Sam Mahtani '10
By Christy Wolff ’10
Born in Singapore, Sam Mahtani (‘10) and his family moved to the U.S. when he was just five years old. His dad, a pastor, led churches in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Illinois. Seeing his dad make a difference by spreading the Gospel inspired Mahtani to do the same – but instead of preaching, he found joy in sharing Christ’s love through soccer.
Currently the Assistant Women’s Soccer Coach at Belmont University (Nashville, TN), Mahtani helps players grow in their relationship with Jesus through his leadership. “You can speak into students’ lives when you have a relationship already built,” Mahtani shared. “This is a big part of why I went into coaching.”
His decision to become a coach didn’t happen overnight. For many years, Mahtani wasn’t sure what his next steps after high school would be; a four-year college wasn’t on his mind. He considered being a chef and even applied to a cooking school in Chicago, but realized he’d likely be working hectic hours and didn’t want to be pushed into such a specific job in the cooking industry.
Open to other options, Mahtani’s sister-in-law – a Trinity alum – encouraged Mahtani to check out the campus. Before he knew it, he was officially a student at Trinity.
His interest in athletics grew once he joined the basketball team during high school. He played soccer to stay in shape and just enjoyed the game. During his freshman year at Trinity, Mahtani formed friendships with members of the soccer team by playing intramural soccer together, which led to Mahtani trying out as a walk-on player. By the spring, Mahtani was officially a player on the team. He grew exponentially in his role on the team, from a walk-on tryout to starting defender to captain his senior year.
“At Trinity, I learned how to gain common ground and understanding across the board; whether you’re from a different background, have a different viewpoint, or have a different skin color, I could find common ground and build friendships.”
Mahtani’s passion for playing soccer grew into an interest in coaching, which led to him becoming the men’s basketball team manager as a freshman and pursuing a minor in coaching. He joined the coaching staff at Illiana High School (Dyer, IN) – a role that helped him identify his calling.
After graduation, Mahtani took a marketing job at Trinity. “I wanted to coach at Trinity and needed a job that would be flexible and allow me to coach. The marketing department at Trinity allowed me to do that with my boss, Kim Fabian, who worked with my schedule.” This meant that Mahtani balanced a full-time job, assisting in coaching the women’s soccer team and working toward his master’s in coaching and athletic administration.
His hard work paid off with the opportunity to start both the men’s and women’s soccer programs from scratch at Providence Christian College (Pasadena, CA). His primary focus was on recruiting. “We had two kids at the school interested in soccer, so I had to recruit two full soccer teams in January to play that August,” Mahtani said. He also juggled a handful of athletic director duties, such as hiring staff, coordinating equipment and gear, renting soccer fields, making travel arrangements, and creating a process for the program.
Mahtani used these skills to volunteer at the Western Region Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Sports Camp held at UCLA. Mahtani oversaw several coaches and leaders, and together they created a unique program for 60 young girls. “During the camp, students were asked to share their testimonies, and I shared mine, too. We provided a space to help students share their stories,” Mahtani shared.
Six years after starting the program at Providence and eager for his next challenge, Mahtani accepted a coaching job at Belmont University – where he still works. His wife, Roxy, is a Tennessee native, meaning they would be closer to the family after living in California. They welcomed their first child in April 2022.
Mahtani reflects on valuable leadership skills that he developed at Trinity, such as managing people, presenting himself, and communicating clearly. These were fine-tuned by professors, coaches, mentors, and faculty. Mahtani pointed out that professors welcomed one-on-one conversations with their students – a valuable benefit to being a part of a smaller campus and having accessibility to professors.
“At Trinity, I learned how to gain common ground and understanding across the board; whether you’re from a different background, have a different viewpoint, or have a different skin color, I could find common ground and build friendships,” Mahtani said.
Growing up in the Church, Mahtani wanted his years at Trinity to be a time of growth for his faith. “I learned that there are a lot of Christians on campus who have a different viewpoint than me, and that’s ok; it doesn’t remove the fact that we’re all Christians and understand that Jesus died for our sins.”
Today, Mahtani is helping others develop their faith while enjoying a shared love for soccer. “It’s not about saying I love Jesus and I love soccer; those two go hand in hand for me. I am now in a place where I get to coach at a Division 1 program, allowing me to have an impact by sharing the Gospel through relationships. I want to be the catalyst in players’ lives by putting them in a position to learn more about Christ and be there to listen.”