Sunbird Valentines: Teammates—and Sunbirds—for life

Sunbird Valentines: Teammates—and Sunbirds—for life

Brad (MA ’16, TC ’01, BA ‘00) and Angel (Naylor, MA ’08, TC ’01, BA ‘00) Krause

You could say that Angel Naylor and Brad Krause were always on track to meet and marry while students at Fresno Pacific University.

Literally. On track.

She threw the discus, hammer and shot put, while he threw the javelin as teammates on the FPU track and field team.

They met as freshmen and married the summer after their junior year. Twenty-three years later, Angel and Brad Krause talk easily about their love story, though Angel gets teary at times.

Brad and Angel’s Senior Yearbook Photos

“I’m the emotional one,” she says, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.

“And sensitive,” he says.

She adds with a smile: “He can take it.”

A matchmaking friend

Angel grew up in Manteca and never considered any other college or university. “With my Christian walk, I knew it would be a positive experience at Fresno Pacific,” she says. “It was God guiding me here.” Meanwhile, Brad grew up in Fresno hearing good things about FPU from family members who had attended the university. “My parents talked about the wonderful professors who had an impact on their spiritual lives, and I wanted to have the same opportunities,” he says.

Another teammate on the track team, Kimi Akina (BA ’99), played matchmaker. She kept creating opportunities for Angel and Brad to get to know one another. Brad saw in Angel someone who wasn’t pretentious. “There was a genuineness to her faith, and a love and care for others that I appreciated.” In addition, she was intelligent, Brad says, smiling. “And she was beautiful. Her curly hair caught my attention.”

Angel appreciated that Brad was the same in all settings, never adopting different personas to impress others. “I also saw a gentleness of spirit, and his love for the Lord shone through.” That was particularly meaningful for Angel, who had grown up with no male role models other than her youth pastor. “Brad just exhibited Christ-likeness in being kind and caring while showing grace and mercy to others,” she says.

Separate identities

They became a couple during their freshman year, and their athletic interests led to some interesting situations. One summer, Angel worked as a certified personal trainer at a fitness center, where she honed her weightlifting techniques. “She came back to school and instructed me on all the things I was doing wrong,” Brad says, chuckling. “I didn’t take it well at first, to be honest. But I eventually realized she did know what she was talking about.” It turned out that Angel was stronger than some of the men on the track and field team, Brad adds.

More togetherness came as Angel and Brad worked part time as a campus maintenance team. “He became my best friend,” she says. “It was like: ‘This is how it should be.’ ” But they also kept their separate identities. “I remember seeing couples at FPU who were attached at the hip,” Brad says. “When we would go in the cafeteria, she would eat with her friends, and I would eat with mine.”

Angel: “Maybe we needed that time apart since we already had classes together and worked together.”

Brad: “You think so?”

Angel (smiling): “Yeah.”

A growing family

At the start of their careers, they once interviewed for the same job to teach high school social science in Fresno. Angel got the position; Brad was thrilled. “We needed the income,” he says. He went on to spend 17 years in Madera Unified School District, becoming a vice principal before leaving for Immanuel Schools, where he is the junior high principal. Angel transitioned from full-time teaching at Central High School West to teaching online in 2006 when their first daughter, Bailey, was born. Two more daughters, Addie and Sydnee, followed. The girls are now 16, 13 and 11, respectively.

In 2008, Angel became an adjunct in FPU’s School of Education and is now a tenured associate professor. She earned an Ed.D. in educational leadership in 2020.

Still teammates

Angel and Brad are intentional about creating a positive family life. For the last six years, they have attended the Mount Hermon Family Camp in the Santa Cruz Mountains. “It’s a full week when we can retreat, focus and refuel,” Angel says. Every New Year’s, they also review what went well during the past 12 months and decide their focus for the coming year. Angel and Brad also ask their daughters what they want to learn from their parents to prepare the girls for the next stages of their lives.

Angel and Brad see parenting as an extension of the teamwork they experienced on the track and field squad. “We’ve always had something we’re trying to accomplish as a team,” Brad says. “We are on the same team. We have continued to say that to each other. Our goal is to raise godly children who are obedient to him. We know we’re not perfect, but we want to do the best job we can in glorifying the Lord.”

Do you have an FPU love story? Did you meet your spouse/fiancée at FPU? Post your photo on the FPU Alumni Facebook page or post on Instagram with #FPUvalentines by Valentine’s Day and be entered into a contest to win alumni t-shirts and a choice of a DoorDash gift certificate or a candlelit dinner for two in the FPU cafeteria!

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Doug Hoagland

Freelance writer