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The Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast

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Interviews and discussions with Hope College coaches and student athletes


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Interviews and discussions with Hope College coaches and student athletes






Sisters Ana and Heleyna Tucker: Hope College Athletics Podcast

Heleyna Tucker Ana Tucker Sisters Ana and Heleyna Tucker reflected on their memorable run as Hope College student-athletes and teammates during the latest episode of the Hope College Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. The former cross country and track team champions spoke with Sports Information Director Alan Babbitt about their unique family bond as part of a set of triplets, their different educational pursuits and their shared passion for running. Both Midland, Michigan, natives graduated from Hope College in May. They are now pursuing post-graduate studies and living apart for the first time in their lives. Ana is working on her doctorate in physical therapy at Grand Valley State University while also running competitively for the NCAA Division II Lakers. The exercise science major at Hope posted 11 NCAA All-America efforts over three sports during her Flying Dutch, including in each of the cross country, indoor track and outdoor track seasons as a senior. Heleyna is studying applied statistics in graduate school at the University of Michigan. The mathematics major joined Ana in helping the Flying Dutch win four MIAA titles in cross country and three apiece in indoor and outdoor track and field. Accomplished Family Their brother, Charles, recently graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in computer science. He now works for the United States Department of Defense. “We all have different personality traits and over time, I think we really just learned how to balance each other out, "Each other strengths would fill each other's weaknesses. That bond is really noticeable. When Heleyna and I went to Hope, it was very noticeable that Charles was away and that there wasn't that balance. Now, Heleyna and I are going to separate schools, to separate grad programs. It's definitely noticeable that we're apart. Charles actually started running too and he's doing quite well. We go on triplet runs sometimes together.” The Tucker sisters also expressed their gratitude for their time at Hope College and all the different people who supported them, taught them and coached them. “I bet we would both say Norty, our head cross country coach,” Heleyna said, mentioning Mark Northuis, Hope College’s head cross country coach and distance coach for track and field. “He's definitely been someone to shape us and talk to us if we're struggling. He helps us in any other aspect because going to college is a big transition is not having your family there. You don't have your parents to talk to and I feel like your coach kind of becomes like that, an adult figure for you to talk to you if you have an issue. They kind of know if something is wrong. You walk in and can just tell. “I'd say, all the math professors have been such amazing influences on me. I mean to name one, I remember in my freshman year I took a Calc 2 class with Aaron Cinzori. He just really impacted me my freshman year and made me really want to pursue being a math major and look more into that in the future. All the math faculty, they’re amazing.” Read a written transcript of the interview.


David Blahnik: Hope College Athletics Podcast

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. David Blahnik, Hope College men's soccer head coach 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.” Read a written transcript of the interview.


Delaney Wesolek: Hope College Athletics Podcast

Delaney Wesolek’s daily calendar fills up quickly as a Hope College swimmer and nursing student. Time is precious as a student-athlete with early-morning practices, classes or clinicals during the day, afternoon practices, and evening homework or relaxation. Delaney Wesolek Maximizing all of the opportunities, Wesolek handles daily tasks at an extremely high level. In April, the senior from Bay City, Michigan (John Glenn HS) was named the 2023 Hope College Be Strong. Be True. Female Athlete of the Year. One month earlier, Wesolek competed on relays at the NCAA Division III Championships and helped the Flying Dutch finish 10th in the nation. Wesolek recently joined the Hope College Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, along with head swimming and diving coach Jake Taber, to talk about what it is like to be a Division III student-athlete at Hope. In addition to swimming and studying, Wesolek has been involved with Dance Marathon at Hope, an annual fundraiser for the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, and helped start Team 43, a support group for Hope student-athletes that focuses on mental health. "Old school" time management How does Wesolek keep on top of everything? “For me, I would say I'm kind of old school in how I do my time management. My paper planner is my best friend, and I rely on it so much,” Wesolek said. “It definitely keeps me in line. I hold myself accountable by making my schedule. “I'm a big list person as well. That's something that (Coach) Taber can even talk about whenever we have little meetings, I come in, I have my list and he's like, ‘All right, what's on the list? Let's just get to it.’ That's just kind of how I roll because I love crossing things off and just working off my list and using my planner and that's something that I did do in high school,” Wesolek said. “I would say when I got to the college level, it was definitely an adjustment itself with a different class schedule. That's different than what high school was but also just unique training schedules as well. That was definitely new and I had to learn how to navigate my time and how I manage that.” Taber was thrilled to see Wesolek chosen as one of two Be Strong. Be True. Athletes of the Year. Football’s Dan Romano was the male recipient. “For me, it's funny to hear Delaney say how shocked she was. I wasn't,” Taber said. “The experience that, we and our coaching staff have had working with her every day for the last three years is that she embodies what it means a Christian student-athlete. She's involved in her community. She continues to excel at a very high level. “She gets it done in the pool, on campus, in the community, and she isn't just involved in these things. I mean she's got leadership roles and she has a tremendously high impact in everything that she's involved with. When you look at what we're about, from a student-athlete standpoint here at Hope College, I can't think of a better representative than Delaney.” Read a written transcript of the interview.


Kevin Wolma: Hope College Athletics Podcast

The Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast has returned this summer for a third season with a special series of interviews with Hope College student-athletes, administration and staff. Kevin Wolma For the season’s third episode, sports information director Alan Babbitt sits down with Kevin Wolma, Hope College’s Assistant Athletic Director for Student Wellness and Compliance. In this new role, Wolma will be advocating for and leading programs which will benefit the comprehensive wellness of Hope College student-athletes, while also supporting coaches and staff in their efforts to have a transformational impact. “The wellness piece is a little bit new as far as a titled position,” Wolma said. “We do a lot of great things for student-athletes here at Hope College. The role is about tying a lot of that into one space and having somebody that will be working with different partnerships on campus and with our coaching staff to ensure that student-athlete experience for them, to provide the resources that they need, whether it's social, emotional, mental, spiritual, or physical wellness. “We've got a lot of pieces already on campus. It is just exciting to tie into that and create this mental health experience, an overall wellness experience, for them that will be transformational for the student-athletes when they leave Hope.” A Career in Education and Wellness Prior to joining Hope Athletics, Wolma worked for two years as Associate Director of Admissions at Hope and for 25 years in education as a teacher, a coach and an administrator. Wolma served as athletic director for Hudsonville Public Schools for 10 years from 2011 to 2021. He taught secondary health and physical education at Hudsonville from 1997 through 2011. He also coached three varsity sports at Hudsonville: girls golf from 2009 to 2011, boys basketball from 2000 to 2006, and girls tennis from 1997 to 2002. He also coached varsity boys basketball at Caledonia from 1997 to 2000. Wolma started his career in education at Roscommon, where he taught secondary science for one year. While new to athletics administration in college, Wolma is well-versed in what Hope has to offer. He and his wife, Gina, have three children who attend Hope. Jordan and Kayla, twin brother and sister, will be seniors at Hope this fall, while Kelsey will be a freshman. Read a written transcript of the interview.


Angelique Gaddy-McElveen: Hope College Athletics Podcast

The Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast has returned this summer for a third season with a special series of interviews with Hope College student-athletes, administration and staff. For the summer’s second episode, sports information director Alan Babbitt sits down with Angelique Gaddy-McElveen, Hope College’s Assistant Athletic Director of Philanthropy. Angelique Gaddy-McElveen In this new role, Gaddy-McElveen leads Athletics’ philanthropy efforts in collaboration with the college's Philanthropy and Engagement Division. This strategic partnership will allow Athletics to broaden and strengthen its commitment to providing a transformational experience where student-athletes can thrive academically and athletically through programs focused on their holistic development and preparing them for lives of leadership and impact. “I did a lot of listening, then also pulled into some efforts that we had already started over the last year,” Gaddy-McElveen said of her work as Assistant Athletic Director of Philanthropy since January when she started. “When I wasn't in this role yet, last October, we started corporate sponsorships for athletics that was headed by Keagan Pontius, women's lacrosse coach. We worked very closely together. We also have our Orange and Blue Fund; that's headed by Dan Osterbaan. The three of us do a lot of things regarding annual giving and corporate sponsorships. “I was brought on to lead those efforts to put more synergy behind the direction of them altogether, acting as one. I'll be working more so with some of those major gifts and cultivating those relationships of how can we really pair, whether it's parents, alumni, fans, friends of the college, how can we pair what their passions are, their desires for student-athletes, coaches, programming, and make that a real opportunity for those different areas on campus.” Hope-Full History Prior to joining the Hope Athletics administration, Gaddy-McElveen served on the college’s admissions team for three years and was responsible for admissions recruitment in the Chicagoland area and seven schools in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Most recently, she taught a first-year seminar titled “Mamba Mentality and Motivation”. She serves as a first-year advisor. In 2019, Gaddy-McElveen earned her Master’s degree in Sport Management from Western Michigan University. In 2017, she graduated from Hope with bachelor’s degrees in business and communication. After graduating from Hope, Gaddy-McElveen worked as a compliance specialist at Grand Valley State University for two years. At Hope, Gaddy-McElveen was a standout student-athlete on the women’s basketball team that posted a 103-11 overall record over four seasons. The Flying Dutch made four NCAA Division III Tournament appearances and claimed three MIAA titles between 2014 and 2017. A guard, Gaddy-McElveen received All-MIAA First Team honors as a junior and All-MIAA Second Team honors as a senior. She was elected team captain as a senior and junior. Read a written transcript of the interview.


Dan Romano: Hope College Athletics Podcast

The Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast is returning this summer for a third season with a special series of interviews with Hope College student-athletes, administration and staff. Dan Romano For this summer’s first episode, sports information director Alan Babbitt sits down with recent graduate Dan Romano ‘23, this year’s male recipient of the Hope Athletics Be Strong. Be True. Athlete of the Year award, and Flying Dutchmen head football coach Peter Stuursma. The Be Strong. Be True. Athlete of the Year award is presented to a male and female junior or senior who demonstrates the true essence of being a student-athlete and embodies the Division III motto of Discover, Develop, Dedicate. This student-athlete is in high academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.5), plays a significant role on the team, and is involved in the Hope and Holland community. Later this summer, we will chat with the 2023 female recipient, senior swimmer Delaney Wesolek, and head swimming and diving coach Jake Taber. Both Wesolek and Romano received their awards during the HOPEYs ceremony in April. "Taking advantage of every opportunity" Romano packed in a lot of activity as a student-athlete at Hope: Majored in biomedical and mechanical engineering, minored in mathematics; Two-year starter on the football team while earning All-MIAA Second Team honors as a junior and recording a pair of 200-yard rushing games; Semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's Campbell Trophy that recognizes a college football student-athlete for his academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership; Served on Hope’s and MIAA’s ACT-SAAC (Athletes Coming Together-Student Athlete Advisory Council); Participated in a SEED (Sport Evangelism to Equip Disciples) trip in 202’ Co-lead Bible study for the football team. After graduating last month, Romano married Hannah Cross ‘23 and began working at Gentex Corporation as a product design engineer. On the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Romano said he used his time as a student-athlete at Hope as an opportunity to grow, to meet people, to become just to become the better version of himself. “I did find myself saying yes a lot and taking advantage of every opportunity that I could,” Romano said. “That just led me down a road to one being busy, but also just really growing in every aspect of my life. Whether it was football, academics my faith with the Bible study being a leader on ACT-SAAC, or repping the MIAA, they were all just like really cool opportunities I didn't want to pass up on. “I saw it more as like I want to excel in it and be the best that I can be in it.” Read a written transcript of interview


Elly Douglass ’04 Jordan: Hope Athletics Podcast

Elly Douglass ‘04 Jordan was not born yet when Title IX came into law on June 23, 1972, but is grateful every day the legislation did. A fulfilling journey from childhood to adulthood would not have been possible without the federal civil rights law which prohibits sex-based discrimination by any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. At Hope College, Jordan ran on the cross country and track and field teams before graduating with a degree in social sciences. Elly Douglass '04 Jordan Now, Jordan is a supervising attorney at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center and leads a team in providing trauma-informed legal services to refugee and immigrant kids who have experienced persecution and human trafficking. Jordan talked about Title IX, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary, as a guest on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. “Title IX is such a simple piece of legislation really that embodies the principle that we shall not have discrimination on the basis of sex in education,” Jordan said. “Since I'm 40, it predates me. So many of the women that we stand on the backs of were the people that really pioneered for us. I was rarely the first woman to do a lot of things. I know there have been a lot of women that have gone before me.” Read More from Hope College's Title IX at 50 Series Opportunities Created Upon graduation from Hope College with a degree in social sciences, Jordan moved to El Salvador with her husband to work as a missionary with the SHARE Foundation. Upon realizing she was in a position of privilege and could use that to do more to serve, she attended law school, where she excelled. After graduating from law school, Jordan worked as a law clerk for the US Court of Appeals, then joined Warner Norcross and Judd, LLP. Jordan left Warner to work as the Supervising Attorney at the Michigan State University College of Law Immigration Clinic. Jordan then served as the Lead Attorney for the Survivor Law Project at the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence before working at the Michigan Immigrant Rights Center. In April, Jordan was presented with the “Hope for Humanity” Award which is presented to Hope College alumni athletes who have demonstrated Christian commitment and service to others in their careers after Hope. “(Title IX) has impacted me quite a bit. I think it would be easy for me to take for granted a lot of the promise that Title IX has fulfilled thus far. Far be it for me to become lazy, to rest on my laurels and not continue to encourage that Title IX continues to fulfill its full promise.” Orange and Blue Podcast Transcript


Arinn King and Jack Radzville: Hope Athletics Podcast

Arinn King and Jack Radzville displayed similar excellence on the field and in the classroom during their Hope College careers. The 2022 Be Strong. Be True. Female and Male Athletes of the Year sat down together for an interview for the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. They talked about their athletics and academic experiences and offered advice for incoming freshmen student-athletes. From left, Arinn King and Jack Radzville King, a standout second baseman in softball, and Radzville, a decorated attacker in men's lacrosse, graduated last month and concluded their playing careers. King, an exercise science major, is headed to physical therapy school. Radzville, an electrical engineering major, has accepted a job with Ford Motor Company. In April, King and Radzville received their Be Strong. Be True. honors during the annual HOPEYs awards ceremony. The Be Strong. Be True. Athlete of the Year distinction is presented to a junior or senior who demonstrates the true essence of being a student-athlete and embodies the NCAA Division III motto of Discover, Develop, Dedicate. This student-athlete is in high academic standing (minimum GPA of 3.5), plays a significant role on the team, and is involved in the Hope and Holland community. Saying Thank You Both student-athletes expressed gratitude for their four years on campus and all the people who supported them along their journeys. King earned all-region honors from the National Fastpitch Coaches Association this spring. Hope posted a a 26-12 overall record. "I would definitely say thank you to all of my coaches and my teammates. They pushed me on the field in the classroom, in my faith just and life in general with their friendships," King said. "They pushed me to be my best in all aspects, taught me to be more confident in who I was. I'm definitely a better version of myself since walking into Hope because of them." Radzville received honorable-mention All-America honors from the United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association. The attacker was voted as the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association's Most Valuable Offensive Player this season. Hope finished with 15-2 overall record and earned the MIAA's regular-season title. "I want to say thank you to all my friends, teammates, coaches and my family because they have had my back and encouraged me to do the best I can," Radzville said. "They're always proud of what I've done, but they always pushed me to do better. I want to shout out Andrew Conlon, Cole Scheffler and my coaches, Mike Schanhals, Chris Scheldt, for always pushing me to do better academically and athletically." Written transcript of the Orange and Blue Podcast interview


Title IX at 50: Volleyball’s Grace Pettinger

Editor’s Note: On June 23, 1972, a federal civil rights law was passed that prohibited sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal funding. Title IX also gave girls and women the equal opportunity to compete in sports across the country. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of Title IX’s passing this summer, Hope College Athletics shares the memories and perspectives from Hope College student-athletes, coaches, and alumnae around the 9th of each month during the school year. In the seventh installment of our Title IX celebration, Grace Pettinger '21, talks on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast about her experiences as a volleyball student-athlete and the research she did as a history major. Before graduating, Pettinger published an article about the early days of women's sports at Hope College for The Joint Archives of Holland. --- Grace Pettinger '21 A Hope College Women's Athletic Association jacket from the 1950s was left on the doorsteps of the Holland Museum. The anonymous donation served up an fulfilling research opportunity for Grace Pettinger '21. The Hope College student-athlete studied an era before Title IX became law in 1992 and opened academic and athletics opportunities women like her enjoy today. She published an article titled "The Women's Athletic Association: The Foundation of Women's Sports at Hope College" in the Spring 2021 edition of The Joint Archives Quarterly. The Joint Archives of Holland is a department of Van Wylen Library and promotes the educational mission of Hope College and its partner institutions by actively collecting, caring for, interpreting and making available the unique historical resources in its care. Pettinger worked for The Joint Archives while pursuing her studies at Hope and playing volleyball for the nationally-ranked Flying Dutch. 'I want them to be remembered too' In the latest edition of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Pettinger discussed with sports information director Alan Babbitt about her experiences as a student-athlete, the opportunities Title IX gave her, and what she learned from her research into the Women's Athletic Association at Hope. Grace Pettinger "As a history major and someone who's kind of obsessed with telling these stories, I always think about how I really want in the future someone to care enough to go through my jackets and my scrapbooks or someone to care enough to find my story," Pettinger said. "I am so thankful for the people and women around me that empower me to do to work on women's stories from the past. "I want them to be remembered too and for them to be sought after in the future." Pettinger completed her studies at Hope in December. She plans to attend a graduate school to be determined to work on her M.A. in history and an M.S. in library sciences. She wants to become an archives librarian in a college or university setting. Last fall, Pettinger helped Hope claim an outright MIAA championship in volleyball. She played in the back row as a defensive specialist. The Flying Dutch advanced to the regional finals of the NCAA Division III Championships. Written transcript of the interview


Clayton Dykhouse, Evan Thomas: Hope Athletics Podcast

Clayton Dykhouse and Evan Thomas quickly became friends when they became teammates on the Hope College men's basketball team as freshmen. From left, Hope College men's basketball juniors Clayton Dykhouse and Evan Thomas Three years later, they're leading the Flying Dutchmen's pursuit of an MIAA Tournament title and an NCAA Division III Tournament berth. Hope hosts Calvin University on Saturday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. in the MIAA Tournament champion game at DeVos Fieldhouse. Dykhouse and Thomas — both All-MIAA First Team selections, with Thomas as league MVP — have teamed up into a powerful force on the court. While a significant part of their lives, their journeys at Hope is not defined solely by basketball. Dykhouse is an elementary education major with aspirations of becoming a teacher. Thomas is a biology major with goals of attending medical school. Earlier this month, both sat down with Sports Information Director Alan Babbitt in the latest episode of the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. Since the conversation, the Flying Dutchmen won the MIAA's regular-season title and earned the No. 1 seed for the MIAA Tournament. During the February 25 semifinal win vs. Albion, Thomas became the 43rd Flying Dutchmen to score 1,000 career points. Inspiring Conversations and Change Now roommates as well as team co-captains with senior Tyler George, Dykhouse and Thomas talked about their friendship, what makes their basketball team special on and off the court, what they have learned about leadership, and their unique perspectives as Americans. Dykhouse is African-American; Thomas is biracial. Both are involved in leadership within Hope's Athletes Coming Together-Student Athlete Advisory Council (ACT-SAAC). They participate in ACT-SAAC's Diversity and Inclusion committee. "The group as a whole is just bringing leaders, athletes, from all different sports together to have a group that can talk to higher up faculty about what athletes need, what students need kind of in community," Thomas said. "What Clay and I are doing in the diversity and inclusion kind of efforts are just to create a conversation within athletes about diversity, inclusion, how Hope can be more acceptable, more inclusive to all different kinds of people, no matter where they come from. It's been a lot of fun so far, creating conversations. We've had great speakers come in and talk to us and just learning and are startings conversations to learn more about what diversity and inclusion really means." A recent interaction with two young fans at DeVos Fieldhouse reminded Dykhouse how vital diversity and inclusion is at Hope and society. "I've spent my entire life with white parents in a predominantly white community. I think they did a great job of exposing me of me and my brother to just what it means to be black in America at a really young age," Dykhouse said. "I know a couple of home games ago there was a family that I had gotten to know the dad a little bit, and he has two adopted sons. After the game, they were talking to me. They were talking about Evan, me, and T.J. (McKenzie), and how cool it was to see someone in a position at Hope that looks like them. They're fourth and second grade boys recognizing that." Written transcript of the interview


Men’s Soccer Coach John Conlon: Hope Athletics Podcast

John Conlon '97 pours himself into coaching soccer and his student-athletes much like he did when he played the game himself at Hope College. In many ways, the Flying Dutchmen's new soccer coach is the same man driven for competitive excellence who came to campus nearly 30 years ago with lofty aspirations. John Conlon '97 In many ways, Conlon also is a different man, a leader who's evolved through his years as a successful high school soccer coach and fifth-grade teacher and keenly appreciative on the transformational experiences athletics can provide. In the latest Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Conlon discusses, with sports information director Alan Babbitt, what he is bringing back to his alma after after being introduced earlier this month as Hope's 10th men's soccer coach. Conlon returns to campus after becoming one of the most successful boys and girls soccer coaches in Michigan High School Athletic Association history. He guided the East Kentwood boys teams to a Division I record five state titles. He totaled a combined 674 wins in boys and girls high school soccer. Learning from the best "When I was a young coach like 23 to 27, I didn't quite get it. I understood coaching. I was learning coaching, but I didn't understand the impact coaches have on players," Conlon said. "I studied guys like Tom Izzo, I was a fiery guy, too, but his guys love him. Mike Krzyzewski is another one that I absolutely learned everything I could about the way he does things. Nick Saban, some of the great coaches, I just studied the way they did things. That changed my mentality and changed the way I lived and died with every second of every day. And it's made all the difference. "I'll be honest, my greatest accomplishments are not championships. It's the guys who've graduated, the guys who have gone on and are successful, the guys who are having kids now. That's what means the world to me." As a student-athlete at Hope, Conlon started as a midfielder for four seasons for the Steven Smith-coached Flying Dutchmen soccer team from 1993-96. The Flying Dutchmen went 60-12-6 during that time and advanced to the national quarterfinals in 1994. He helped Hope three-peat as Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association champions during his senior, junior and sophomore seasons. Conlon was voted as the MIAA's Most Valuable Player for the 1995 season by the league's coaches. He was selected to the All-MIAA First Team three times (1994-96). He totaled 36 points during his career with 18 goals and 18 assists. He received National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-America honors and was a three-time NSCAA all-region selection. Conlon graduated from Hope after majoring in both psychology and communication. Written transcript of John Conlon's interview


Matt Margaron, Shomari Tate: Hope Athletics Podcast

Sport helped Matt Margaron ’03 and Shomari Tate grow their Christian faith as youth. After finding a higher calling, both now are ministering as chaplains to the Hope College community, including our student-athletes and coaches. Margaron is in his third year as Hope’s Chaplain of Athletics. Tate is in his first year as Hope’s Chaplain of Discipleship. From left, Matt Margaron and Shomari Tate On the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Margaron and Tate talk together with sports information director Alan Babbitt about their rewarding work as chaplains, their paths to Hope, and how sport helped them in a variety of ways, including being good teammates on Hope’s Campus Ministries department. “It's such a gift. I often say I have the coolest job in the world because I'm a huge sports fan,” Margaron said. “Any sport I love to watch. I love to analyze. We can talk about stats. Those are things that I'm really passionate about. But I'm these athletes’ biggest and coaches’ biggest fan. I love it. I love talking about it and walking alongside, but then also talking about the deeper issues as well.” Added Tate, “I'm like a kid in the candy store. Just having fun. In month four of my job, I would say that my biggest job right now is just getting to know Hope, getting to know students, getting to know the collective stories that make up our beautiful campus, our beautiful community. “In terms of my formal duties, I just get the distinct honor and privilege to walk alongside of students and make sure that they are being formed well in Christ as they go out into the real world. Also, I have an expansive history doing diversity, equity and inclusion work, so I'm excited to bring that level of expertise to the team as well.” Chaplains See Sport's Potential as a Positive Influence Both chaplains believe sport can be a positive influence on a person’s life. Both see how the difference sport made in their own lives. Margaron’s athletic career culminated as a Hope soccer standout. While majoring in psychology and religion, he was a three-time All-MIAA honoree and two-time all-region selection. After Hope, Margaron earned his master’s degree in community counseling from Regent University. He returned to work on campus after working for Young Life for 10 years. Tate was on a walk-on to the Michigan State University football team after a standout three-sport career at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School. He played for the Spartans for one year before hanging up the cleats. He then worked for the Spartans as a recruiting operations assistant. Tate majored in political science and government at Michigan State. He went to earn a master’s degree in public policy from Michigan State as well as a master’s degree in ministry leadership from Cornerstone University. Before joining Hope’s staff, Tate worked as Catholic Central’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for two years. He also was an assistant coach on Catholic Central’s highly-regarded football team. Read a written transcript of the podcast interview


Baseball Coach Stu Fritz: Hope Athletics Podcast

Baseball has been a central part of Stu Fritz’s life as long as he can remember. From family vacations to St. Louis Cardinals games growing up in Iowa to 28 seasons as Hope College’s baseball coach, he has loved the game. Prior to last weekend’s season-opening doubleheader, Fritz joined the Orange and Blue Podcast to discuss his baseball roots and the unique 2021 baseball season for the Flying Dutchmen. Head baseball coach and associate professor of kinesiology Stu Fritz Fritz and his team returned to competition this spring after the 2020 season was canceled after three games due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “I would say that baseball players and coaches, by our nature, have to be resilient with rainouts and makeups, especially playing here in the Great Lakes region. We’re used to having things postponed or canceled, but never quite to that magnitude,” Fritz said. “I will tip my hat to our guys. They handled it extremely well. It was disappointing for our coaching staff to truly have a season taken away. “If there is a silver lining, it’s that everybody else was in the same boat. We didn’t have anything else we could do, so we took it in stride. We’re ready to get back out and get going.” Looking Ahead 2021 Season Preview The 2021 baseball season is full of promise for the Flying Dutchmen. They won a school-record 31 games in their last full season in 2019. They were picked to be a contender for an MIAA title this spring; finishing second in the league’s preseason coaches poll. Fritz, who started playing baseball as a child in Iowa, is grateful for all of the opportunities the game has given him. He has traveled to Switzerland to take part in coaching clinics. He has served as president of the American Baseball Coaches Association. And, he’s made a career coaching the sport itself at Hope College — a path that started because of a chance meeting with retired Hope College men’s basketball Glenn Van Wieren at St. Olaf College (Minnesota) 30 years ago. “I firmly believe that our creator puts us in spots and gives us opportunities,” Fritz said. When he’s not at the baseball field, Fritz works to mold the educators of tomorrow. He recently became tenured as an associate professor of kinesiology at Hope. As part of his role, he helps assess student physical education teachers. “I enjoy being out in the field,” Fritz said. “I think it helps me stay current to see our students in a different way: in the classroom versus always on the court, on the track, in the pool, or on the field. It’s something near and dear to my heart.”


Softball Coach Mary VandeHoef: Hope Athletics Podcast

Head coach Mary VandeHoef is eager to lead her Hope College softball team on the field again. After 364 days since their last games, she is poised to get the chance to compete with the Flying Dutch this weekend. Hope opens the 2021 season with a non-league doubleheader at Hanover College (Indiana) on Saturday, March 6. Earlier this month, VandeHoef joined the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast to discuss how she and her team managed the past year that's been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mary VandeHoef, Hope College softball coach and Dow Center Director VandeHoef expressed pride in how everyone on the team — from student-athletes, coaches, and support staff — banded together to assist each other during a trying time. "In my lifetime I've never seen something like that get taken away," VandeHoef said. "To have it happen when you're playing is really hard. We wanted to acknowledge that but also be moving forward and pressing on. We really were able to make the most of our fall season. "I’m really grateful we were able to get a chance to do so. Now, we're just getting better every day and itching to get out there and play and compete. I cannot wait to compete with this team — just get after it and enjoy it." 'Staying connected' through softball This is VandeHoef's 11th season as head softball coach. It will be a unique one. Understandably, there has been more on her student-athletes' hearts and minds the past year as everyone has adjusted to online classes, new safety protocols and limited social contact. There will be no spring break trip to Florida this year, so VandeHoef has been creative to bolster the team camaraderie that often has been elevated during the annual excursion down south. Also, there are more games against MIAA opponents to fill out a 40-game schedule. "There definitely have been aspects that are tough," VandeHoef said. "We talk about being a five-minute friend, being that friend and teammate who is there for each other when you need it, to talk, facetime, or text. I think they really did a good job of staying connected in their own way. We're certainly connected as a team." The Flying Dutch is expected to be a contender for an MIAA title this spring. Hope finished third in the 2021 MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll. Dow Center Director In addition to coaching softball, VandeHoef serves as the Dow Center director on campus. The facility is the student recreation and intramural center, holds space for academic classes and is the home of the college's dance department, and is a fitness area for faculty, staff, and community members. The Dow Center also periodically is a practice facility for Hope's varsity teams. It is a role that VandeHoef relishes since she enjoyed numerous broad-based activities as a student-athlete at her alma mater, Central College (Iowa). "The Dow is so important to our campus," VandeHoef said. "Having a place to recreate and have some fun and be with your friends is important. There are a lot of aspects of campus life that happen at the Dow that are fun to be facilitating. It’s a great position to know more of the Hope community and what makes this place special." Written transcript of Mary VandeHoef's interview


Men’s Lacrosse Coach Michael Schanhals: Hope Athletics Podcast

All these years later, Michael Schanhals '91, Hope College's men's lacrosse coach, still shakes his head about how his coaching career began. He recalls visiting a friend in his old dorm room at Hope College when a call for him there. He answered the phone — which hung on a wall, not in his hand. Men's lacrosse head coach Michael Schanhals "I thought, 'That's weird?' It's a total coincidence that I was even in the vicinity," Schanhals said on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. "It was Rick Morris from East Grand Rapids, and they want to interview me for a coaching job. I got the job as head boys lacrosse coach at East Grand Rapids, absolutely loved coaching there." Schanhals became smitten with coaching and made it a life-long passion. Since 2005, he has led the Flying Dutchmen lacrosse club he played for and oversaw its transition into a varsity program. Hope is scheduled to begin its ninth varsity season on Wednesday, March 3 with a 5 p.m. home game against Aurora University (Illinois). Building a Winning Program Schanhals has built the Flying Dutchmen into a successful program. Hope is pursuing its third consecutive MIAA regular-season championship this spring. The Flying Dutchmen won regular-season league titles in 2018 and 2019 and made their first NCAA Division III Tournament appearance in 2019 after winning the MIAA Tournament. Hope started the 2020 season 3-0 before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the remainder of the season. Schanhals guided the Flying Dutchmen through workouts last fall. "Our fall work was really productive. Now, obviously, the next step is to test that against some other competition, too," Schanhals said. "We're really lucky to have a very talented and deep group of young players. We feel like we're ready for games, but we also know that, once the games are on our growth and learning opportunities are just going to accelerate that much more. We're really excited about that." In addition to coaching, Schanhals is a high school English teacher for North Muskegon Public Schools. He also coaches eighth-grade basketball there. "The dead period for the NCAA is November and December from the end of fall ball to when we start back up," Schanhals said. "I just can't help it. I just really love the interaction, I think I learned so much from playing sports and just love it. "To be able to share that, then also create a relationship with people so that you can be pushed intellectually at the same time, is everything I've ever wanted to do professionally. I'm so grateful that I have this opportunity for sure." A written transcript of the Orange and Blue Podcast


Women’s Lacrosse Coach Keagan Pontious: Hope Athletics Podcast

For years, Keagan Pontious picked up a lacrosse stick and instinctively knew exactly what to do — at an elite level, too. Now, as coach of the Hope College women’s lacrosse team, the former NCAA Division II All-American is embracing the new challenge of sharing her wisdom with her student-athletes. Keagan Pontious, head women's lacrosse coach and equipment manager. “That’s been the hardest part actually,” Pontious said on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. “The reason is that the stuff that came naturally to me — I am left-handed and took the draw in college — has been harder for me to coach. It took me a long time to figure out how to teach (the women) how to take a draw properly. “I loved studying (lacrosse) as a player, where it could be one little thing that makes the difference. The great thing now as a coach is I watch (the team) and it might be changing one piece of their games that allows them to open a whole different level of play.” Lacrosse Optimism Pontious is in her second season leading the Flying Dutch. Their first game is scheduled for Tuesday, February 24 against Calvin University at 4 p.m. at Van Andel Soccer Stadium. Her first season was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Hope played four matches, winning the final two — before the remainder of the season was canceled. The Flying Dutch enter this season as the preseason favorite in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Hope topped a close MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll with 42 points and two first-place votes. On the Orange and Blue Podcast, Pontious discusses how she has managed the pandemic with her team and how they remained focused on finding blessings amid all the challenges they face. Pontious is not far removed from her playing days. Two years ago, she scored 58 goals en route to helping Seton Hill (Pennsylvania) advance to the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time. She was selected to the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association’s All-America Third Team. Pontious earned both her master’s of business administration and her bachelor’s of business administration degrees at Seton Hill. In addition to coaching, Pontious serves all of Hope’s student-athletes as the college’s equipment manager, a role she started in December.


Tennis Coach Bob Cawood: Hope Athletics Podcast

Bob Cawood '13 relishes the repetitive sound of a tennis ball being launched into play and then returned. He's missing hearing it in a competitive setting at Hope College. Cawood is optimistic that will change this weekend when his Hope College men's and women's tennis teams are scheduled to begin the 2021 season with a pair of home matches. It has been nearly a year since either the Flying Dutchmen or the Flying Dutch had matches because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cawood's fourth season as head coach at his alma mater has been a unique one with a delayed start and modified training routines. He talks about this season's preparations on the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast. Head men's and women's tennis coach Bob Cawood A long wait ends for both Hope teams on Friday, February 12 with a 5 p.m. match against Cornerstone University at DeWitt Tennis Center. The Flying Dutchmen and Flying Dutch follow on Saturday, February 13 with a 3 p.m. match against Davenport University. "We have continually stressed, even at practice in the fall, what a privilege it is to play this sport," Cawood said. "Thankfully, our sport is probably one of the more socially distant sports, and so it honestly has not changed a whole lot in terms of the way I coach. The only difference is the way that we have cleaned up and the way that we have to pick up the balls. I try to limit the number of balls that we use in a practice as well. "Where there used to be high fives, now it's racquet taps. We have a physical touch that still is socially distant." Giving Back to the Game Despite the challenges, Cawood has been determined to continue to give back to the game, one he holds dear, through his work as head coach at Hope as well as a tennis pro for the DeWitt Tennis Center. During his collegiate playing days at Hope, Cawood's 104 combined wins in singles and doubles play rank him third among Flying Dutchmen players. He also was the 2012 recipient of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association Allen B. Stowe Sportsmanship Award. Since he had one season of NCAA eligibility left after graduating from Hope, Cawood also played NCAA Division I tennis at the University of Detroit Mercy while taking graduate school classes. At UDM, he was named team captain and team MVP for the Titans. Now as a coach, Cawood aims to be the kind of role model he's had during his playing and coaching career. "This is my way of giving back, I always say, because I definitely appreciated my coach here at Hope, Steve Gorno. He's a role model still for me. He's been a mentor. He's an amazing human being. He taught me a lot of things that I have not been able to read in a textbook. For me to be able to have a philosophy from him, a philosophy from playing D-I for a year, having (assistant coach) Nate Price, having all these different people in my life to be able to put me in this moment, it's my opportunity to give back to these young men. "I cannot stress how much I appreciated my coach here who shaped me to be the person I am, helped with that. That's exactly what my hope is to be able to do for the players on the men's and women's teams." Written transcript of Bob Cawood interview


Football Coach Peter Stuursma and Senior Joey Stark: Hope Athletics Podcast:

Hope College football coach Peter Stuursma and senior quarterback Joey Stark discuss on the Orange and Blue Hope Athletics Podcast this week's decision that the program will focus on preparing for the Fall 2021 season and will not participate in MIAA league play this spring. Ray and Sue Smith Stadium The Flying Dutchmen instead will follow a phased-in offseason training program this spring that includes strength and conditioning work, four to five weeks of practice, and the potential for scrimmages. The Flying Dutchmen will kick off the 2021 fall season on Saturday, Sept. 4. Hope hosts Anderson University at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium. 2021 fall schedule Focusing on the Fall 2021 season, Stuursma said, is driven by having in mind the best interests of Hope's football student-athletes, the program, and the institution of Hope. College announcement of the football decision


Track and Field Coach Kevin Cole: Hope Athletics Podcast:

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. Head men's and women's track and field coach Kevin Cole “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. Written transcript of Kevin Cole interview


Director of Athletics Tim Schoonveld: Hope Athletics Podcast:

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. DIrector of Athletics Tim Schoonveld 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.” Abundant Blessings 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.” Read a written transcript of this interview