Coach Dean Kreps

Hope begins its 103rd football season on Saturday, Sept. 1 hosting first-time opponent North Park University for the traditional Community Day game at Holland Municipal Stadium. Kickoff will be 1:30 p.m.

The game will be broadcast by 92.7 THEVAN.FM and stream on theinternet. For the first time, Hope will also be streaming LIVEstats from home games.

North Park, located on Chicago’s northside, has an undergraduate enrollment of 1,900. The university is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church. In 2011 North Park posted a 3-7 record. The Vikings are coached by Scott Pethtel who early in his career was an assistant at MIAA member Adrian. The Vikings were very much a run-oriented team in 2011, averaging 278 yards per game rushing as opposed to 40 yards per game through the air. The team rushed 87% of the time (583 rushes as opposed to 84 passes over 10 games).

The season opener will mark the 47th annual Hope/Holland Community Day. The game will be preceded by a picnic for the community, student body and faculty/staff on the front lawn of DeVos Fieldhouse. More than 1,500 people will be served. Community Day. The event debuted in 1966 as a Community Ox Roast, held in conjunction with the college’s centennial celebration.  Subsequent Community Days have provided an opportunity for Holland and Hope to celebrate.

Participating in the pre-game coin toss with the captains will be Jim Vander Meer who retired from the Hope coaching staff and faculty at the end of the 2011-12 school year. Jim was a member of the coaching staff for 27 seasons. He was part of 10 MIAA championships as a coach and player and on the staff in all five of Hope’s NCAA playoff appearances. A 1976 Hope graduate, Vander Meerwas a four-year football letterman at linebacker. In his senior year he was voted the recipient of the Allan C. Kinney Memorial Award in recognition of his maximum contribution to the football program.

Hope will also celebrate the beautifully renovated Holland Municipal Stadium, home of the Flying Dutchmen since 1979. Hope College and the City of Holland are in the final stages of transferring ownership of the stadium to the college. Already more than $1 million has been spent by the college installing the Pro Turf surface, upgrading the lights and making other improvements. A formal re-dedication of the stadium will be held on Saturday, Sept. 22.

Notes: Coach Dean Kreps begins his 18th season at the helm of the Flying Dutchmen...Hope’s roster this season consists of 131 players – 70 freshmen, 30 sophomores, 20 juniors and 11 seniors… This will be Hope’s 34th season at Holland Municipal Stadium…Hope has an 83-52-3 record at HMS… The Flying Dutchmen last won their season opener in 2004… Hope’s all-time record is 419-337-38… All Hope games can be heard on 92.7 FM (THE VAN). The broadcasts are also streamed on the internet… Hope will be providing LIVESTATS via the internet for the first time… Hope athletics is now on Facebook --

The Flying Dutchmen are on the road the next two weeks traveling to Millikin in Decatur, Ill. next Saturday and to Concordia-Chicago on September 15. All of Hope’s non-league opponents this season are located in Illinois and three of the four are members of the CCIW.