Outstanding Service Award 2007 • Coach David B. Tuuk

Much of the space in Dave Tuuk's memory is filled with the sights and sounds and smells and feelings of Calvin sports. He remembers hanging around Franklin Park as a boy to see the Knights play baseball and sneaking into the cramped gym on the Franklin campus to watch basketball practices. He remembers playing on the basketball team himself and then, as a faculty member, coaching the men's JV team and the women's team-and men's baseball and cross country and track and field, too. He remembers exceptional performances and athletes more than he can count, and also ordinary moments of team building and camaraderie. He remembers how much of it was fun.

Dave Tuuk responds to his award"I didn't want all this history of athletics at Calvin to be lost, and I knew if somebody didn't put it down in writing it would be lost," Tuuk said.

So in the mid-'80s, while he was still Calvin's athletic director, Tuuk began to write down what he remembered-and what others remembered. He began with athletes and coaches who preceded him, going back to the origins of organized sports at Calvin in 1915. He searched out the college's oldest living athletes and interviewed them. "It was a godsend that I started when I did," Tuuk said, "because shortly after I talked with them and collected their memories, most of them passed away."

For further information Tuuk combed old editions of Chimes, Prism, The Grand Rapids Press and the Grand Rapids Herald. And he dug through cluttered closets in the fieldhouse. "Before we joined the MIAA [Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association] in 1953 there weren't very good records kept of what the teams did," he explained. "Information about Calvin sports was just scattered here and there."

Once he retired from Calvin in 1988 after 36 years as a teacher, coach and athletic director, Tuuk had more time to gather, sort and organize all the personal memories, news accounts, scorebooks and photographs of the college's sports history. Much aided and encouraged by his friends and fellow faculty members Wally Bratt and Chris Overvoorde, he finished, in 1998, the manuscript of Maroon and Gold Will Bind Our Hearts: A History of Calvin Athletics, 1915-1953.

Maroon and Gold will Bind our HeartsOrganized into "eras" corresponding to the tenure of individual athletic directors, the book is full of facts and stories and photos almost unbelievable in the current climate of support for sports at Calvin. For example, the book tells the story of the first game in the Calvin-Hope basketball rivalry. In December 1917 a loose group of Calvin students, plus a few non-students, challenged the well-organized and formally coached team at Hope without the notification or approval of an administration at Calvin that viewed intercollegiate sports as a distraction, at best, from serious studies. A Chimes reporter wrote that the Hope players were "the biggest men I ever saw. They knew just where the baskets were. . The final score was 65-8. I don't understand yet where we got the 8."

The book follows Calvin sports from this renegade beginning through its development, by 1953, into a legitimate program of one women's and five men's competitive teams, as well as intramural teams-all conducted on a very small budget and in embarrassingly inadequate facilities.

Golden YearsMaroon and Gold ends in that pivotal year, when an athletic director resigned, a new president began reassessing the place of sport at Calvin and the college joined the MIAA . Tuuk continued his mission to preserve Calvin's sports history in Golden Years: Calvin's First Half-Century in the MIAA, 1953-2003, published in 2005. In this book he demonstrates how the program grew by detailing the history of each of the 20 sports in which Calvin has participated in the last half century, including wrestling, archery and field hockey, all of which have been discontinued. As in the first book, pictures abound.

Writing the book, Tuuk said he especially enjoyed reliving the progress women's athletics has made, from the number of sports opportunities offered to women to the caliber of athletes' performances. He's also pleased, he said, "that Calvin has kept the concept of the student-athlete, so that one is a student first," and he adds that coaches "aren't coaches first, but teachers first."

The sports program is more robust now than Tuuk ever imagined it would be when he became a teacher-coach at Calvin in 1952. He is the oldest of his counterparts still alive. But, he says, the story from 2003 on is for someone else to write.

Still, he avidly follows sports at Calvin. The boy who remembers following Calvin teams from one borrowed gym to another around town shakes his head in wonder when he reads about the plans for a new athletic complex on campus. What he wants to do now, he says, is to "live long enough to sit in the new arena and watch a game."