NewsMVNU's Zarley Keeps Busy Making a Difference in Many Roles
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - For Nick Zarley, there is no such thing as a typical week and that is just the way the Mount Vernon Nazarene University senior likes it.
A four-year member of the MVNU men’s basketball team, Zarley is in the midst of a very busy school year. Besides playing a key role as a starter or sixth man for the Cougars, he is working towards completing his degree in Early Childhood Education. On top of that, he serves as the youth minister at the Croton Church of Christ in his nearby hometown.
A former All-Ohio Honorable Mention selection in basketball at Northridge High School, Zarley has seen action in 85 games during his career at MVNU as the Cougars have posted a 78-43 overall record. This season, he has played in all 20 games with three starts and is averaging 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds as the team has gone 14-6 to date.
"Playing basketball here has been a very positive experience,” said Zarley. "I have developed relationships that will last a lifetime. The focus that Coach Flemming has placed on living a Christian life has had a strong influence on my life. Never before had I been given the opportunity to play, pray, and worship with teammates. I feel truly blessed to have been a part of this program for the last four years.”
In the classroom, Zarley has posted a 3.285 grade point average as he works toward his career goal of obtaining a teaching position upon completion of his studies. He would also like to coach either basketball or baseball at the high school level, and he plans to continue his ministry at his church.
Speaking of that ministry, Zarley has been working in his role as youth minister since the spring of his sophomore year. His duties include teaching a college-age Sunday School class and leading children’s church in praise and worship and lesson activities for children ages 5-11. On Sunday nights, he teaches a class of fourth, fifth, and sixth-graders and helps with recreation. Then, on Wednesday nights, he heads up PHIL413, which is a casual Bible study and prayer time for the teens. His position is considered part-time during the school year and moves to full-time in the summer as there are more opportunities for special events and activities.
Among the many highlights of Zarley’s time at MVNU, he lists the basketball team’s missions trip to Jamaica as the biggest one. "That trip made a huge impact on my life and my walk with Christ,” he said.
"I have seen Nick grow so much as a player over the past four years,” said MVNU head coach Scott Flemming. "He has worked very hard to become a very good college basketball player and a significant contributor to our success. I have also seen him grow as a young man of God. Nick has become one of our spiritual leaders on the team. He has a real passion for ministry. I have no doubt that he will make an impact on the lives of the young people he will coach, teach, and work with in his church ministry. MVNU is a better place because Nick chose to come here.”
As Zarley’s time at MVNU begins to draw to a close, he has several words of advice for high school students in the process of making their college choice. "I would strongly encourage anyone to attend MVNU,” he said. "The overall atmosphere is uplifting and an experience no one should miss out on. I have been overwhelmed with the support I have experienced from the faculty, staff, and administrators. For anyone seeking out a ‘real’ college experience, MVNU is the place to be.”