Track and field head coach Kevin Cole ‘88 enjoyed the opportunity to see a small group of his Hope College student-athletes compete indoors last weekend.
In the first athletic event of the school year, 25 from Cole’s men’s and women’s teams went to Grand Valley State University for a three-time meet on Saturday, January 16. It was a different setting for sure — a limited number of Hope entries, no spectators, and just two other teams in the field. Yet, it was thrilling, too.
On the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Cole talks about appreciating the opportunity to have a meet again after 10 months out and how he has tried to support and lead his student-athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a lot of fun, hectic for sure because we came back to practice the day before and then had a meet,” Cole said. “It was just really good to get back and everybody was just really happy to be competing. It was low key; there were only three teams there. We only had 25 athletes out of our 100 or so total athletes. It was still just great to get competing again.”
The meet was the first for track and field since the MIAA Indoor Track and Championships on February 29, 2020. Senior Anna Frazee and freshman Ana Tucker were warming up for the NCAA Division III Indoor Championships a week later when the NCAA canceled the meet due to the pandemic. The outdoor track and field season and NCAA Championships were canceled shortly later.
Gratitude and Patience
Amidst the challenging times, Cole has been inspired by how his student-athletes have handled everything that’s been thrown at them the last 10 months. They have shown gratitude and patience throughout.
“I just have found them to be just super accepting and pretty laid back about it. it’s like, ‘Oh, this is what it is. This is what the normal is, that’s what we do,’” Cole said. “I think they’re adapting really well to that. They’re really grounded young adults that realize that no matter how bad it is, they’ve still got it really good, so they keep a positive attitude on things. They’ve been great about it.”
This is Cole’s 16th season as head coach. On the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Cole also discusses his Hope journey and what it’s meant to and offered him as a student-athlete, professor and coach.
An accomplished athlete in his own right, Cole is a former four-time, All-MIAA athlete between cross country and track and field. He was a two-time MIAA champion in the 800-meter run.
After graduating from Hope, Cole went on to earn a master’s degree in physical education from Texas Christian University and his Ph.D. in human bioenergetics from Ball State University.
In 2005, Cole returned to his alma mater to become Hope’s head track and field coach. He has led the Flying Dutch to three MIAA outdoor and two indoor team titles as well as the Flying Dutchmen to two MIAA outdoor championships.