Equipment Manager Gordon VanderYacht to Retire

Equipment manager Gordon VanderYacht’s diligent and detailed behind-the-scenes efforts helped Hope College Athletics look and feel its best every day, whether practicing or competing, rain or shine, fall, winter and spring.

Equipment manager Gordon VanderYacht poses for a portrait.
Equipment manager Gordon VanderYacht

Since 1988, VanderYacht handled all of the athletic laundry and equipment needs for Hope’s 22 varsity teams, each with its own specific requirements and timelines.

VanderYacht is retiring from Hope College on December 15.

“It’s hard to believe that it has been 32 years since I started here at Hope. I guess what they say about how time flies when you are having fun is true,” VanderYacht said. “I remember talking with former athletic director Ray Smith and saying I can’t believe I get paid to do what I’m doing. Not only that, I’ve got four kids who are now Hope graduates (Andrew ‘09, Jacob ‘11, Joe ‘12 and Samantha ‘17.)

“I have had the opportunity to work with some great people — and, most importantly, a lot of great kids. I also have to give out a huge thank you to my wife, Sharla, who has put up with me for all these years with all the weekend work and long hours.”

Director of Athletics Tim Schoonveld thanked VanderYacht for being a wonderful example of what a servant looks like.

“Gordon has spent 32 years of his life behind the scenes serving in amazing ways where there was little fanfare. We have been blessed to have him at Hope and his service has been an integral part of transforming the lives of thousands of athletes over the years,” Schoonveld said. “We are thankful and grateful for his outstanding service and for who he has been to so many of us in the kinesiology and athletics departments. We are excited for him and Sharla as they move to a new chapter in their lives.” 

Equipment manager Gordon VanderYacht stands inside a white storage room between two shelves.
Gordon VanderYacht stands inside a storage room in 1991.

‘A joy to have as part of our athletic program’

VanderYacht started working at Hope in 1988. He held a similar position at Grand Valley State University, his alma mater, for five years before starting at Hope.

“Gord is one of my favorite staff members within the athletic department at Hope,” said senior Corinne Cole, a member of the women’s soccer team. “He is one of the most approachable adults I have ever met. He goes out of his way to make people feel heard and important. 

“Even though laundry was his job, he always went the extra step to fold it for us and make sure it was flipped on time. I looked forward to seeing him in his office every day when we had to pick up laundry. He never fails to make people smile or laugh and is always the first to ask how you are. He was a joy to have as part of our athletic program. He will be missed!” 

Head baseball coach Stu Fritz is grateful for the opportunity he had to serve alongside VanderYacht. His impact extended far beyond the thousands of loads of laundry he did each year, Fritz said.

“Gord and I have worked together for 28 years. I think the biggest thing that he has meant to our program is the amount of trust that we have between us,” Fritz said. “I knew that if something needed to get done it would get done. 

“There have been several times where we have games stacked up with rainouts and cancellations and have played on the road the night before a home game the next day. Gord always found a way to make sure our kids had clean uniforms to wear the next day, that meant a lot of weekend and late nights for him. I very much appreciate the attention to detail that Gord had.”

‘Intentionality in encouraging our program’

VanderYacht’s preparation and demeanor allowed him to be a constant source of both service and calm as equipment manager, said Brian Morehouse, head women’s basketball coach, and DeVos Fieldhouse director.

“His intentionality in encouraging our program daily and making sure he is three steps ahead has been imperative in our success. His ability to deal with emergencies in a calm manner has been very important over the 30 years that Gord and I have been colleagues.  

Equipment manager Gordon VanderYacht stands for a portrait at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium in 2018.
Gordon VanderYacht, left, poses for a photo with, from left, Branden Burrill, Rob Sterken and Andrew Tysse during a 2018 Hope College media day.

“Once when the shot clock went out in the middle of a game, everyone was running around panicked and the refs were trying to decide what to do. Gord calmly walked to his office after determining the clocks couldn’t be fixed and brought out the portable clocks, which most people didn’t even know we still had. His planning ahead for emergencies and his calm when it happened is typical of Gord’s service to the athletic program.”

VanderYacht’s ingenuity as an equipment manager came from a caring heart, head football coach Peter Stuursma said.

“There are so many stories. Once he set up portable deer blinds in the towers to protect our filmers on a rainy game day.  He does that kind of thing all of the time,” Stuursma said. “I felt we had a special bond because I was a player here and he was one of the first guys I met then. And it’s come full circle for me working with him. I saw his raw emotion and him truly enjoying being a part of our student athletes’ lives.”

In addition to his work for Hope, VanderYacht was a member of the Port Sheldon Township Fire Department for 26 years. He was chief of the fire department for 12 years before retiring in 2014.

Tom Davelaar partnered with VanderYacht each spring for game operations at Hope baseball games. Davelaar is the public address announcer at Boeve Stadium, while VanderYacht has run the scoreboard.

“I’ve enjoyed working together with Gord up in the press box, as we discussed and debated coaching, scoring, and umpiring decisions in the Norm “Bunko” Japinga Press Box. We’ve always felt our friend and mentor ‘Bunko’ smiling down on us from above!” Davelaar said. “Gord has always been a hard worker, doing a lot of behind the scenes jobs that have made Hope Athletics so successful for so many decades in so many sports.”

Equipment manager Gordon VanderYacht kneels in front of Hope football players on the sideline during a game.
Gordon VanderYacht kneels on the sideline at Holland Municipal Stadium during a 1992 football game.

Hope Athletics Podcast: Brian Morehouse, Women’s Basketball

Brian Morehouse is reminded to be grateful every time he steps on the basketball court at DeVos Fieldhouse.

Hope College women’s basketball coach is surrounded by greatness that extends well beyond the court where his nationally renowned team practices and plays.

“I am around incredible women every single day,” Morehouse said during the latest episode of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. “These are real people who happen to play basketball in front of a sold-out arena at the Devos Fieldhouse. When you think about the things that these young women balance out on a daily basis – academics, their social life, their families, the athletic piece, the faith piece – they’re incredible.

“The best part of my job is they make me better. It is a lot of fun.”

Brian Morehouse raises his right arm in victory while holding a basketball net he cut down at DeVos Fieldhouse.
Hope College women’s basketball coach Brian Morehouse

Morehouse and his basketball team have relied on each other to get through a challenging semester because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Final exams conclude on Tuesday, November 24.

The Flying Dutch are waiting to learn if and when they will be able to play. In October, the MIAA Presidents’ Council has postponed conference-sponsored athletic events until January.

Hope graduated only two seniors from last season’s team that finished unbeaten and ranked No. 1 in NCAA Division III after the NCAA Tournament was canceled because of COVID-19.

“We’re going to make it through whatever this getting through is,” Morehouse said. “If given the opportunity to play a basketball game, I think that we’re going to be really good.”

Learning to Do Things Differently

During the podcast, Morehouse discusses his team’s journey since that disappointing conclusion to the 2019-20 season.

He talks about how his coaching staff made the most out of an adjusted practice schedule. Three of his assistant coaches — Colly Carlson, Kyle Lurvey, and Julie Potts — used their previous experiences at the high school level to fine-tune one-on-one instruction.

Morehouse also shared on the Orange and Blue Podcast about his work during the pandemic as DeVos Fieldhouse director and a Women’s Basketball Coaches Association board member. He also discusses what he has learned as the father of two Hope College students.

A written transcript of Morehouse interview

Hope Athletics Podcast: Greg Mitchell, Men’s Basketball

Greg Mitchell’s love of basketball and family courses through him now just like they did when he was a child.

Amid challenging times, the Hope College men’s basketball coach is leaning on both passions to keep his spirits high.

This year, Mitchell is enjoying being back together and practicing with his Flying Dutchmen basketball team, even though they will play games remains uncertain. He also relishes his new role as a grandpa.

Greg Mitchell chats with Clayton Dykhouse on the sideline during a basketball game at DeVos Fieldhouse.
Clayton Dykhouse, left, and Greg Mitchell chat during a game last season at DeVos Fieldhouse.

Mitchell chatted in the Orange and Blue Podcast about how he has navigated the COVID-19 pandemic with his team and how proud he is of his players.

“There are so many ways people can handle this situation. You can be just kind of down in the dumps because of the unknown. You feel like things are taken away from you and all those emotions,” Mitchell. “Our guys have chosen just to attack the day and be as great as they can possibly be.

“I’m just excited to test the level of what I think is a vast improvement in all facets of Hope basketball. We just need a season to take place. We’re going to forge ahead and ensure that that growth.”

‘A StereoTypical Grandfather’

Mitchell also is happily settling into being a grandpa. His daughter, Jalynn, and son-in-law, Nick Holt, welcomed son Callahan to the family this year.

“I wish I could not sound like the stereotypical grandfather, Mitchell said. “First of all, I can’t believe I’m a grandfather, just using that term. What I mean by that is your grandchild is the greatest grandchild in the world. I think ours is, right?. I mean, that it’s just got how it operates.

“It’s the greatest blessing ever. I’ve fallen right into that stereotype of the grandparent that thinks his grandchild is the best. We love spending time with him.”

Written transcipt of the podcast

Hope Athletics Podcast: Jake Taber, Swimming and Diving

Jake Taber ‘04 is guiding the Hope College men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams through uncharted waters right now with determination, flexibility and a smile.

Despite this fall’s unprecedented, COVID-19 impacted semester, he wants a similar transformational experience for his student-athletes that he enjoyed at his alma mater.

Taber, who’s in his third season as head coach, chatted with sports information director Alan Babbitt this week on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast.

Jake Taber looks at a stopwatch while standing on the pool deck during swimming practice.
Head swimming and diving coach Jake Taber

I’m all smiles thinking back on those things, I know what the student-athlete experience at Hope can be. I lived it. I lived it for four years,” Taber said. “As (wife) Kelly (Kraft) and I talked about her student-athlete experience on the softball team and compared notes to mine here in this program, we both felt the same way. It’s an absolutely transformational experience. It changed our lives and for the better.

“I will joke and tell people on the team, when you graduate, if your experience here was half as good as what mine was, making the decision to come to Hope and swim here was an absolute no brainer and the best decision you could have made. Truthfully, knowing what the experience can be makes it that much more exciting: to be intentional, to try and provide that for each and every student-athlete that we have the chance to work with.”

Taber also chats on the Orange and Blue Podcast after his Hope love story with wife, Kelly, began after they graduated. It’s now grown into a family of six, including two children who started competitive swimming last winter.

“Life is busy. Life is awesome,” Taber said.

Rising to the Challenge

This semester has been a training one for the Hope’s swimming and diving teams. Meets have been postponed due to the pandemic.

Taber is proud of his swimmers and divers, and coaching staff, have risen to the challenge.

“We’re excited. We really are,” Taber said. “We’re a young team. We’re training at a pretty high level and trying to find and maintain the right balance, in terms of promoting mental health as well as rest and staying on top of our academics. It’s a little bit of a challenge more this year than others, but it’s going well. We’ve got a resilient group. 

“One of the skill sets that we’re tasked with as far as mentoring and leading these student-athletes is perseverance. Boy, this is a year maybe more than any other where that’s absolutely at the forefront of where we are. We’re doing the best we can with what we’ve got right now.”

Written transcript of the podcast

Student-Athletes Aid Effort to Stop Youth Hunger in West Michigan

An appetite for stopping youth hunger in West Michigan galvanized Hope College student-athletes this semester.

Led by the Athletes Coming Together/Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (ACT/SAAC), Hope’s 22 varsity teams combined to raise more than $3,200 in donations for Hand2Hand

Based in Hudsonville, Michigan, Hand2Hand provides food for youth and children facing weekend hunger in West Michigan. Many of Hand2Hand’s recipients get free or reduced-price lunches during the school week.

The money Hope student-athletes raised provided the opportunity to pack 2,340 snack packs at DeVos Fieldhouse this week and contribute financially to the Hand2Hand October Fundraising Campaign. Initially, ACT/SAAC aimed to raise enough money to provide 1,000 snack packs.

Senior Bailey Chorney of the women’s tennis team is thrilled that ACT/SAAC’s fundraising efforts went above and beyond their original goal.

“I am blown away by how much money we were able to raise for Hand2Hand. Hope student-athletes really showed up and exceeded our expectations,” Chorney said. “I can’t think of a better time for us to be providing these snack packs for kids than during this pandemic. It felt so amazing to physically pack the bags knowing that a kid will get to bring it home and enjoy all of the treats inside.” 

Tripling the Initial Fundraising Goal

Hope student-athletes donated their money, returned pop cans and encouraged teammates, fellow student-athletes and alumni to donate.

“Seeing how much money we raised and how many snack packs we were able to make was incredible,” said sophomore Daniel Romano of the football team. “I felt many people in ACT/SAAC were surprised to see how well our fundraising went for this event, but everyone was so happy and excited to see that we tripled our goal. 

“It shows how well Hope College responds to the call for help, not only meeting the needs of people who need help, but going above and beyond for them.”

Hand2Hand delivers nutritious food to students over weekends and extended school breaks by mobilizing support from churches, schools, individuals, foundations, and businesses in West Michigan.

In Holland, Hand2Hand feeds 952 students at 13 different schools and Escape Ministries. In Zeeland, Hand2Hand feeds 276 students at 13 different schools.

During October, Hand2Hand is trying to raise $200,000 to help feed the 8,007 students they are currently serving as well as the 10-percent growth they anticipate feeding in 31 current partner schools due to COVID-19.

On Monday, Hope student-athletes gathered to pack applesauce, crackers, granola bars and other nutritious snacks into individual bags for Hand2Hand to distribute.

“It was great to see all of our teams united in their support of Hand2Hand,” said assistant athletic director Caroline Dykstra, who oversees ACT/SAAC at Hope. “The fact that we were able to pack over 2,000 snack packs for kids in the local schools and have money to donate is a testament to the heart of our student-athletes and their desire to give back to the Holland community. I am so inspired by the way ACT/SAAC and our student-athletes engaged with this opportunity.” 

Hope Athletics Podcast: Greg Stafford, Women’s Golf

Greg Stafford is grateful to still enjoy his calling even in retirement. Being the Hope College women’s golf coach means the world to him.

In this episode of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Stafford tells sports information director Alan Babbitt about why he relishes coaching the Flying Dutch golfers. 

Greg Stafford poses for a portrait.
Head women’s golf coach Greg Stafford

Stafford also shares how his Hope College coaching career started and how he and his team approached a unique fall golf season.

“I just like working with kids. If it wasn’t coaching, I’m sure I would be doing something else with kids,” Stafford said. “I’m one of the luckiest people in the world. I actually did my whole life something that I was happy doing and thought I was put on earth to do. I feel I was brought here to coach.”

Looking Ahead

Stafford is in his 12th season as head coach of the Hope College women’s golf team. He started after he retired from teaching at the Godwin Heights school district near Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The Flying Dutch recently completed their fall practice after the COVID-19 pandemic postponed competition until the spring.

Hope looks forward to teeing off the spring season on Saturday, March 27 with the first of eight scheduled MIAA 18-hole Jamborees.

Practicing and playing together, while following NCAA and Ottawa County Health Department-safety protocols, were beneficial, Stafford said.

“We were therapeutic for both,” Stafford said. “Obviously in our country right now, this is a very trying time. I really needed something to do and the girls needed something to do.

“It was just a blessing for all parties involved that we had something to look forward to. Five days a week, we went out and worked hard and tried to put everything else behind. We’re really looking forward to the spring.”

Written transcript of the Orange and Blue Podcast interview

Fall Student-Athletes Discuss Leadership and Gratitude amid COVID-19, Part II

Five Hope College fall student-athletes shared their insights into a semester and a season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they have tried to display leadership and show gratitude during trying times.

In Part 1, the team co-captains answered the following question focused on leadership: “How have you helped lead your team this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic that required so many changes to the way you do things?”

In Part 2, they answered the following question focused on gratitude: “What is something positive you have experienced this semester that you might have not have during a ‘traditional’ season?” See their answers below.

Dominick Byrne, Men’s Soccer

Dominick Byrne poses for a portrait.
Dominick Byrne

“I have been able to go to my grandparents house every weekend for lunch and spend time with them that I would not have if we were in season. I also have been able to help my brother adapt to Hope as he is an incoming freshman.”

Abby Meder, Women’s Golf

Abby Meder poses for a portrait.
Abby Meder

“Since we are only playing with each other, I have really enjoyed spending time with my team and getting to know some of the new players really well. Outside of golf, I have enjoyed more time to work on school, go to the beach, and be with friends and family more often than is possible in a regular season.”

Adair Cutler, Volleyball

Adair Cutler poses for a portrait.
Adair Cutler

“Typically, our fall season is so busy that we don’t get to spend a ton of time off the court with teammates, but this fall I’ve been able to spend time with each of my teammates to get to know them better outside of volleyball. We get to bond in our offseason before competing together this year, which I think will benefit our team in the spring. We’ve also had the opportunity to play beach volleyball, and that’s something that I think a lot of us will continue after college.”

Jeremiah Purnell, Football

Jeremiah Purnell poses for a headshot.
Jeremiah Purnell

“During a normal season we are booked from Monday-Saturday. Because of COVID-19, our schedule is not as compact and busy. We are able to enjoy more days off. We have weekends now that we can spend relaxing and hanging out with friends while social distancing. I have been able to see my mom for a longer period of time, which is always great because I don’t see her often.”

Brooke Truszkowski, Women’s Cross Country

Brooke Truskowski poses for a portrait.

“I live with four amazing and talented basketball players, and typically our busy seasons are opposite of each other because I am typically away on the weekends in the fall and spring, and they are on the road continuing to be undefeated all winter. I have been blessed with spending more time with them and doing online classes, hikes, random ice cream runs, and just enjoying each other’s company is something that I really enjoy having more time for. I love spending time with my cross country team, but they are also my biggest support system and my team of comfort I get to live with.”

Fall Student-Athletes Discuss Leadership and Gratitude Amid COVID-19, Part I

Five Hope College fall student-athletes shared their insights into a semester and a season disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they have tried to display leadership and show gratitude during trying times.

In Part 1, the team co-captains answered the following question focused on leadership: “How have you helped lead your team this fall amid the COVID-19 pandemic that required so many changes to the way you do things?” See their answers below. 

In Part 2, they answered the following question focused on gratitude: “What is something positive you have experienced this semester that you might have not have during a ‘traditional’ season?”

Brooke Truszkowski, Women’s Cross Country

Brooke Truskowski poses for a portrait.
Brooke Truszkowski

“I think I have led my team amid the COVID-19 pandemic by proving that we can be close and have the strong team dynamic, although our traditions and team bonding may look different. I think that COVID-19 has made me realize what a gift we have to be able to practice and compete every day. Although this is not how I envisioned my senior season, being able to see my teammates every day at 4 p.m. is all I think each of us athletes wanted. I like to remind my teammates of this as well. Having a positive attitude among the uncertainty is what bonds us all together and this proved to show a difference in our virtual meet against each other. We all ran our home course 5k to get times to send out to different colleges, and almost every one of our runners PR’d (personal record). To see my team so happy and competitive about a virtual race made me so proud. Leading with positivity is hopefully contagious to my teammates, and I want to try to continue to lead with optimism amid the chaos of COVID-19.” 

Jeremiah Purnell, Football

Jeremiah Purnell poses for a headshot.
Jeremiah Purnell

“I think that I and many others on the team have helped lead our team throughout this pandemic. With a large team on campus, there are a lot of players that are affected by this pandemic. Team comradery is huge and as a team, I feel as though this pandemic has brought us closer together. We have done many activities together as a team that has built our foundation and made relationships stronger. Coach (Peter Stuursma) always tells us to do the right thing when nobody’s watching, which means never skipping reps or not going 100 percent during practice. When you’re working hard practicing, or lifting early through the week without a game at the end of the week, it tests people’s character and their commitment to the game. We know that we won’t be competing this fall, but knowing that other teams in our conference (Adrian and Trine) are playing right now drives us even more to be better. I also think that the Zoom meetings that we hold are very helpful for learning the plays, especially for our younger guys on the team.”

Adair Cutler, Volleyball

Adair Cutler poses for a portrait.
Adair Cutler

“There’s something especially inspiring about watching someone work hard for no reward, and that’s what our team is doing right now. We won’t compete for a national championship this year, but we’re still training hard and giving everything we have, and that reveals a lot about our team’s character. I’m helping lead this team by maintaining the hard work, commitment, and championship mindset we would have in any other season, despite the lack of competition. We are also staying in the present. It’s easy to let our minds slip into thinking about the past or the future, but we are staying engaged with the moments we have right now. My teammates make it easy to be joyful in the present, and we’re cherishing the time that we do have together. We are enduring this season with a spirit of optimism and an unwavering work ethic regardless of the reward.”

Abby Meder, Women’s Golf

Abby Meder poses for a portrait.
Abby Meder

“I think our focus this fall has been ensuring that everyone still feels like a part of the team despite missing some of the opportunities we usually have to get to know one another. It began before the season. We had Zoom meetings as a team that included the incoming freshman in order to get to know one another and help everyone feel comfortable and welcome. During the season, we focused our team meetings on growing outside of just our golf game. Given that this is such a weird semester, we focused on community, service, and unity as topics. We talked about relevant topics in our world, checked in with each other, and even did some (remote) service together. Overall, our focus this season was not only working on our golf game but also growing as people.”

Dominick Byrne, Men’s Soccer

Dominick Byrne poses for a portrait.
Dominick Byrne

“I have helped lead my team in this pandemic by demonstrating that this is how we close the gap on the teams that are better than us. We are using this time to reload rather than relax. We may not be the most talented team, but we want to be the hardest-working team in the country. If I can convey to them that we are taking dead-aim at being national champions, then the only way to do this is to outwork everyone.”

Hope Athletics Podcast: Peter Stuursma, Football

Peter Stuursma is Hope College’s energetic, enthusiastic, caring, and successful football coach. Yet it’s not the only role he relishes.

He also is a loving husband and father of three. This year, for the first time, two of his children share the Hope College campus with him. His daughter, Hannah, is a junior. His son, Robbie, is a freshman who is a member of the Flying Dutchmen baseball team.

In this week’s Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Stuursma talks with sports information director Alan Babbitt about his family and what he has been doing this fall with all of his extra time without football games. 

Peter Stuursma talks on the sidelines during a football game.
Hope College football coach Peter Stuursma

Stuursma also gives an update on the Flying Dutchmen football team and their fall practice. Hope, the 2019 MIAA champion, has been preparing for a five-game spring season.

“I can hear the bats hitting the balls out there (at Boeve Stadium),” Stuursma said. “We’re practicing, then all of a sudden I see the (baseball) team leave and Robbie walks by and waves. That’s neat.

“I also am very, very conscious of the fact that I want this experience to be theirs, not mine. Amy and I have already done that. They have to find their niche and they have to find the things that are positive and negative. They don’t stop by and see me every day. But there’s just that time and all of a and I’ll get a text like, ‘Hey, Dad, want to go to lunch? I’m like, ‘Yep, we’re going.’ It’s just very lucky.”

Focusing on The Moment

This fall, Stuursma has used the extra time in his days to enjoy activities he usually misses out on due to his busy football schedule. He has golfed with his youngest son, Mitchell, who recently picked up the sport. Lawn mowing is debuting on his October to-do list, too.

Of course, football is still a big part of Stuursma’s life. The Flying Dutchmen are following the NCAA practice guidelines for this COVID-impacted school year and training in unique ways. Practicing and recruiting have required creative thinking and nimbleness, things Stuursma is proud to see his team and coaching staff embrace.

“With COVID, we’ve really had to learn to worry about today because we can plan and be incredibly proactive about what’s going on, but tomorrow might change and today might change,” Stuursma said. “As a staff this morning, we talked about that. How can we improve today at practice? How can we up the ante, up the energy level, up the competition level? That’s our focus now, always we’ll be.”

Written transcript from podcast

Hope Athletics Podcast: Mark Northuis, Cross Country

Mark Northuis has covered his share of miles over a distinguished academic and cross country career at Hope College. He has excelled as a student-athlete, coach, and professor.

Northuis, of course, loves to run. He also loves the place where he has been able to develop all three phases of his life and help others do the same.

Mark Northuis runs on a cross country course prior to a meet.
Hope College cross country coach Mark Northuis

Northuis talked about his affinity for Hope College as a guest on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast.

“I go back to my days of choosing the college myself, an opportunity to run Division I, and I didn’t think I could handle Ann Arbor as an 18-year-old. Back in the day 70s, it was a pretty crazy time,” Northuis said. “I chose Hope because of what I could do academically, athletically, and spiritually. That’s the whole reason why I choose to come back to Hope to teach. I want to pass on that to the student-athletes for the next generations.”

Northuis has been the head cross country coach at Hope College since 1988. He also is an assistant track and field coach, where he focuses on working with distance and middle distance runners.

Adapting to Change

This fall, Northuis has adjusted to leading a team without formal competitions this school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He chatted with sports information director Alan Babbitt about how he has been training his women’s and men’s runners this fall, how the teams are progressing and the invaluable help he receives from assistant coaches Brian VanZanten and Phil Jones.

Northuis relishes the opportunity to now be coaching the children of former Hope College runners.

“It’s neat. Now I get to coach second generations of people that I coach when I first got here. That says a little bit about my age. But on the other hand, I guess the longevity as well,” Northuis said. “But that’s the reason why I love being here. It’s just the opportunities, the mission that Hope has, and the opportunity every day to be able to work with student-athletes of quality that we have and be able to interact with them in that way. I love it.”

Written transcript of the Orange and Blue Podcast