During a recent jog, Hope College men’s soccer coach David Blahnik listened to the “Revisionist History” podcast episode that explored the vision, impact and potential of the college’s “Hope Forward” initiative.
In the segment, titled “A Good Circle”, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell spoke with Hope College President Matthew A. Scogin regarding the college’s revolutionary approach to removing tuition as a barrier for access to college while building generosity and community along the way.
Scogin’s words during the episode resonated, Blahnik said, and provided inspiration for the Flying Dutchmen soccer program as well.
“He talked about the idea of running towards challenges and that really resonated with me. I was laughing. I was actually running while I was listening,” Blahnik said earlier this month while recording the latest episode of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast.
“I like the idea of we wan our program to be something where you’re running towards the challenges: on the field, off the field, in the locker room, and all those other areas I thought about, so when somebody leaves here as a Hope grad, they really are able to go and, in a sense, conquer whatever they want to conquer in their life going forward.”
Blahnik is heading into his second season leading the Flying Dutchmen. His team reports to campus on Friday, Aug. 19, to begin preparations for the 2023 season opener on Friday, September 1, against Ohio Wesleyan University at Van Andel Soccer Stadium. Kickoff is 6 p.m.
Hope is aiming to challenge for an MIAA regular-season title after finishing runner-up last season in the standings and the league tournament. The Flying Dutchmen went 7-5-6 overall.
Soccer: A Life’s Passion
On the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Blahnik talks about this season’s schedule, his coaching staff and what to expect from the Flying Dutchmen.
Blahnik also chats about his journey to Hope College, including how he decided between two sports he loved playing — soccer and baseball, and his time as a student-athlete and head men’s soccer coach at his alma mater, Olivet Nazarene University, near Chicago.
Off the field, Blahnik balances coaching soccer at a high level with being a loving husband and father of two sons, ages 9 and 4. His wife, Karlynn, is a local kindergarten teacher, so the month of September is an extremely busy one for his family.
“It’s difficult but awesome to be a college head coach and have a family,” Blahnik said. “You spend a lot of time with others, but at the same time, my 9-year-old thinks it’s the coolest thing in the world to be around the guys. My son’s over at Hope Tennis Academy right now during their summer season with my niece and my 4-year-old is watching. We love the community.
“We want our kids to go to Hope, whether I am working here or not, so when the opportunity arose (to coach here) it was a no-brainer for us. We’ll figure it out. I don’t think any head coach who’s married has the perfect way of doing it, but we try to make the most of it for us.”