Historic Tradition

Hope has a rich tradition in athletics for both women and men. Tradition is an important ingredient in the intercollegiate program of Hope College.

Deep Roots

Some of Hope's 20 sports for men and women trace their beginnings more than 100 years. The first recorded Hope baseball game occurred on June 6, 1872. Women's basketball, known then as the Basquette Club, traces its roots back to 1900. Football celebrated its 100th season in 2009. A 33-mile cross country relay between Holland and Grand Rapids occurred in 1909. Lacrosse, a popular club sport for men and women for many years, were added to the intercollegiate program in 2012-13.


Hope has been a member of the nation's oldest collegiate conference, the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association, since 1926 and belonged to NCAA Division III for seven decades.

What's in a name?

Hope College was founded by settlers from the Netherlands in 1866. The college's athletic teams have been known as the Dutchmen since the beginning of the intercollegiate program in the early 1900's. The nickname Flying Dutchmen was coined by a sports writer for the student newspaper in 1958 following a big victory in basketball. In keeping with the times, the women's teams since the 1970's have been known as the Flying Dutch. The traveling trophy in the longstanding Hope/Kalamazoo football rivalry is a pair of hand-carved Dutch wooden shoes.


Hope versus Calvin! -- Two like-minded institutions who uphold the same philosophy about education, values and collegiate athletics. It is a rivalry whose primary focus for many fans is on basketball, but one that permeates through each and every athletic encounter between the colleges. National media, including ESPN, recognize Hope/Calvin as the top small college rivalry in America.


An opportunity to compete in NCAA Championships is the reward for accomplishing during the regular season. This happens frequently at Hope with good results. The women's basketball team has won two national basketball championships (1990 and 2006), more than any other Michigan college or university at any level. The men's basketball team has competed in the NCAA Championships 23 times. The swimming and diving program has crowned 25 national champions.


Hope College is not a single-sport institution as evidenced by its success in winning the Commissioner's Cup of the Michigan Intercolelgiate Athletic Association. The Cup is presented to the MIAA-member school with the best cumulative performances across the 20 league-sponsored sports. Hope has claimed the Cup 12 consecutive years (through 2011-12).

School Spirit

Hope College has one, if not the best, student body cheering sections in NCAA Division III. The orange-bedecked students attend athletic events in large numbers. The college also has strong support from fans in the Holland community. Year-after-year Hope is a national attendance leader in several sports.