In his first three seasons as coach of the Hope men's basketball program, Matt Neil has continued its tradition of excellence. Under his tutelage the Flying Dutchmen have been conference champions two of the three seasons and posted an overall 68-18 record. The 2012-13 team posted an 18-9 record and were runnersup in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA).
The 2011-12 team was ranked first in the nation for most of the season. The Flying Dutchmen won 23 consecutive games enroute to a 27-2 record highlighted by a conference championship and appearance in the NCAA Division III tournament. The 2011-12 season accomplishments were recognized when Neil was presented the Glenn
Robinson Division III National Coach of the Year award by the website collegeinsider.com. He was also named the NCAA Division III Great Lakes District
Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches and d3hoops.com.
A standout Hope player in the early 1980s and a member of the Hope coaching staff since 1985, Neil succeeded legend Glenn Van Wieren who retired after the 2009-10
season after coaching the Flying Dutchmen for 33 years. He became just the fourth Hope men's basketball head coach over the past 62 seasons and the tenth in school history dating back more than a century.
Neil's path to head coach paralleled that of Van Wieren who excelled as a
Hope player, served on the coaching staff after graduation and was
named to the top spot upon the retirement of his mentor.
Neil served as the program's junior varsity coach for nine years (1985-1994) and was a varsity assistant coach with responsibilities for post players from 1995-2010.
Neil's involvement in Hope basketball extends beyond coaching. He
founded Hope's popular student cheering section, The Dew Crew, in 1996 and continues to grow that popular student activity. He is in demand as a clinician and speaker at basketball coaching clinics and leadership conferencesd throughout the Midwest and helps coordinate both the team and youth basketball camps during the summer.
A 1982 graduate of Hope College, Neil was an all-conference (MIAA) forward as both a junior and senior and was named the league's most valuable player his senior season.
He received his M.B.A. from Grand Valley State University in
1992. Neil was employed in the Holland Public Schools system from
1982-2010 last serving as a middle school mathematics teacher. He has
the academic rank of Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at Hope . Along with teaching, Coach Neil assists with game management for other sporting events in the off-season.
Coach Neil and his wife Kim have four children. Kendra, a 2009 Hope graduate, is married to Franklin Delgado. She is a kindergarten teacher, and Franklin an art teacher in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. The Neil's oldest son Logan, is a 2012 graduate of Hope. He served as an assistant coach under his father in 2012-13. Grant, a junior at Hope, was captain of the 2012 soccer team and a member of the
basketball team. The Neil's youngest daughter, Ellary, is a senior at West Ottawa High School and is captain of the volleyball team.
See Photo Gallery of Coach Neil's Career
Milestone Games Under Coach Neil
First Game Coached - at Davenport 81, Hope 67, 11/23/10
First Win as Coach - Hope 92, at Aquinas 69, 11/27/10
First Home Victory - Hope 104, Purdue-North Central 78, 12/11/10
First Win in MIAA - Hope 91, at Trine 86, 1/8/11
First Win vs. Calvin - Hope 76, at Calvin 70, 1/29/11
Clinched First MIAA Title - at Hope 65, Olivet 60, 2/9/11
First Game in NCAA Championships - Hope 73, Hanover, Ind. 70, 3/4/11
Clinched Second MIAA Title - Hope 83, at Calvin 70, 2/11/12
Coach Neil Year-by-Year
||Lost 2nd Round
||Lost 2nd Round
Hope College Men's Basketball Coaches
(thru 2012-13 season)
|Milton "Bud" Hinga
|Glenn Van Wieren
(Hope College started playing basketball in 1901-02, but
there was no coach in several of the early years. Years in which there
was no coach are 1901-02, 1903-04, 1904-05, 1906-07, 1908-09, 1909-10,
1912-13 and 1914-15. During some of these years the team's affairs, such
as scheduling, were handled by a student manager.)