Tom Renner of the Hope College staff will receive a "Hall of Honor" award from the Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan (BCAM) on Saturday, Oct. 2, for his outstanding and long-time service on behalf of the game of basketball.
Renner, who is associate vice president for public and community relations at Hope, has coordinated the sports information programs at Hope and for the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) since 1967.
Nominees for the recognition must have contributed to the game of basketball at the highest level for a minimum of 20 years. Renner, who is being inducted as a member of the "Media" category, and this year's other honorees will be recognized during a "Hall of Fame" banquet being held in conjunction with the BCAM Basketball Clinic in Lansing.
"There are few media people you run into over the years that communicate so well. Tom Renner is so very professional in his commitment to the sport of basketball," said Glenn Van Wieren, Hope's long-time head men's basketball coach, who nominated Renner for the award. "His contribution to basketball on the state and national level is so significant because of his honesty, integrity, work ethic and quality reporting. The hours he puts in for athletics and basketball is incomparable. The beneficiaries of his hard work are the student-athletes, at every level, and the fans who get to read what he writes."
Van Wieren's sentiments were shared by David Neilson, who is commissioner of the MIAA.
"Tom Renner is well deserving of this recognition and acclaim," Neilson said. "Tom quietly gives of himself to enrich the basketball competition in the MIAA and throughout the state of Michigan. He is selfless in his efforts, and consistently does the 'little things' which make the competitive experience more enjoyable for the student-athletes, coaches and spectators. A fitting selection."
In his capacity as sports information director and league publicist, Renner's on-going responsibilities include producing publications and news releases concerning Hope and MIAA athletics as well as related media relations for both the college and the league. Since the advent of the World Wide Web, his role has also included developing and maintaining the daily sports Web sites for the college and the league.
He has hosted a live early-morning program featuring Hope sports on Holland radio station WHTC since 1984. For the past several years, he has coordinated a weekly "Hoops Luncheon" for basketball fans, coaches and players which includes highlights of previous games, team statistics and upcoming game information.He has helped extend awareness of Hope and MIAA sport nationwide. His promotion of awareness of the Hope-Calvin basketball rivalry has led to coverage in both "Sports Illustrated" and "Michigan History." He has helped coordinate regional live television coverage of the Hope-Calvin men's games for decades.
In 1990, the NCAA recognized him for outstanding contributions to the success of that year's Division III Women's Basketball Championship. Hope hosted the Final Four, and won the championship that year.
Over the years, several of Renner's sports publications and programs have received awards from the College Sports Information Directors Association of America (CoSIDA). In 2000, he was honored by CoSIDA for a quarter century of service as a college sports information director.
He has co-authored or served in an editorial consultation role for the publication of three sports-related books: "Celebrating a Century of the Student Athlete," the centennial-year publication of the MIAA (1988); "...But How You Played the Game!," a history of intercollegiate athletics from 1862 to 1955 authored by former coach and kinesiology faculty member Gordon M. Brewer (1992); "Journey of Hope: Names and Games Remembered," a history of intercollegiate athletics at Hope from 1955 to 1970, also authored by Brewer (2002); and "100 Years of Hope Basketball," written by 1952 Hope graduate and retired "Holland Sentinel" editor Randy Vande Water, and forthcoming in December.
In the summer of 1996, he was a volunteer with the Centennial Olympic games held in Atlanta, Ga. He served at the press center that served the media covering the men's basketball and women's gymnastics competitions, held in the Georgia Dome.
Renner lives in South Haven, where he was assistant fire chief for many years and also served on the city council, in addition to other involvement in the community. In Holland, he has been a member of the Tulip Time Board of Directors since 2002, serving as a member of the executive committee beginning this year.
He and his wife, Carole, have four grown children, all of whom attended Hope; and five grandchildren.
The BCAM, incorporated in 1976, exists to represent and serve basketball coaches for the betterment of the game, uniting junior high, senior high, and college men and women coaches. Activities include clinics, academic awards, scholarship programs, newsletters, and awards for players and coaches. During the annual banquet, the BCAM honors selected varsity coaches with "Hall of Fame" recognition. "Hall of Honor" awards are presented to others who have been supportive of basketball in one of four categories: media, friends of basketball, officials and assistant coaches.