posted December 18, 2005

DeVos Fieldhouse Spaces to Honor Four Hope Couples

Hope College is recognizing four couples who have played significant roles in the life of the college by naming portions of the new Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse in their honor.

Russ and Doris DeVette, Bob and Marcia DeYoung, Ray and Sue Smith, and Glenn and Jackie Van Wieren are all being honored for their decades-long service to Hope.  Bronze plaques commemorating the recognition will be unveiled as part of the pre-game activities for the Hope men's basketball game being played beginning at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, as part of the Russ DeVette Holiday Tournament.

"These are four very special couples who have had an extraordinary impact on the Hope and Holland communities with their career-long commitments," said Dr. James E. Bultman, president of Hope College.  "We honor them as couples because each in their own special way has been a team that has had a profound impact on generations of Hope students."

"Hope is a better college and Holland is a better community because of their contributions to our quality of life," he said.  "Their lives have been marked by a commitment to professional excellence, service to others and fulfilling with distinction the mission of Hope."

The main basketball gymnasium is being named the "DeVette-Van Wieren Gymnasium," the volleyball gymnasium is being named the "DeYoung Volleyball Gymnasium" and the weight room is being named the "Smith Weight Training Center."  The plaques will be permanently placed on the concourse wall overlooking the weight room.

Russ DeVette and Glenn Van Wieren together total more than 50 years as head coach of the men's basketball team.  DeVette was the coach from 1948 to 1951 and from 1956 to 1977, and Van Wieren, one of DeVette's former players, has been coach since 1977.

DeVette, who is a 1945 Hope graduate, taught or coached at Hope for nearly 40 years, from 1948 until retiring in 1988 as professor emeritus of physical education, with three years away in the 1950s to serve with the U.S. Marine Corps and on the faculty of the University of Maine.  Over 24 seasons, his basketball teams captured nine MIAA championships and one NCAA regional crown.  He was also head football coach from 1955 to 1969, and remained on the football coaching staff as defensive coordinator through 1987.

Van Wieren, who graduated from Hope in 1964, began coaching at Hope in 1966, was away while he completed his doctorate, and returned as a member of the faculty in 1973.  He has guided the Flying Dutchmen to a record 15 MIAA championships and appearances in 16 NCAA Division III post-season tournaments.  Hope finished second in the nation in 1996 and 1998, and advanced to the quarterfinals in 1997.  A professor of kinesiology, he has also coached baseball, cross country and soccer.

Bob DeYoung was the college's chief fundraising officer for 26 years, from 1974 until retiring in 2000 as vice president for college advancement.  He had been at the college since 1965, serving first as associate director of admissions and then as dean of men, dean of students and vice president for student affairs before moving to advancement.  A 1956 Hope graduate who was a student-athlete himself, he taught and coached in the Whitehall schools immediately after graduating from the college.

Ray Smith came to Hope from California as head football coach and a member of the physical education (now kinesiology) faculty.  He coached Hope football for 25 seasons, longer than any other head football coach in the MIAA, and entering his final, 1994, season he was the eighth-winningest coach in NCAA Division III history.  His teams won nine MIAA championships.  He continues to teach at Hope as a professor of kinesiology, and has been director of athletics for men since 1980.

The $22 million Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse, located on Fairbanks Avenue between Ninth and 11th streets, opened for intercollegiate athletic competition on Saturday, Nov. 19, hosting a double-header featuring both women's and men's basketball.  The building also serves as home court for the college's volleyball team and for Holland Christian boys' basketball, and has further been designed to serve as a venue for a variety of large-scale community events.  In addition to the arena and weight room, the fieldhouse includes two classrooms, a dance studio, an exercise physiology laboratory, the athletic training program and offices for the department of kinesiology, space that will open for use with the spring semester.  The building is named in honor of a $7.5 million leadership gift from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation.