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It Runs in the Family: The Return of Coach Kyle Lindsted

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

It was 2000, and Kyle Lindsted yearned to be the best and yearned to impact lives. Sunrise Christian Academy provided a unique opportunity to accomplish both of those things through basketball. Through a mission of advancing the lives of young men and the kingdom of God through Christian academics, athletics, and basketball; basketball at Sunrise quickly began to flourish under Coach Lindsted’s leadership. By 2010, the program had produced its first scholarship Division 1 Student-Athlete, and would produce 35 more from 2010-2015.

The program had begun playing a national schedule from coast to coast, and had been blessed with exceptional team success. Sunrise was consistently recognized as a top 25 high school program in the country, and won the 2015 Bluegrass National Championship. In 2016, Coach Lindsted and the program witnessed its first NBA player, Buddy Hield, get drafted to the New Orleans Pelicans with the 6th pick in the 1st round.

Buddy Hield standing next to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on draft night

In 2015-16, Coach Lindsted’s calling took him to the Division 1 level as an assistant coach at Wichita State University. In his three seasons there, Coach Lindsted helped the Shockers win nearly 80% of their games, two regular season conference championships, one conference tournament championship, and appear in three NCAA Tournaments. Additionally, Coach Lindsted played an integral role in the development of future 2019 NBA champion and 6th Man of the Year Fred VanVleet, as well as future NBA players Austin Reaves, Landry Shamet, and Ron Baker.

Following the 2017-18 season, Coach Lindsted headed up to the Big 10 as an assistant coach at the University of Minnesota. During his time at Minnesota, the Golden Gophers reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1997.

In 2022-23, Coach Lindsted returned to Sunrise, this time as the Post Grad head coach. Entering the year, there were no Division 1 players on the roster. That didn’t phase Coach Lindsted as through embracing the Sunrise “underdog” mentality the Post Grad team fought and clawed its way to the National Prep Tournament in Worcester, MA where it finished #2 as the national runner-up with a 33-4 record.

While Coach Lindsted was pursuing his passions at the Division 1 level, Sunrise’s Elite High School Team had continued to flourish due to the foundation Coach Lindsted left behind. The continued embrace of the program's mission and values, and leadership of head coach Luke Barnwell allowed the program to continue its reign in the national top 25. They were invited to five consecutive Geico National Tournaments, finished twice in the Final Four and once as the National Runner Up, continued to glorify God's name through on-court play, and delivered the highest standard of mind, body, and spirit.

Coach Lindsted’s successful career and Sunrise’s brief history ultimately comes full circle as we approach the 2023-24 season. Coach Luke Barnwell’s success lead him to the Division 1 level as an assistant coach at Texas Tech University. As Coach Barnwell passed the program back to Coach Lindsted, he said “It’s reassuring to know Coach Lindsted is right here, ready to keep it going and probably improve it, he’s better at it than I was. I feel at peace with where Sunrise is at and I’m forever indebted to the time I spent here. Sunrise developed me as a man and as a follower of Christ and it changed my life. It wasn’t what I necessarily wanted when I started coaching, but it was exactly what I needed.”

As the program transitions back to Coach Lindsted, one thing is for certain: There will be a continued commitment to impact lives, be the best we can be, and to produce leaders of thought, character and faith through pursuing excellence in academia, athletics, and Jesus Christ.

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