Hope College has named alumnus Peter Stuursma as its new head football coach. Stuursma previously served as head football coach at East Grand Rapids High School, where he led his teams to seven Michigan state football championships.
"Coach Stuursma has a track record of providing transformational experiences and competitive excellence as a head coach and an administrator," said Tim Schoonveld, Hope's co-director of athletics. "He possesses the qualities we identified when we began the process of finding a new leader for our football program. We are thrilled to welcome Coach Stuursma and his family back to Hope College, and we are excited to have him lead our student-athletes.
The 44-year-old Stuursma becomes Hope's seventh full-time head coach since 1920. He follows Dean Kreps (1995-2015), Ray Smith (1970-94), Russ DeVette (1955-69), Al Vanderbush (1946-54), Bud Hinga (1931-42) and Jack Schouten (1920-30).
Hope kicks off the 2016 season on Saturday, Sept. 3 against Monmouth, Illinois at Ray and Sue Smith Stadium.
"I am truly excited to return to Hope College, a place that has meant so much to my family and me," Stuursma said. "I look forward to working with the many young people not only within our program but within the entire Hope community."
Stuursma, a 1993 Hope graduate, has deep ties to Hope College and the Flying Dutchmen football program.
As a player, Stuursma served as co-captain for the Hope College football team during his senior season. He was a running back and special teams player. Stuursma received the team's Allan C. Kinney award after the 1992 season despite playing in only three games due to an injury. The award, presented annually since 1971 and named in memory of football player Allan C. Kinney, who died of cancer in his senior year in 1967, honors a senior player for maximum contribution to the football program.
As a coach, Stuursma served as the Flying Dutchmen's defensive coordinator during the 1999 season before becoming a teacher and head football coach at East Grand Rapids. Hope claimed a share of the MIAA title in the 1999 season with a 5-1 league record while allowing only 18.1 points per game and scoring 32.6.
Stuursma also was Hope's recruiting coordinator that football season as well as an assistant track coach.
East Grand Rapids High School flourished on the field under Stuursma's guidance. The Pioneers went 162-34 with 13 state playoff appearances during his 16-season tenure. They claimed Michigan High School Athletic Association state titles in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2003 and 2002. They also reached the state semifinals twice.
Stuursma was named Detroit Lions High School Coach of the Year in 2008 and High School Football Coaches Association Division 3 Football Coach of the Year in 2010, 2009 2008, 2007, 2006 and 2002.
Last fall, East Grand Rapids posted a 9-4 record and advanced to the Division 3 state semifinals before losing to Orchard Lake St. Mary's 14-7.
Stuursma also had served as principal at East Grand Rapids Middle School since 2005. He was assistant principal at East Grand Rapids High School from 2002 to 2004. He taught social studies and physical education for three years prior to becoming an administrator.
Stuursma graduated from Hope College in 1993, completing the secondary teacher education program, majoring in physical education and minoring in social studies. He earned a master's degree in physical education / sports administration from the University of Northern Colorado in 1998.
In 1997, Stuursma worked as a graduate assistant on the NCAA Division II National Champion Northern Colorado football team.
Prior to his stop at Northern Colorado, Stuursma taught and coached at Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central High School for three years. He was head coach of the Rangers hockey team and assistant coach for the football team.
Stuursma and his wife, Amy, also a '93 Hope graduate, have three children: Hannah, age 16; Robbie, age 14; and Mitchell, age 11.