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.
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.”