Welcome! I am an educator, coach, husband, dad, and often misunderstood introvert. I love sport, exploring and sharing how it intersects with Christian faith in our everyday lives.
As a kid I could not get enough of sports. Most of my free time was consumed with playing just about everything in driveways, vacant lots, backyards, and on organized teams. I played three sports in high school, two in college (Calvin University, Grand Rapids, MI), then made sport a career. After teaching and coaching at a middle school, I went back to further my studies at UNC-Chapel Hill (Masters of Arts in Teaching) and UNC-Greensboro (PhD in teacher education and physical education). I began my first collegiate faculty position at Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia. In 2004 I came back to Calvin College, where I’ve been a faculty member and administrator for kinesiology and intercollegiate athletics.
In graduate school I taught myself the game of golf (the one sport I did not grow up playing) and started sharing it with others. When the men’s golf coach job opened up at Calvin, I decided to give it a try. Since then, I have coached Calvin’s men’s team, fitting it around my other roles at Calvin. Thanks to many excellent and hard-working players through the years, the team has enjoyed competitive success. Calvin’s men’s team has moved from mediocre finishes to perennial contenders. We celebrated our first-ever MIAA title in 2010 and first trip to the NCAA Division III Championships 2011. Since then, we’ve added two more titles (2013, 2017) and more invitations to compete at the national level.
My 8-year stint in Virginia was pivotal in shaping me as an academic, and it’s where I began to more seriously explore ideas of sport and Christianity. I spent a lot of time talking with colleagues from other disciplines and other faith backgrounds, and it helped me sharpen my thinking about what sport is and isn’t, and how it fits in the life of a Christian. Along the way, I learned from some excellent coaches and professors that sport and faith should not be segmented, and I read excellent books and resources that challenged me to think in new ways of about sport and faith.
My wife Joni and I enjoy sport together (she played college tennis), and we work with our children to sort through the joys and pitfalls of the sport culture. Our three children are all almost out of the house now, but playing with them as little children, teaching them about sports, then walking alongside them as they played through and beyond high school taught me more than all the books, combined.
I continue to enjoy teaching, especially the capstone course for seniors in kinesiology that explores philosophy and theology of the human body, sport, health, and all forms of movement. And I have been able to teach not only in the classroom, but on numerous platforms in the community from kids’ camps to adult-education to an international conference centered on, you guessed it, sport and faith. I invite you to join me in the conversation.