HOLLAND - The storied tradition of Hope College basketball is told in a new book that shares the sport's first century at the college.
The book, "100 Years of Hope Basketball," written by journalist, historian and alumnus Randy Vande Water, is being released this month. It chronicles both men's and women's basketball from shortly after the turn of the 20th century through the 2003-04 season, runs that have included league championships, NCAA playoff appearances and a national championship for the women's team in 1990.
The book is organized by decade, with sidebars highlighting a variety of aspects of the sport's tenure at Hope. One section, for example, focuses on classic games of the Civic Center, as chosen by coaches and others familiar with Hope basketball. Another considers Hope basketball siblings who have played.
The foreword is by Dr. David Myers of the Hope psychology faculty, a Hope basketball fan for more than 30 years. Appendices list all the men and women who have ever competed in varsity basketball, and achievements such as all-league recognition. The book features more than 200 photos.
Through the first decades, much of the volume focuses on the men's program, since such was the emphasis of college athletics nationwide prior to the advent of Title IX and equality of treatment for women's sport in the 1970s. One of the early photos included in the volume shows the 1901-02 women's "basquet club." In the years since, though, the women's program has grown to prominence, including not only the national championship and playoff experiences but most recently reaching a school-record 40 consecutive regular-season victories during the 2003-04 season.
The book's front and back covers, designed by cheerleading coach Wes Wooley, feature photos chronicling seven highlights from the century of history, set against a close-up of the Civic Center's varnished floor and Hope basketball memorabilia: a team from the 1920s, spanning the court in the old Carnegie-Schouten gymnasium on campus; the 1942-43 "Blitz Kids," Hope's first team to go undefeated in MIAA play; Don Kronemeyer carried on the shoulders of a jubilant crowd after sinking the winning free-throw - after the buzzer - against arch-rival Calvin College in 1965; Floyd Brady sinking a hook shot to break the four-year Hope scoring record of 1,741, set in 1969; Dina (Disney) Hackert about to cut the net after the women's 1990 national championship game; Wade Gugino and Tom Halbert shattering the backboard in December of 1990, resulting in a game still listed as "incomplete" in the record books; and the student "Dew Crew" cheering in a more recent game.
Vande Water, who retired in 1989 as managing editor of "The Holland Sentinel," spent decades covering Hope athletics, beginning while he was still in high school in the 1940s as a sports writer for "The Grand Rapids Herald." He did color commentary for Hope games on WHTC radio starting in the 1950s. He also began his tenure at the "Sentinel" in 1954 as sports editor. Since retiring, he has written nine books on Holland history.
His connections, though, go much deeper. They started, as they have for many, when he was a young fan.
"I saw my first Hope game in the late 1930s," Vande Water said. "My dad, being a correspondent for 'The Grand Rapids Press,' would take me along."
Hope's coach, Milton "Bud" Hinga, was a long-time family friend--"He was 'Uncle Bud' [from church camp] first for me," Vande Water said - as was faculty member and former coach Jack Schouten.
One result of his long association with the program is that he has known all of those who have coached Hope men's basketball since the 1920s - first Schouten and Hinga, and then Russ DeVette, Dr. John Visser and Dr. Glenn Van Wieren. As a writer, he even covered DeVette's and Van Wieren's time as Hope players.
"I remember one bylined story that I had, in 1947, was Russ DeVette getting MIAA 'Most Valuable Player,'" Vande Water said. The occasion was memorable on many levels--it was the first time that the league had bestowed the honor in basketball.
Van Wieren, head men's basketball coach since 1977, appreciates that Vande Water is training his experience and perspective on the history.
"For over 45 years, as a player, coach and as a friend, I have observed Randy Vande Water and have been amazed by his extraordinary writings of human relations through sport. He sees the big picture and is a natural at distinguishing the incidental from the essential," Van Wieren said. "His love of basketball, exceptionality as a writer and distinct vision of Hope College history make him the obvious choice to write this commentary on the hardwoods of Hope basketball."
In addition to Vande Water's experience, the book stems from his thorough review of official records and period newspaper and yearbook accounts. Vande Water noted that the volume also owes much to the work of Gord Brewer. A professor emeritus of physical education, Brewer taught, coached and served in athletic administration at Hope from 1956 to 1988. After retiring he conducted research for and wrote two comprehensive histories of Hope athletics: "...But How You Played the Game!," covering 1862-1955, and "Journey of Hope: Names and Games Remembered," covering 1955-1970.
Copies of the 272-page "100 Years of Hope Basketball" are available through the college's Office of Public and Community Relations, and cost $24.45 ($21.45 for the book plus $3 per copy for shipping). Orders and payment may be sent to: Hope College; Office of Public Relations; PO Box 9000; Holland, MI 49422-9000. Those ordering the book should include their name, mailing address (no post office boxes) and telephone number.