Calvin College Names Bret Otte Men’s/Women’s Head Track & Field Coach
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
GRAND RAPIDS—Calvin College has named Bret Otte as its head men’s and women’s track and field coach. Otte has spent the last 11 years serving as head men’s and women’s cross country coach and head men’s and women’s track and field coach at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania. Otte replaces Dr. Jong-il Kim who has decided to step down as Calvin’s head men’s and women’s track and field coach to devote more time to his teaching as an associate professor in Calvin’s Health, Physical Education, Recreation Dance and Sport department and coaching of specific events as a coach with Calvin’s track and field program. Kim will remain as an assistant coach with both Calvin teams. Kim will also continue to serve as an assistant coach with the Calvin women’s soccer team and as an associate professor in Calvin’s HPERD’s department.
Kim has served as head coach of the Calvin men’s track and field team since the fall of 1997 and as head coach of the Calvin women’s track and field team since the fall of 2002. During his tenure as head coach, Kim led the Calvin men’s track and field team to 12 MIAA championships and the Calvin women’s track and field team to eight league crowns. With 20 league titles under his watch, Kim is ranked 11th among all MIAA coaches for most championships won. During his tenure at Calvin, Kim has been named Division III National Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year four times receiving the men’s award in 2003 and the women’s award in 2002, 2003 and 2005.
“I want to thank Dr. Kim for his many years of service as Calvin men’s and women’s track and field coach,” said Calvin director of women’s athletics Dr. Nancy Meyer. “He has done a phenomenal job directing our track and field program and we are thankful that he will continue to serve our program as an assistant coach.”
Director of Calvin men’s athletics Dr. Jim Timmer Jr. echoed Meyer’s comments. “We are all thankful to Dr. Kim for his years of service and I am pleased that he will remain with the track and field program. Our track and field programs have a rich tradition of athletic and academic accomplishment as well as spiritual leadership. Dr. Kim has been a big part of that tradition and leadership and I again want to thank him for all of his efforts.”
A 1990 Calvin College graduate, Otte is no stranger to the Calvin program as he was a four-year letterwinner on the Calvin men’s track and field team from 1986-to-1989, competing as a sprinter on Calvin teams that won MIAA titles in 1987, 1988 and 1989. He later served as an assistant coach with the Calvin men’s and women’s track and field teams in 1995 and 1996 while earning his Master’s Degree in physical education from Central Michigan University. Otte worked closely with Calvin’s sprinters and hurdlers and helped Holly Breuker win a national title in the 400 meter hurdles at the 1996 NCAA III Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Otte is also no stranger to West Michigan as he hails from Wyoming and is a graduate of Grandville Calvin Christian High School where he was a varsity letterwinner in football and in track and field.
Otte’s coaching expertise has been honed from learning from coaches from around the world. After graduating from Calvin in 1990, Otte and his wife Lorraine moved to Ontario where he taught and coached at Beacon Christian High School. While there, he earned a Level III Coaching License in track and field from the Canadian National Institute of Sport. While living near Toronto, Otte was able to learn from several international coaches who had centered themselves in Canada. “After the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal, there were many international coaches that chose to remain in Canada and live in Toronto,” said Otte. “I took advantage of the opportunity to learn as much as I could from them while I was there. That (Toronto) experience helped spur me on to become a collegiate track and field coach.”
After receiving his Master’s Degree from Central Michigan in 1996, Otte accepted an assistant coaching position with the Central Michigan women’s track and field program. He later served as an assistant track and field coach at Illinois State before accepting the head cross country and track and field positions at Geneva College in 1998.
At Geneva, Otte took over cross country and track and field programs that were thin in roster size and built them up to highly competitive levels. His women’s cross country teams were twice ranked in the NAIA top 25 and he sent numerous distance runners to the NAIA Cross Country Championships. Otte also sent numerous Geneva track and field athletes on to the NAIA Championships. In 2003, he led the Geneva women’s track and field team to its first American Mideast Conference title. He then led Geneva in its transition to becoming an NCAA III institution and as a member of the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (PAC).
“We are very pleased that Bret Otte has accepted the head men’s and women’s track and field coaching position,” said Meyer. “He has extensive experience as both a men’s and women’s track and field coach and I am confident that he we will do a fantastic job.”
According to Timmer, Otte has a passion for his alma mater that is readily apparent. “Bret is a highly skilled coach with years of experience,” said Timmer. “I think the thing that stands out the most about him however is his love for Calvin College. He understands the mission of our institution wholeheartedly. When you have an individual like that working for you, it is a blessing. We are looking forward to working with Bret for years to come.”
A return to his alma mater has Otte brimming with excitement.
“I am extremely excited to come back to Calvin College,” said Otte. “In some ways it is a bittersweet transition for me and my family as Geneva College has a very special place in our hearts and we are sad to leave friends and colleagues. At the same time, Calvin College also has a special place in our hearts and in many ways, I can already see where God has led me back to my alma mater. I am eagerly looking forward to the opportunities that the Lord has presented to me here at Calvin.”
In addition to serving as Calvin’s head men’s and women’s track and field coach, Otte will also serve as a faculty member in the Calvin Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance and Sport department.
“I am just as excited about becoming a faculty member as I am as a coach,” said Otte. “I love to learn and Calvin College is a wonderful place to learn. I look forward to learning from my students. I look forward to learning from events like the (Calvin) January Series and I look forward to learning from my colleagues.”
Otte and his wife Lorraine have four children – Andre, 15, Jacob, 12, Brenna, 10, and Jordan, 8.