As Hope College approaches the start of a new semester and the tipoff of its first athletic event in 10 months, Director of Athletics Tim Schoonveld ‘96 is busy juggling a multitude of important tasks.
Despite the uncertainty and challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s working tirelessly to not only give Hope student-athletes the opportunity to compete again, but also safely.
It’s a labor of love for a beloved place.
On this episode of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Schoonveld discusses his work for the Flying Dutchmen and Flying Dutch. He talks about what is being done to keep student-athletes safe and healthy with COVID testing three times a week and mask-wearing during competition.
The first athletic event of the school year is scheduled for Saturday, January 16. The men’s and women’s indoor track and field teams are set to compete at a meet at Grand Valley State University. The first home events are set to happen on Wednesday, January 20 with a men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader in DeVos Fieldhouse.
Classes at Hope College will begin on Monday, January 25.
“When you’re in the middle of all the COVID-related stuff, it’s pretty trying and tiring,” Schoonveld said. “But when you take a minute and step back, you can definitely see God sent in some gifts in that regard, even though it’s a lot different than probably any of us would have hoped for.”
He finds blessings all over the Hope College campus, ranging from understanding student-athletes “who have done everything we’ve asked” to adaptive coaches shifting “from a mindset of competitive excellence” without competition to “How do I love on and look after my team? How do I care for them?’
Additionally, Schoonveld sees blessings in supportive staff who continue to provide top-notch care in spite of new pandemic-driven needs as well as college leadership eagerly investing in him.
“You love to be a part of this team and I’m just thankful to be a part of it,” Schoonveld said.
Schoonveld’s gratitude for Hope College, which dates back to his days as a student-athlete, also covers his immediate family.
He and his wife, Lisa Timmer ‘97 Schoonveld, have two children who are student-athletes at the college. Kenedy is a senior on the women’s basketball team and a returning All-American for the Flying Dutch. Eli is a freshman on the men’s basketball team.
“On some levels, Hope was a place of redemption for me. Hope’s a place that’s transformed my wife’s and my life when we were here,” Tim Schoonveld said. “To watch our kids be impacted by their coaches, Colly Carlson, Brian Morehouse and Courtney Kust with Kenedy and, Coach Mitch (Greg Mitchell) and Coach (Chad) Carlson, Ken George and Coach Dav (Tom Davelaar) impacting Eli’s life, it’s just shows me the difference that people can make.
“I’m completely biased, but the difference that Hope has made, this is a place that’s going to love and care for your kids and I’ve experienced that.”