A Photo Tribute to Coach Karla Wolters
Karla Wolters coached collegiate athletics
for 36 years, including 23 years at the helm of the Flying Dutch
softball team. She retired at the end of the 2010 season.
During her career she
coached 1,792 athletic
contest. Her records by sport were: softball (684-398),
volleyball (375-194), field hockey (40-26-7), basketball (24-21)
and tennis (14-9).
She has coached teams with winning records in a season 46 times
compared to nine losing campaigns and three .500 marks.
Wolters brought a new level of success to the Hope softball
program. She led the Flying Dutch to
five NCAA Division III tournament appearances (1991, 1992,
1995, 1996 and 2006). The 1991 Flying Dutch finished third
in the nation and
the 1995 team tied for fifth. Wolters was named the Region
softball coach of the year in 1991, 1992 and 1995. The Hope
staff was honored by the MIAA in 2006. Her career
collegiate coaching record over 32 seasons was 684-398.
Her 23-year softball record at Hope was 515-320.
She entered the 2010 season ranked
the fifth winningest Division III coaches all-time.
She is part of an elite group that includes Donna Newberry
of Muskingum (858 victories),
George Wares of Central, Iowa (805) and June Walker of
Trenton State (721), and Bob Timmons of Coe, 717.
A coaching milestone was reached when the Flying Dutch posted a
pair of victories in the 2008 MIAA conference tournament. A
7-1 victory over Saint Mary's was the 1,100th collegiate coaching
victory for Karla
Wolters who over her career guided student-athletes in five
A 4-0 win over Alma a day later put Wolters at an amazing 1,101-606
over 56 coaching seasons in softball, volleyball, basketball,
field hockey and tennis.
The Flying Dutch posted their 500th victory under coach
Wolters in dramatic and celebrative style on March 24,
2010. The milestone was achieved in a 5-4 victory over Grinnell,
Iowa at the National
Training Center in Clermont, Fla. Tied 4-4 in the bottom of the
Stephanie Faber hit a single and advanced to second on a sacrifice
hit by Abby Phillips. Suzie Stevenson followed with a single
and coach Wolters from her familiar third base coaching position
waved the baserunner
home where she was safe on a close play. The Flying Dutch gave
Wolters her first-ever post-game Gatorade
shower and the former softball Olympian Dot Richardson, who is
director of the National Training Center where the game was played,
presented her with the game ball.
Wolters taught and coached for 13 years
at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She led
the Calvin softball team to seven conference championships
from 1979-87 and took Calvin to the NCAA Division III
playoffs on four occasions (1983-84-85-87).
is a 1973 Hope College graduate. She was a standout
student-athlete during her undergraduate years. In
her four years at Hope, she played 13 varsity sports
seasons, lettering in tennis, field hockey, basketball
She received the Master of Arts degree
from Michigan State University in 1978. She has the
academic rank of associate professor of kinesiology
In 1986 she was voted the NCAA Division
III coach-of-the-year by the Intercollegiate Volleyball
Coaches Association. She is among the most successful
coaches in the history of the Michigan Intercollegiate
Athletic Association with 20 conference championships
in softball, volleyball and women's basketball.
Wolters and her husband Tom, also a
Hope College graduate, reside in Zeeland, Mich. Hope College in 2008 honored the Wolters by naming the college's
new softball stadium in their honor.