NCAA Division III Identity Initiative
Hope College Celebrates Its Student-Athletes
as Part of NCAA Division III Initiative
College has been a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association
(NCAA) since 1956 and Division III since its founding in 1973. The NCAA
in 2010 launched an initiative in Division III that highlights its student-athletes
as they excel on the athletic field, pursue their chosen field of study
in the classroom, and participate in the life of their college and surrounding
community. The MIAA and its member
institutions are recognizing students, coaches and teams who exemplify that model.
Hope College students,
teams and coaches are featured based on each of the six
initiatives - Proportion, Comprehensive
Learning, Passion, Responsibility, Sportsmanship
Read Postings from 2010-11 School Year
NCAA President Mark Emmert Shares the Division III Experience
Life Skills and Friendships were in abundance as Hope student-athlete volunteered their time at Special Days Camp, a two-week summer program that provides a camp experience for children who currently have or have had cancer
or leukemia and their siblings. continue
Although athletic participation at the collegiate level is time
demanding, athletes at Hope are students first and athletes second. They have their priorities in line.
Hope senior Chelsea Wiese of Rochester, Mich. is an exemplary example
of the Division III student/athlete. Chelsea recently received the
NCAA Elite 89 award for NCAA Division III Womn's Swimming and Diving.
The award recognizes academic excellence with athletic accomplishment.
It is presented to the athlete with the highest GPA who is competing
at the national championship for a particular sport. An accounting
major, Chelsea has a 4.0 cumulative GPA. She was the MIAA champion in
the 200 and 400 yard individual medley.
"Chelsea's work ethic, both academically and athletically is
astounding," says her coach John Patnott. "She is very intelligent,
but also works very hard for her accomplishments. When she writes a
paper she has it completed early and will proof her work three or four
times before turning it in. She has the same attitude with her
swimming; she does not except less than her best effort in practice
and competition. In addition to her individual accomplishments
Chelsea is very much a team player, always concerned about the best
interest of her teammates"
"The environment at Hope is one that both encourages and enables
student-athletes to thrive," says Chelsea. "The coaches,
administration, and professors strongly uphold the Division III
philosophy of being a student-athlete, instilling in us that we are
students first and foremost, yet still providing the support necessary
to achieve our athletic endeavors. The skills developed through
participating in athletics at Hope complement the classroom education.
Swimming is a demanding sport that requires dedication, perseverance,
and hard work. I have found that these same traits are necessary to
succeed in the classroom and will be applicable to any career. I have
been really fortunate to swim at Hope with such talented individuals
who strive for excellence in both the pool and classroom and who
challenge me every day to be and do better."
The entire Hope swimming and diving program team reflects Chelsea's
dedication toward academic achievement. The cumulative GPA of the
women's team was the second highest in Division III swimming and
diving in the Spring and Fall of 2011 with overall GPA’s of 3.65 and
3.62 respectively. The men’s swimming and diving team had a
cumulative GPA of 3.42 in the Fall of 2011 (11th in the nation).
"These academic accomplishments are remarkable considering that the
team’s practice 3½ hours per day Monday through Friday and usually
have competitions on Saturdays." says Patnott. "However a swimmer or
diver may miss a workout for academic reasons with out question.
Although athletics is time demanding Hope athletes are students first
and athletes second. They have their priorities in line.
Sportsmanship decisions confront athletes in a variety of playing
circumstances. Doing the 'right thing' can often be the challenge.
"I have seen this happen many times during my career," says longtime Hope
College men's golf coach Bob Ebels in relating a personal experience
at the NCAA Division III national championships.
"Our young golfer called a penalty on himself for hitting the
wrong make of golf ball ( a pro.V and not a pro.VX). This was done
without his playing competitor knowing that he hit the wrong ball. It
led to a DQ at the national tournament."
Senior Nick Campbell of Saline, Mich. was the Hope golfer faced with
the toughest decision of his career, but he didn't hesitate for one
moment: "Golf is certainly a unique sport in that the players are
expected to adhere to a certain code of etiquette that surrounds the
game," he says. "Growing up as a young player, I was taught the rules
and how to conduct myself on the course just as frequently as I was
taught the fundamentals of the swing. I learned of players that
enforced the rules upon themselves and were celebrated for their
honesty, because the golf community is proud of its reputation
as a game where maintaining one's honor is held equally as high as winning.
"The NCAA Tournament incident, in my mind, was just a reflection of
everyone who had influenced me growing up in and around competitive
golf. I don't think my parents or coaches were surprised when they
heard what had happened, because they were the ones who always
stressed the concept of playing with integrity. Integrity is worthless
if it only shows up when people are watching. I'll tell you what
though, that doesn't make it any easier when you have to sit the rest
of the day out and know that you might have hurt your team."
Nick Campbell's action at nationals left a lasting impression on his
teammate, senior Andy Thomson of Beaver Dam, Wisc. who has himself
been honored for sportsmanship. "I can’t think of any better
example of honesty and integrity in our game than in Nick's decision
to call a penalty on himself at the NCAA Championships," said Thomson,
who was voted by his peers to receive the MIAA's 2011 golf
Sportsmanship Award. "If Nick hadn’t called the penalty on himself,
no one would have ever known that he broke a rule...except Nick. For
calling the penalty on himself, he was disqualified from the first
round of play, but he successfully upheld the integrity of our game,
and that is true sportsmanship."
Coach Ebels believes that such decisions follow naturally from a
commitment to doing the "right things," a habit that coaches --
whatever the sport -- play a major role in developing.
"We coaches set the bar -- how we treat other coaches; how we talk and handle
ourselves; how we respect the rules of golf; how we treat and respect
golfers from other schools. Our student-athletes are watching and
they will model the values we've demonstrated when it’s their turn to
"Being a student-athlete at Hope College is more than just playing the
game; it is a privilege, and in order to use its full potential, it is
our responsibility to give back to the community," says Hope College
senior basketball captain Allie Cerone of Wheaton, Ill.
Special Olympics has been a part of the Hope College women's
basketball program for 14 years, gong before it became a nationwide
focus in NCAA Division III.
In recent weeks the Flying Dutch sponsored a basketball skills
workshop for over 100 Special Olympians. Later this season the team
will host a tournament for Special Olympians. Morehouse and men's
coaching colleague Matt Neil will for the second year take "The Polar
Plunge" into the ice-cold water of nearly Lake Macatawa in support of
of Special Olympics fundraiser.
"It's been a great opportunity to serve while providing teachable
moments about our responsibility to the community," said coach Brian
Morehouse. "After our workshop experience I pulled our team together
for an impromptu conversation on the responsibility to serve not just
in college, but beyond. I admitted to not always understanding this
in my post-college career until about age 26. It was at this age I
discovered the absolute joy in looking beyond my own busyness to find
ways to serve others.
"Our recent Special Olympics event was time well spent because it was
exhilarating and helped me better appreciate being part of a community
that reaches far beyond a single basketball team," Cerone said.
"Being a student-athlete at Hope teaches students how to accept
responsibility, whether it is in the classroom or on the court," added
junior teammate Liz Ellis. "Having this responsibility should be seen
as a privilege and with it comes the task of doing things outside of
ourselves and helping to serve others."
For athletes at every MIAA member college, participating in Division
III sport goes beyond just playing the game.
For example, this past fall there were abundant opportunities for Hope
College soccer players to interact with elementary-age students. A
custom at home Hope soccer games is the participation of youth soccer
players in the pre-game activities. The youth players accompany
players from both teams on to the field for the introductions and
playing of the National Anthem.
"In every game where we had the opportunity to walk out with a youth
team, it was extremely rewarding," said senior Danielle Petzak of
Zeeland, Mich. "Our team gets very excited about home games to begin
with, but to see even more smiles from the kids really made things
special. It's awesome to see how much they enjoy being able to walk
next to us, and it's even better to hear from some of them how much
they want to play at Hope when they grow up. I know I speak for both
the women's and men's teams in saying that we can't thank the
community enough for how much support we've been given!"
Involvement extended beyond game day. More than 50 players from the
Hope women's and men's programs participated in the fall festival
carnival sponsored by the Great Lakes elementary school in Holland.
The players helped coordinate games such as bucket toss, bowling,
hockey shoot-out and sucker pull. Their efforts helped the school
raise more than $3,200.
"It is great to be able to be part of a soccer program that has so
much support from the surrounding community," said senior David
Whitaker. "Helping out at the Great Lakes Fall Festival was a great
opportunity to give back and it was also a lot of fun."
"The fall festival was definitely an event the players in both of our
soccer programs enjoyed," said assistant men's coach Lee Schopp. "I
heard many positive comments from young children, parents and PTO
volunteers about how awesome the players were, and how well they
interacted and helped the younger students with each of the games."
Hope College senior Jacqueline (Jackie) Canonaco (#12 in photo) of Arlington
Ill. has been described by one of her professors as "a dream student
-- always prepared, always engaged, contributing above expectations".
Her volleyball coach considers her to be "the inspiration behind our
team". Co-captain of the volleyball team, she has never started a
varsity match. A psychology major with minors in neuroscience and creative writing,
she is an
accomplished poet and writer and her collaborative research in the
behavioral sciences has been accepted at top professional conferences.
After playing two years on Hope's jayvee volleyball team, Jackie
earned a spot on the varsity and has made an impact every day,
according to coach Becky Schmidt. "She is a tireless worker and a
servant leader. One of the most profound ways she influences the team
is through her words; she has a way of saying what everyone thinks and
feels but struggles to communicate."
For a team exercise, coach Schmidt asked each player to write a short
essay describing the impact that playing volleyball has had on them.
Jackie turned to poetry, a consistent outlet for her inspiration. The
poem has been accepted for publication in the journal of the American
Volleyball Coaches Association. (see below)
"Jackie consistently strives for excellence in her academic and
research pursuits," says faculty mentor Dr. Sonja Trent-Brown. She has
presented her research to conferences in Las Vegas and Montreal. "She
has high standards, a great ear, and a sense of verbal play and
intricacy that is unusual and fresh," English professor Heather
Sellers says of a student who can write in Italian or English.
Jacqueline (Jackie) Canonaco -- the epitome of the Division III Scholar-Athlete.
This I Believe...
Constantly amending who we are,
pulsing at three beats per measure,
echoing each other in celebration
until we begin to move as one.
In the back of the bus,
on a long ride home from victory,
as we drift through the dark of night
that stole the colors off the autumn trees.
The happy things, like how the joy within us can rise
as quickly as the flurry of orange in the stands.
And how to hold each other’s secrets
in hushed whispers and muffled laughter.
The hard things, like how to fail,
sweaty and exhausted on the wood floor.
How growth often comes through adversity, and that to get better, we must first combat our own weakness.
For each other, long after we have given up
fighting for ourselves. With a hope that is anchored so deeply within our soul, that we have no other drive
but to get better with every day.
Into roles left behind, into what our teammates need.
Into women with lofty goals and seasoned work ethics, no longer questioning what is possible,
knowing what it means to be successful.
Each other’s constant embrace.
Tightly knit at heart,
as we stand shoulder to shoulder, arms linked
offering praise and petition before the game.
An agape love that sacrifices the self
to empower another.
Pushing forward, but always ready
to catch the broken pieces if they fall.
In the struggle that tests our tenacity,
and in the women beside us. In the dedication
that it takes to earn our success, and in the call
that has brought us here together.
To do the little things that make a big difference,
to invest more than we take. To hold our heads high
even when they’re heavy. And to sacrifice our wants
for the good of the team.
Until we don’t know what else we can do.
Investing ourselves, our time, our lives
until there is nothing left. Because when each of us
is emptied, together we are fulfilled.
We will leave.
With grateful hearts and a home to return to,
confident that if we help even just one teammate,
challenge her, motivate her, push her ‘til she becomes more rooted in who she is, then we will leave our legacy.
Tennis is one of only a handful of sports that has sportsmanship written directly into the rules of the game. This list of ethical rules of behavior is called “The Code”. No other sport requires the competitor to give a point that he/she has won back to an opponent because the player recognized that there has been a mistake in judgment. That is the essence of true character and sportsmanship.
Hope College men's tennis coach Steve Gorno has had the good fortune to coach 11 MIAA Sportsmanship Award winners over the last 19 seasons. During that same time, he has coached dozens of other student-athletes that were equally deserving of winning this award.
"As a coach, I am tremendously proud and eternally grateful for each one of my players who has lived their lives so well to allow me to be able to say that," Gorno says.
"Our team believes in “The Code.” We believe that character and integrity are as much a part of the game as the competition itself. To help us live up to our own high expectations, we have certain guiding principles that govern how we behave, how we manage our emotions, and how we treat others -- not just while we are on the court competing, but whenever we are out in the public eye. The most important of these guiding principles is simple - Always treat others with respect. It is the foundation upon which every other guiding principle is built. We talk about these guiding principles frequently and we hold ourselves and each other accountable for not just following, but truly living out these principles in our every day lives. This includes the players holding the coach accountable to living up to the same standards of behavior. None of us are perfect. But we believe that if we work together, we can get a little closer to perfection.
"By documenting what we believe in and then holding each other accountable to live by those rules every day, we have woven character and integrity directly into the fabric of Hope College men’s tennis culture. This has been a long, arduous process similar to hand-knitting a full length quilt. We all know that one weak thread or one bad stitch can unravel all of our previous work so we are vigilant about protecting and honoring the contributions of all the players that have come before. And through targeted recruitment we make sure that every player that comes after is equally committed to finishing a great work of art that is singularly unique and something that we can all be proud of.
"I believe that the foundation of great sportsmanship is always great love; a love of others that transcends the desire for victory and compels you to always do what is right even in the face of defeat; a love for your team and your school that won’t allow you to tarnish their reputation by making even one poor ethical choice for as long as you represent them; and a love for the sport that compels you to honor “The Code” which, if followed, allows you to compete with intensity without compromising your integrity. This is how I coach. This is what I coach. And this is what defines me as a coach."