Calvin College

Honderd steps down as athletic director/men's track coach

by Jeff Febus

After 21 years as men's track and field coach and nine years as men's athletic director at Calvin, Dr. Ralph Honderd is stepping down from both positions. Honderd will take over as women's golf coach next fall and continue to teach a full load of classes as professor of physical education. Calvin College professor and men's soccer coach Dr. Marv Zuidema will replace Honderd as men's athletic director. A replacement for the men's track and field position will be announced later this summer.

A native of Esteline, South Dakota, Honderd has been teaching and coaching at Calvin since 1966. Honderd, 58, took over as coach of the men's track and field team in 1977 and as men's athletic director in the fall of 1988. He succeeded Dave Tuuk in both positions. Only Tuuk and Barney Steen served longer terms as men's athletic director at Calvin. Honderd has also coached wrestling, men's soccer, men's basketball and women's track and field during his career at Calvin. A 1962 graduate of Calvin, Honderd went on to earn his master's and doctorate degrees from Michigan State.

During his tenure as men's athletic director, Calvin captured the MIAA All-Sports Trophy five times and won a national championship in men's basketball, while the men's cross country team earned seven top-10 national finishes. During his 21 years as men's track and field coach, the Knights earned five top-10 national finishes including fourth place finishes in 1989 and 1991. Honderd also led the track and field team to 12 MIAA titles, more than any other coach in league history.

"I've enjoyed my years as men's athletic director and men's track and field coach but it's time for a new challenge," said Honderd. "My interests have changed over the years and I have some new projects I plan to pursue."

One of his projects is the Calvin's student-mentoring program, a project Honderd helped initiate with Calvin chaplain Dale Cooper two years ago. The mentoring program matches interested students with Calvin employees and alumni, men to men and women to women, and the pairs meet to talk, pray, study the Bible - and form bonds in the process. "The mentoring program has really blossomed since it began two years ago," said Honderd. "It is one of the most fulfilling things I have ever been involved in."

Honderd is also looking forward to working with the women's golf team. As a graduate student at Michigan State, Honderd wrote his master's thesis on the golf swing. "The game of golf has always been a favorite of mine and I am anxious to become more involved in it," said Honderd.

For Zuidema, his new post as men's athletic director begins another chapter in a lengthy Calvin career that has seen him serve in a variety of positions.

Zuidema, 61, has been the men's soccer coach over the past 35 years. He is the dean of Michigan soccer coaches, having compiled a 337-162-46 record as coach of the Knights for a winning percentage of .661. In 1993, he became the first coach in the state of Michigan--at any collegiate level--to register 300 wins. Dr "Z" will continue as men's soccer coach.

Zuidema joined the Calvin staff in 1961 after graduating from Calvin in 1957. He earned his master's degree from Michigan State University and completed his doctorate at Indiana University in 1971. He chaired the Physical Education department from 1974-1982 and recently completed a second stint as chair from 1988-1994. Zuidema also coached seven years of tennis and was baseball coach for 10 years.