Dr. Chad Carlson

Professor of Kinesiology/Director of General Education
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Chad Carlson ’03 started at Hope in fall 2014. He is and an assistant professor of kinesiology and the director of general education. Prior to coming to Hope, he was an assistant professor, assistant chair and graduate program coordinator of the Department of Kinesiology and Sports Studies at Eastern Illinois University

He has recently published the book, Making March Madness: The Early Years of the NCAA, NIT, and College Basketball Championship Tournaments, 1922–1951, (University of Arkansas Press, 2017).

Areas of Expertise

Chad’s research is focused broadly on the socio-cultural aspects of sport. His areas of specialization and interest include the philosophy of sport, the history of sports and their role in cultural trends and the connection between sports and Christianity.


  • Ph.D., kinesiology and the history/philosophy of sport program, Penn State University, 2010
  • M.A., health, physical education and recreation, and pedagogy program, Western Michigan University, 2005
  • B.A., secondary education with social studies and physical education, Hope College, 2003

Honors, Grants, and Awards

  • Elections Officer for the International Association for the Philosophy of Sport (IAPS)
  • Recipient of a Mellon Foundation Grand Challenges Initiative Grant on campus (topic: Sport and Value)
  • Co-host of 2019 Global Congress on Sport and Christianity (October 23–27, 2019, Calvin College)
  • Information Technology Committee Chair, North American Society for Sport History (NASSH)
  • Presented at IAPS, NASSH and NCAA’s Scholarly Colloquium


  • “Game Spirituality: How Games Tell Us More than We Might Think,” Sport, Ethics and Philosophy special issue on sport and spirituality, fall 2017
  • “‘If you can’t beat ’em, suspend ’em’: UK basketball, football, and NCAA legislation, 1946–54,” Kentucky Historical Register special issue on sports, fall 2017
  • “The Greatest High School Basketball Team Ever: The Dunbar Poets, 1981–82 and 1982–83,” Baltimore Sports: Stories from Charm City, Daniel Nathan ed. 2016, University of Arkansas Press, pp. 227–240
  • “A Three-Pointer: Revisiting Three Crucial Issues in the ‘Tricky Triad’ of Play, Games, and Sport,” Defining Sport, Shawn Klein, ed. 2017, Lexington Press, pp. 3–21
  • “The Greatest High School Basketball Game Ever: The Showdown of Wootten’s DeMatha vs. Alcindor’s Power in 1965,” DC Sports: A Century in Transition, 2015
  • “To Play or to Parent: An Analysis of the Adult-Child Interaction in Make-Believe Games,” The Philosophy of Play, 2013
  • “Exploring the Depths of Play: Recalibrating Metaphysical Descriptions and Reconceptualizing Sources of Value,” Sport, Ethics and Philosophy, Fall 2013
  • “The Reality of Fantasy Sports: A Metaphysical and Ethical Analysis,” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport, October 2013
  • “A Tale of Two Tournaments: The Red Cross Games and the Early NCAA-NIT Relationship,” Journal of Intercollegiate Sport, December 2012

Outside the College

Chad, his wife, Kathi ’03, and their kids, Brielle and Bryce, love spending time on Hope’s campus. Their family bonding time often includes afternoons and evenings at Hope sporting events, the Dow Center pool or dining at Phelps cafeteria.

Chad loves Penn State football. He also loves playing virtually any sport. In particular, he enjoys recreational basketball, soccer, hockey, racquetball, stand-up paddleboarding and platform tennis. 

Profile photo of Dr. Chad Carlson
Dr. Chad Carlson

Phone Number616.395.7057

DeVos Fieldhouse 222 Fairbanks Avenue Holland, MI 49423
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