An outstanding running back during his playing days at Azusa Pacific, Ben Buys has proven himself to be among the nation's outstanding young coaches as he enters his fifth year of coaching for his alma mater.
Buys, who ranks sixth on Azusa Pacific's all-time rushing chart and is the program's No. 2 all-time scorer, works with the Cougar running backs and serves as the program's recruiting coordinator. As a coach, Buys mentored Terrell Watson, who became the program's all-time leading rusher and scorer, shattering over 20 school and conference records during his four-year career before moving on to the NFL after graduation. Watson, who was named the 2015 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl MVP, signed a post-draft free agent contract with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Despite a playing career cut a season short by injuries that also forced him to miss another eight games in a three-year span, Buys rushed for 2,516 yards in his 26-game (97.8 avg.) career from 2002 to 2004. He registered a dozen 100-yard rushing games, including a career-high 243 vs. Southern Oregon in 2003, and helped lead the Cougars to a 28-6 record, which is the best three-year run in program history.
As a 2002 redshirt freshman, he rushed for 855 yards and 16 TDs (second best single-season total to Christian Okoye's school-record 21 TDs), and followed with 996 yards and 12 TDs in just seven games of his 2003 sophomore year (he missed the final three games after suffering torn ankle ligaments on a career-long 83-yard run and certainly would have become just the seventh Cougar to rush for a 1,000 yards in a season had he been able to play another game). As a 2004 junior, he tallied 665 rushing yards on 174 carries with another nine TDs. Despite having an additional year of eligibility, the physical wear had taken its toll and Buys stepped away from the game with a school-record 37 touchdowns and 226 career points scored.
He guided the Cougars to a pair of NAIA playoff appearances, including advancement to the 2004 semifinals.
Buys competed three seasons in track & field at Azusa Pacific and was a member of the Cougars' 2001 (outdoor) and 2002 (indoor) NAIA national championship teams as a triple jumper.
He came to Azusa Pacific after fashioning an all-state career at Denver (Colo.) Christian High where he set seven school records in four seasons, including 4,580 career rushing yards and 356 points.
He returned to Azusa Pacific and the game of football after spending five years as a youth pastor at a local Southern California church. In addition to his ministry work, Buys also served one season as the offensive coordinator for the eight-man football program at Pacific Lutheran High School in Torrance, Calif.
In 2007 he appeared on Fox's "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader" hosted by Jeff Foxworthy.
Buys graduated from Azusa Pacific in 2005 with a bachelor's degree in youth ministry, and he is currently working on his master's degree in physical education at Azusa Pacific.
Ben and his wife, Carlie, also an Azusa Pacific alum, live in Azusa, with their one-year old son Truman.