NORTH NEWTON, Kan. – The Bethel College athletic department has announced the appointment of A.B. Stokes as the next head coach of the Thresher football team. Stokes returns to Bethel to become the 24th head coach in the program’s history, dating back to 1914.

It’s an honor to welcome Coach Stokes and his family back to Bethel College,” said Director of Athletics Tony Hoops.

“The impact that he made on Bethel College and establishing the Bethel football program four years ago was profound, Bethel College football is lucky to have a leader with such high integrity.”

“I would like to thank God for this opportunity,” Stokes said. “It is a blessing for myself and where I came from as a young man to be able to lead a college football program.”

Coach Stokes wanted to thank President Gering and Director of Athletics Tony Hoops for thinking about him when the position opened and ultimately offering him the opportunity to lead this group of young men.

During his first stint at Bethel, Stokes spent time as the offensive coordinator (2018) and associate head coach/director of recruiting (2019).

In 2018, the Thresher offense finished the season averaging more than 274 rushing yards per game, the third-most nationally.

The 2018 team had three All-KCAC 2nd Team players and 13 total All-KCAC award recipients.

Bethel finished the 2019 season with a record of 8-3, second in the KCAC.

They were ranked in the NAIA Top 25 for the first time since 2008, and ended the year as the #24 team in the polls.

The 2019 Threshers had two NAIA All-Americans, the KCAC Special Teams Player of the Year and six All-KCAC 1st Team players, and recorded 19 total conference awards.

Coach Stokes expressed his gratitude and thankfulness to his family for all of their sacrifices that allowed him to accept this position.

Before returning to Bethel, Stokes spent the last two years at Lincoln Christian School in Tulsa, Okla. where he served as an assistant football coach as well as head wrestling coach.

While launching a first-year wrestling program, Stokes also helped the football team achieve a 12-1 record and a state runner-up finish.

With the 2021 season still in play, Lincoln Christian is 12-0 and playing for another trip to the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) 3A Football State Championships.

Stokes spent six years at Larned High School before his first stint with the Threshers where he served as the head football coach as well as the head track and field coach.

He was able to lead the Indians past several milestones during his tenure in western Kansas, including ending a 28-year playoff drought and winning back-to-back first-round playoff games for the first time in program history.

Stokes played for Andy Lambert at Trinity International University, Deerfield, Ill., from 2003-05 before following Lambert to Sterling (Kan.) College, where Stokes finished his collegiate football career, 2005-06. Stokes also coached receivers for Sterling for three semesters following the conclusion of his playing career.

Coach Stokes stated that he is excited to do more than football with the young men he will be leading. He is wanting to guide and minister to them with hopes they graduate from Bethel College as better men than when they arrived.

AD Hoops said that Coach Stokes is one of the most profound leaders he has ever been around. He said that Coach Stokes’ ability to impact young people at an elite level will allow him to create a special culture within the program.

Returning to Bethel, Stokes takes over a perennial running powerhouse. The Threshers have led the country in rushing yards each of the last two seasons.

Bethel Football has seen itself ranked for the entirety of the last two seasons, coming off back-to-back KCAC Conference Championships.

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