Book Examines Hope Sports History from 1955 to 1970
Posted October 7, 2002
HOLLAND -- Author Gordon Brewer not only
researched his latest history of sports at Hope College, but
Brewer is the author of "Journey of Hope: Names
and Games Remembered, A History of Intercollegiate Athletics
at Hope College--1955-1970." A 1948 graduate of the
college, he was a coach and member of the faculty at Hope
from 1956 until retiring in 1988.
In the book's foreward, Hope College President
James E. Bultman, a 1963 Hope graduate and himself a former
student-athlete, notes, "No one is better able to make the
Hope sports stories of the 1950s and '60s come alive than
Gordon Brewer, longtime Hope professor, coach, athletic
director and mentor. Gord's professional education as an
historian and his integral involvement with Hope sport
during this time lend a special credibility to this account
of Hope's athletic history."
The book provides not only detailed accounts of
individual contests season-by-season, but insights into the
personalities and events beyond the statistics. The blend
reflects Brewer's hope to celebrate the players involved.
"During the later '50s and through the '60s, a
parade of very special student-athletes graced the scene at
Hope College," he writes in the preface. "With sport in
proper perspective, they played for the right reasons."
"Because of this and their subsequent contribution
to society, I felt strongly that their experience in
formative years should be shared," he continued. "That is
my raison d'etre for some eight years of research and this
The book is as complete an account as possible of
both men's and women's athletics. In the pre-Title IX era
of the book, women's contests were less thoroughly
documented than today, particularly in the media accounts that
served as a primary source of information for the book.
The narrative also provides historical context.
Discussion of the fall of 1963, for example, includes
reflections on the assassination of President John F.
"Journey of Hope" continues Brewer's earlier
research into Hope sports history. His 1992 book "...But
How You Played the Game! A History of Intercollegiate
Athletics," covered 1862 through the spring of 1955.
Brewer first came to Hope as a freshman in the
fall of 1941. His 1948 graduation reflects the interruption
of his student experience by service with the U.S. Army Air
Corps during World War II.
After graduating from Hope, he taught and coached
at the high school level for eight years before returning in
1956. His tenure at the college included 32 seasons as
track coach, five years as chairman of the Department of
Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics (now
Kinesiology), and 20 years as director of athletics. He
also served as an assistant coach in football and coached
jayvee basketball, and was active as Hope's delegate to the
The college's track and field complex is named in
his honor. Other recognition from Hope includes a
"Meritorious Service Award" from the college's Alumni
Association in 1996, and the alumni H-Club's "Hope for
Humanity" Award in 2001.
In retirement, Brewer and his wife Lorraine live
Copies of "Journey of Hope" are available for $25
at the college's Hope-Geneva Bookstore. The bookstore is on
the ground level of the DeWitt Center, located on Columbia
Avenue at 12th Street.