KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Away from the pomp and circumstance at his alma mater, Jim Kessler was able to formally say goodbye to college basketball on a big stage.
Kessler coached the West All-Stars Tuesday night at the NAIA All-Star Basketball Game as part of a doubleheader with the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship. The title game saw Georgetown (Ky.) defeat Carroll College (Mont.) 68-48.
The first act, however, had a pair of Hall of Fame coaches lead the All-Stars in an exhibition at Municipal Auditorium. Kessler, who wrapped up a 42-year career on the sidelines of Grace College last week at the NCCAA Championships, led the NAIA East All-Stars. His senior superstar, Logan Godfrey, also took part for the East in his final contest as a college player.
Kessler, who won his final game for the Lancers as his team placed fifth at the NCCAA tournament, finished his illustrious career with 788 victories and currently sits tied for 28th on the coach’s all-time wins list for any level. On the other side of the court, the man who is currently tied with Kessler on the all-time list, Bob Burchard, was also suiting up for the final time to represent Columbia College (Mo.).
The game itself saw the West All Stars beat the East All Stars 111-107. Stats from the actual game were not immediately released by the NAIA.
Kessler plans on retaining a position with Grace College going forward in an ambassadorship role, serving not only the athletic department, but the college as a whole.