Tribute to Glenn Bouma

Clarissa Kraayenbrink–Staff Writer

Glenn Bouma officially retired effective May 1. Even though he will no longer be employed by Dordt College in a week, his presence and impact will be felt for years to come.

Bouma graduated from Northwestern College. He then coached and taught at Unity Christian for several years before coming to Dordt in 1997. His service to this school will leave an impact on the many coaches and student-athletes who have come through the Defender athletic program in the past 21 years.

Here’s what some athletic department employees have to say about Bouma’s legacy (titles reflect positions held in the 2017-2018 school year):

Mike Byker, Sports Information Director: Glenn’s legacy will not be in the Rec Center he helped maintain through his diligent supervision as its director or in the games he won as women’s basketball [coach]. It won’t be in the growth the athletic department has experienced while he was athletic director. It will be in how he treated others and exhibited a humble servant’s heart in a leadership role

Ross Douma, Head Men’s Basketball Coach/Athletic Director successor: Glenn is a grace-filled person who sees the very best in others. This comes out in his words, deeds and actions. What I appreciate most about Glenn is his stable and consistent demeanor. Glenn has been a mainstay in the athletic department for a long period of time and his presence will be missed.

Craig Heynen, Head Men’s and Women’s Track Coach: Glenn was my high school track and field coach, and he was very influential in my decision to choose the career path that I have. I always appreciated the way he approached coaching from a relational perspective. He cared about the athletes he coached and developed relationships with them. That was a significant influence on why I wanted to coach and how I have approached coaching.

Joel Penner, Head Football Coach: Glenn Bouma gave me a chance at being a head coach and I’ll always be grateful for that. Glenn has a lot of wisdom and there are dozens of times when I’ve been able to just go to his office and get his opinion and direction. He has a tremendous heart for the coaches in the athletic department and for Dordt College as a whole.

Jeff Schouten, Head Baseball Coach: Glenn Bouma has had a positive impact on my growth as an individual and also as a coach. He has always been a tremendous role model of what servant leadership is all about.

 Craig Stiemsma, Head Men’s Soccer Coach: Glenn was always very supportive and able to offer wise council. He always has the student-athletes’ best interest in mind. His many years of experience allowed him to lend wisdom in many different situations. Glenn truly has a servant leader’s heart and was able to effectively model a calm and supportive guiding hand for all of the coaches at Dordt. Glenn was also extremely effective managing the many, many athletic events here on campus- spending many late hours here on campus each week.

Nate Wolf, Head Cross Country Coach: What I appreciate about Glenn is his humble willingness to serve. As an athletic director, no job was beneath him. Whether he helped set up for events, vacuumed or picked up trash following an event, Glenn’s attitude has been to serve. I remember him running the sweeper following the pentathlon long jump last year at the GPAC Indoor Championship. I remember telling him that I could do that for him. His response was that his job was to make it so I could coach my athletes and on this day that meant sweeping up sand so we could run the 800m of the pentathlon. Glenn does so many things behind the scenes, many things that go unnoticed and unrecognized. We will miss him doing those things in the future. I will miss his friendship and perspective. His retirement will be felt by our department and Dordt College for several seasons to come.

Chad Hanson, Head Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Coach: Mr. Bouma has provided a firm and guiding perspective for me when I entered my first collegiate head coaching position at Dordt in 2011. Each season, I relied heavily on his wisdom, guidance and Godliness to help me navigate the many challenges that surfaced for me as a head coach. He has been a great listener and really cares about the well-being of each student-athlete. I am going to miss his presence when he retires.

Bouma said that Dordt will leave just as much of an impact on him as any he could leave here.

“Dordt’s a special place that really goes out of its way to stay true to their mission,” he said. “[Dordt] creates opportunities to allow young people to get a great education, but also to be challenged and developed spiritually. Kids notice that the environment that is being promoted and created on campus is real. That’s neat to watch.”

He wants to thank his predecessor, Rick Vander Berg, who hired Bouma to oversee the new Rec Center in the 90’s. Vander Berg has always been a positive influence in Bouma’s life, mentoring him as Bouma ended up with Vander Berg’s job of athletic director.

Bouma has appreciated everyone he’s worked with over the years who may have taken jobs at different schools, those who have retired and his current staff. But most of all, he’d like to thank his wife, Barb, who has supported him as he pursued a career in coaching and athletic administration. The two have been married for 45 years.

Thank you, Glenn Bouma, for your dedication to Dordt College athletics in your 21 years here and for all the people you have impacted along the way.

We wish you the best in retirement!

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