PHOTO COURTESY OF THE BODLEY FAMILY

Blaxers Blog: Why the Bodley Brothers Chose to Leave a Legacy in the NAIA


Brotherhood is a bond that’s hard to break. From the blazing Florida heat to the frigid Michigan breeze, brothers Khanan, Samuel and Simeon Bodley withstood the climates of lacrosse.

The Bodley brothers have banded together at Indiana Tech to contend for an NAIA championship. Khanan Bodley, a defenseman and the eldest, will be graduating next year. Identical sophomore twins Samuel and Simeon will then hold down the fort. The midfield duo was born 17 minutes apart from each other as Simeon arrived first on Dec. 14th, 2000.

THE BODLEY BROTHERS

Hometown: Orlando, Fla. (via Chesterfield, Mich.)
High School: L’Anse Creuse North
College: Indiana Tech (NAIA)
Notable Accolades:

  • 2020-2021 WHAC Champions

  • All-WHAC Second Team (Samuel Bodley)

  • WHAC All-Academic Team (Samuel Bodley)

TEMPERATURE’S RISING

As youth, the Bodley brothers were nurtured by two loving parents who pushed them to follow their dreams.

Their father, Christopher Bodley, was an All-American track and field athlete at Concordia (Neb.) who later served as a Navy chaplain for 12 years. His service included Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2003, Christopher was inducted into Concordia's Athletics Hall of Fame. Their mother, Shikina Bodley, studied opera/vocal performance at Concordia and speech language pathology at Houston and Purdue University Fort Wayne. 

A tight bond was formed between the brothers through backyard fishing, instrument playing and bike rides through the Pine Hills neighborhood.

“Growing up with my brothers was like never missing a moment,” Samuel Bodley said. “Life was great, and we were always outside.”

In 2011, The Bodley brothers were first introduced to lacrosse by a local youth coach who watched them play youth football while the trio lived near Orlando. Their football coach asked if they had any spring plans to ensure they stayed in shape in the offseason and prepare for high school competition.

The local coach offered an opportunity for the trio to try lacrosse and use free equipment his program provided. As a result, they accepted the offer and began playing for the Seminole Warhawks Lacrosse Club of the Florida Lacrosse Association. In 2012, the Bodley brothers relocated to Michigan and began playing in high school at L'Anse Creuse-North.

“We played a short-lived season of high school ball together during my senior season while they were varsity freshmen,” Khanan Bodley said. “Their growth into 5-11 ballers and getting to this point has brought me so much joy.”

Trust went a long way as the trio played in unison in 2017. The cohesion helped Samuel Bodley’s midfield role run smoothly as he breezed past defenders and found his brothers when they were open. During their lone season together, the Crusaders closed a 10-9 victory over Port Huron United in the MHSAA regional first round.

“It always felt like we were on the underdog team as we fought to win games,” Samuel Bodley said. “Now being on a good team, you can trust everyone to do their jobs, which makes playing fun.”

Simeon Bodley found it fun racking up points with his family.

“Playing team sports requires you to know your teammates while you play together,” Simeon Bodley said. “My brothers know what I’m about to do on the field, and our connection is easier.”


“Growing up with my brothers was like never missing a moment.”


TECHNICAL APPROACH

When Simeon Bodley was evaluating college options, he visited Indiana Tech on a snowy winter day in 2019. He enjoyed how the students and staff connected to him like family while being transparent about the Indiana Tech experience. The institution’s atmosphere was the final factor in his decision.

It was then up to his twin brother to make a decision. After learning that other programs ran lax practices, he was assured by Indiana Tech’s coaching staff that their training would be “tussles of hard work.”

The program’s conditioning test is referred to as “medicine,” and Indiana Tech head coach Bryan Seaman promised that excelling in training would secure his spot on the team.

“I loved the idea of working to get what you want,” Samuel Bodley said. “I wanted to get straight to business.”

At the same time, Khanan Bodley was redshirting his sophomore season at Division II Lincoln Memorial, where older brother Kairos Bodley had played. Once he saw his brothers make the commitment to Indiana Tech, an NAIA program, he started to reevaluate his options.

“As my younger brothers graduated, I saw the opportunity of playing with them again and learning from an advanced communications department at Indiana Tech,” he said.

The academic rigor at Indiana Tech prepares students for their desired career paths. The men’s lacrosse players make it a standard to sit in front of their respective classes.

Now, Samuel and Simeon Bodley enjoy their challenging coursework as mechanical engineering majors. The twins were prepared for Indiana Tech after developing persistent work ethic during high school. In 2020, Samuel Bodley earned Dean’s list honors.

“Right now, I’m taking 17 credits while balancing lacrosse and averaging an ‘A’ in each class,” he said. “As long as you can grind through it, there’s nothing you can’t accomplish.”

For Khanan Bodley, a senior with one more year of eligibility, transferring to Indiana Tech was an eye-opening experience due to the school’s expansive resources and communications department personnel.

“Having teachers currently in the field while working makes me more interested in my studies,” he said. “My collegiate grades are better than they’ve ever been.”








WHY NAIA?

Since 2016, the NAIA has sponsored lacrosse as an invitational sport in which 33 men’s and 37 women’s programs compete. Despite lower visibility compared to NCAA counterparts, NAIA lacrosse possesses entertaining broadcasts that unite passionate fanbases with new spectators. Broadcast subscriptions aren’t required to enjoy most NAIA matchups.

“NAIA lacrosse deserves respect because we play small college ball against tough competition all the time,” Simeon Bodley said. “We have backhanded shovel goals just like the NCAA. You see parity here, and we’re making a difference toward a title.”

“I love playing games that aren’t boring, and the NAIA brings consistent thrills to us,” Samuel Bodley said. “Each team brings their own style you can follow, and Indiana Tech is an in-your-face type of team. It’s fun getting to know our NAIA peers.”

After conference champions are crowned, eight teams are selected to play in the annual NAIA Lacrosse Invitational tournament. The 2021 installment will be hosted May 5-8 at Memorial Stadium in Savannah, Ga.

Last weekend, No. 2 Indiana Tech defeated No. 7 Concordia University (Mich.) 13-4 to repeat as back-to-back Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference champion and clinch an automatic bid to the NAIA Invitational. The victory secured the program’s fourth appearance in the tournament. During the game, Samuel Bodley tallied two goals, an assist and four ground balls. Khanan Bodley caused two turnovers and won two ground balls.

“People try to discredit the NAIA because it’s not name-brand college lacrosse and our ranks are newer,” Khanan Bodley said. “There are so many opportunities for young student-athletes to come here and get scholarships while experiencing new things. NAIA is a good look for recruits to consider in their process.”

When the NAIA brackets were unveiled on Monday, Indiana Tech drew a third contest against Concordia on May 6. The lone blemish in the 16-1 Warriors’ campaign was a tight 11-10 loss to No. 1 Reinhardt (Ga.). The Warriors look to claim vengeance against both foes en route to their first NAIA trophy.

“We expect an exciting run at nationals by taking our team to the next echelon,” Simeon Bodley said.

“We’re not content with just a conference title,” Khanan Bodley said. “We’re back next week and at another team’s neck. I want to make sure we’re setting up space for more hardware.”




PHOTO BY ROBIN SCHUSTER


NEXT LEVEL REPRESENTATION

Lacrosse serves as a fun outlet that relieves the Bodleys’ school stresses as they score against opponents with ease. Indiana Tech provided them with the best of both worlds.

The twins had scouted other places that wholly support the mechanical engineering industry. According to the Pew Research Center, Black engineers comprise 5 percent of the workforce and 9 percent of STEM jobs nationally.

Since their founding at Purdue in 1975, the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) embodies the mission of leveling the national engineering field with a membership of over 20,000 people and 790 chapters. Tthe NSBE is one of the largest student-governed organizations based in the United States.

“NSBE is important because it creates another connection to where I can meet other people like myself,” Samuel Bodley said.

Due to their schedules, the Bodley twins haven’t joined the campus chapter — NSBE meeting times were conflicting. The duo is looking to join the organization in the future.

Khanan Bodley’s lacrosse experience helped expand his communications related endeavors. He also noted the lack of Black representation in America’s media industry. He currently holds an internship with Access Fort Wayne via the Allen County Library while producing a series about Indiana Tech men’s lacrosse.

According to UCLA’s 2021 Hollywood Diversity Report, Black film writers and directors makeup 13.5 and 15 percent of Hollywood, respectively.

“It would be amazing if I can be a director or editor down the line,” Khanan Bodley said. “I’ll probably start as a cameraman to get my foot in the door. I love creative directing and bringing ideas to life that people don’t think of often.”