Douma named 21/22 GPAC Athletic Director of the Year

Naomi Mellema – Staff Writer

The votes are in. The Hauff Mid-America Sports and Great Plains Athletic Conference’s league of athletic directors have chosen Ross Douma as Athletic Director of the Year.

Douma has served as Dordt University’s Athletic Director since 2017. Last year, he helped lead the Defenders to third-place in the GPAC all-sports trophy standings, Dordt’s highest finish ever. Douma also helped lead the Defenders to their highest finish in the Learfield IMG Director’s Cup standings, at 15th place. Last year, the Defender Women’s Basketball team finished the season as NAIA national runner-up, and both Men’s and Women’s Cross Country finished as GPAC champions. Douma also helped expand the Defender Gold Club, raising further funds for athletic programming at Dordt.

Before serving as athletic director, Douma coached Dordt’s Men’s Basketball team for nine years. While he said he misses the everyday interactions and relationship-building aspect of coaching, Douma believes the role of athletic director is where God wants him.

After graduating college and before coming to Dordt, Douma worked as a teacher and coach for 14 years. In those years, he also served as assistant principal at Chicago Christian, where he found his love for administration. In 2009 Douma came to Dordt as the men’s head basketball coach, and in 2013 transitioned to the assistant athletic director, becoming athletic director in 2017.

While much of his job is helping impact Defender student athletes, Douma said Dordt has had a profound impact on him as well.

“I enjoy getting the chance to work alongside motivated colleagues and student athletes who keep sports in perspective yet realize that it can be an aspect of their life that can be impactful and enriching if done well,” Douma said.

In his current role, Douma said he enjoys seeing the head coaches develop initiatives that positively affect student athletes in every aspect of their lives. This means something different for each coach and team: being involved in the community, nonprofits, churches, and providing free camps.

Douma said the athletic programs at Dordt look different from those at other schools and colleges. The Defender Way, Dordt’s commitment to helping student athletes in athletics, academics, and their spiritual lives, is one of the reasons that Defender athletics are set apart.

“Through the Defender Way and through the educational task and framework at Dordt, our student athletes play with a purpose and a conviction of wanting to reclaim and redeem a sports society that has gone astray,” Douma said.

Douma also said he believes student athletes at Dordt are aware of the difference in athletics at Dordt and other schools.

“We’re all called by God to try to redeem and reclaim,” Douma said. “Our student athletes and coaches are doing a very good job of illustrating that there is a more viable way to do athletics than what we currently observe in society.”

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