posted October 11, 2010

Alumni H-Club to Honor Glenn Van Wieren and Karla Wolters

The alumni H-Club at Hope College will present its "Hope for Humanity Award" to Dr. Glenn Van Wieren and Karla Wolters on Saturday, Oct. 23, during the college's Homecoming Weekend.

Van Wieren and Wolters, who are both Hope College graduates, were long-time members of the faculty and coaches at Hope before retiring at the end of the 2009-10 school year.

The "Hope for Humanity Award," first presented in 1990, recognizes Hope athletic alumni for consistent service to others and demonstrating the values of Christian commitment and service. The H-Club consists of Hope alumni who were athletic letter winners and other honorary letter winners as approved by the H-Club's Board of Directors.

The group will honor Van Wieren and Wolters during its annual Homecoming luncheon, which will be held in the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.  In keeping with the theme "Called to Coach," the event will also feature a celebration of Hope alumni who have served as coaches at any level.

Members of the community are welcome to attend the event.  Tickets are $15 and may be obtained through the college's Office of Alumni and Parent Relations, which may be called at (616) 395-7899.

° Glenn Van Wieren, who graduated from Hope in 1964, joined the faculty in 1966. Coach of the Flying Dutchmen men's basketball team for 33 seasons, he was associated with Hope College basketball for some 50 years, dating back to his playing days in the early 1960s.

He nurtured a basketball program that is highly regarded across all of NCAA Division III. Averaging exactly 20 victories a season over 33 years (660-219), he had just one losing season. The 2009-10 Flying Dutchmen posted a 21-8 record to mark a school-record 31st consecutive winning season. Van Wieren entered the 2009-10 season ranked the fifth-winningest coach in NCAA Division III history, both in victories (now 660) and winning percentage (now .751).

He guided the Flying Dutchmen to a record 17 Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) championships and appearances in 21 NCAA Division III post-season tournaments, including this past season. His teams advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen six times, to the Elite Eight four times and the final four three times, most recently in 2008. Hope finished second in the nation twice (1996 and 1998) and was third in 2008.

Van Wieren recorded his 600th victory faster than any Division III coach in history. He coached two teams (1983-84 and 1994-95) through unbeaten regular seasons. He coached in 87 "Rivalry" games against CalvinCollege, posting a 46-41 record.

In 2006 he was honored by the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame with the organization's Lifetime Achievement Award. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan in 2003.

While at Hope, he also coached baseball, cross country and soccer. He is among the winningest coaches in MIAA history with a total of 19 league championships in basketball, baseball and soccer.

His wife Jacquelyn (Jackie Nyboer) is a 1967 Hope graduate. The Van Wierens have four daughters, Gretel, Heidi, Kuria and Rebekah.

° Karla Wolters, a 1973 Hope graduate who joined the faculty in 1987, both taught and coached throughout her time at the college.

During the 2009-10 school year, her classes included the upper-level Introduction to Physical Education course as well as activity classes in sports ranging from korfball to cross-country skiing.

She has a passion for the history of sports and a special interest in the history of the Olympics and women in sports. She enjoys sharing this historical information and her collection of antique sports equipment with her students and community members.

Wolters was softball coach from the spring of 1988 through 2010, and brought a new level of success to the program, leading the Flying Dutch to five NCAA Division III tournament appearances.  She was named the Region softball coach of the year in 1991, 1992 and 1995, and the Hope staff was honored by the MIAA in 2006. She closed her career ranked the fifth-winningest NCAA Division III coach all-time.

In addition to softball, Wolters coached volleyball, field hockey and women's tennis during her time at Hope.  A member of the faculty and coach at CalvinCollege - where she was named national Division III coach of the year in volleyball--before coming to Hope, she was among the most successful coaches in the history of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association with 20 conference championships in softball, volleyball and women's basketball.

She also introduced the sport of korfball to Hope and western Michigan through a class she taught. In the fall of 2005 Hope entertained a Korfball team from Europe and the next summer a team comprised of Hope students and recent alumni traveled to Europe for a series of games. Wolters served on the governing board of USA Korfball and in 2007 was an assistant coach on the USA team that competed in the World Championships in The Czech Republic.

In 2008, Hope honored Wolters and her husband, Tom, who is also a 1973 Hope graduate, by naming the new softball stadium in their honor.