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Thank You, Gord! Tributes to Retiring Equipment Manager Gordon VanderYacht

Gordon VanderYacht stands at the scorer's table at DeVos Fieldhouse. To honor retiring equipment manager Gordon VanderYacht on his final day of work, Hope College Athletics invited alumni H Club members to show their appreciation for him by sharing well-wishes and memories.

VanderYacht is retiring today after 32 years of service for Hope College.

Here are some of their responses.

Retirement Announcement

Ashley Ables '19, Softball

When I transitioned from being a player in uniform on the softball team to a student assistant, Gord kept my nameplate and still put it up for me in the locker room. It was something very small, but it brought me so much joy to still have my name displayed and have a locker to call my own. Another memory that has been a small joke through the softball team for a few years was the mysterious hunting decoy goose that we found in our locker room one day. We already had one decoy goose in 2016 that traveled with us and came in the dugout with us, but one game day we found another. No one ever confessed to adding the other goose, so we narrowed it down to Gord being the only other person that could have put it there. We don't know for sure if he brought in the goose, but it made us laugh and gave us a great memory.

Jared Alber '20, Football

Every single day coming to the locker and seeing his huge smile on his face and the big candy jar on his desk helps us get through the rest of the day! 

Colin Balas '07, Football

Congratulations on a long and successful career at Hope College. I truly appreciate all the effort you put forth in making sure the daily operations of the football team ran smoothly. I had a blast during my 4 years at hope and I'm glad you were a part of it.

Tim Bekkering '99, Basketball

Gord, too many great memories together to just list. Four years of working together equal hundreds of games, home and away. Memories I'll have for a lifetime and so thankful for the opportunity and couldn't have worked with a better person and friend.  

Greg Bird '15, Football

Every day I walked into the Lugers, Gord would be there to greet me. A simple "hello," and check-in to see how I'm doing made all the difference in the world. 

Michael Brya '99, Baseball

I don't have one particular memory, but I do remember the consistency and timeliness of ALWAYS having our baseball uniforms (and other laundry) done and ready to go.  It's those "little things" that aren't so little.  Your efforts over my four years at Hope were always appreciated!  A sincere and heartfelt THANKS!!

Kathryn Campbell '99, Soccer and Athletic Training

I would always remember Gord being the first I would see every day coming into practice at Lugers. His knack for knowing how someone is doing just by hearing them say "hi" led to many conversations - both when having a good day or a lousy one. I also remember his smile and infectious positivity.

Allie Cerone '12, Basketball

Gord, thank you for all you have done for Hope Athletics. Enjoy, your much-deserved retirement. Go Hope!

Curt Copeland '03, Football

Thank you for the countless hours that you put in behind the scenes that no one knows about. Your commitment to Hope, the coaches and the student athletes has been the standard. Enjoy some quality time with your family and being outdoors.

Kristine David '75, Field Hockey and Softball

I played on both the varsity Softball and Field Hockey teams while a student-athlete at Hope. The field hockey program was discontinued soon after my graduation. It has always been my favorite sport to play.  During one game, I was severely injured by an opponent's stick that crushed the bone on my ankle. Gord took time out of his day to see me every day to make sure I was making progress through my recovery and to make suggestions about how I could protect the area. This allowed me to return to the field and even score the winning goal in a game in Kalamazoo.

Matt Delaney '18, Football

Congrats Gord! Enjoy retirement, and spending time with family, well-deserved!

Courtney Earles '13, Volleyball

Way to go Gord! Enjoy your retirement, you have more than earned it. You'll be missed at Hope!

Tim Elzinga '11, Football

As a freshman, I had the typical bottom of the depth chart freshman pads — massive shoulder pads, a face mask that made no sense for my position, and the bulky thigh pads straight out of the early 1990s.  When a couple of guys went down with injuries and Gord found out I'd be starting our game against Wheaton, he pulled me into his office after a Wednesday practice and swapped out every piece of equipment I had for the good stuff. I'd at least look like I belonged on the field. The "Look good, Feel good, play good" mantra didn't quite play out like it was supposed to that Saturday afternoon, but I'll take the blame for that! 

Gordon VanderYacht stands next to Hope football players at practice.

Sam Eshuis '18, Football

As a freshman or sophomore football player, I was crossing the stream to practice one day in the winter months...Not my brightest idea. I slipped on a rock and my single pair of white knee-high practice socks were freezing cold. I kept going back and forth in my head whether or not I should suffer through practice or just ask you for another pair of socks. I chose the latter and I will never forget the amount of relief and gratitude I felt when you tossed me another pair of practice socks without question. Thank you for all you did for our teams! Go Hope!

Taylor Fox '10, Football

Great man, great family. Congrats on the career longevity and putting 4 kids through Hope! Enjoy a much-deserved retirement and the chance to choose when you work on the weekends! Thanks for keeping our stuff looking the best in DIII!

Stephen Gerger '15, Football

Gord was always looking for ways to keep my jersey over my shoulder pads. As a defensive lineman, offensive linemen were constantly grabbing my shoulders causing my jersey to ride up over the top of the pads. Gord was able to use some double-sided tape to help keep my jersey on.

Brandon Graham '98, Football

Best wishes to you in retirement! I truly appreciate all that you have done for Hope College student-athletes and coaches over the years. You were a shining example of servant leadership and this was witnessed daily by the way you treated people! I'm grateful for all that you did for me and the Hope Football teams in the late '90s.

Toby Gruppen '03, Football

After all these years, I appreciate the warm smile and greeting when we run into each other at Hope events or in the community.  You made Hope feel like family. Thanks for blessing the Hope teams for all these years!

Erika Guijarro '08, Women's Basketball and Softball

Thanks for making my college journey special. You were always so supportive and encouraging not only to two twins from California but to every student you came in contact with. The Hope College student-athletes were lucky to have you be a part of their experience. Thanks for everything.

Brock Isanhart '00, Baseball

Gord, Congratulations on your retirement! Looking back, I wish I would have interned with you and followed in your footsteps. I think you have one of the best jobs in college sports and you did it with a great amount of pride for Hope College and Hope Athletics. Thanks for keeping us organized and looking good on the field! I don't have a specific memory, I just remember knowing I could always count on Gord to have everything ready for us. Gord's attention to detail allowed us to just focus on playing. 

Amanda Kerkstra '03 Williams, Women's Basketball

Congrats on your retirement!!!! You know, with 3 boys and a girl, I could certainly use a part-time equipment manager and laundry specialist!!! Thanks for your commitment to Hope Athletics, world-class in my opinion. All the best to you in your new chapter! My favorite memories were with him in the Dow Center, Gord was always there... always supportive behind the counter. 

Rich Kesteloot '96, Football

As a freshman, you couldn't get a requested face-mask change. As a senior, you could get 20. LOL. He knew the pecking order. You had to pay your dues!  Great Guy!!!!  Best wishes!

Jared Kimber '12, Football

I really appreciated your steadfastness and consistency. You always made sure we had everything we needed and were a joy to chat with before practice. Thanks for everything, Gord!

Ryan Klingler '01, Men's Basketball

Whether a Hope student or graduate, Gord felt like a staple of Hope College and Athletics. Any time I would see Gord, I was greeted with a hello and conversation. People like Gord make Hope College what it is — a special place. 

Nathan Kronewetter '96, Men's Soccer

My man! Great memories that my teammates and myself keep close to the heart. We kept you busy during our time at Hope- constantly having to climb up on the roof to retrieve the soccer balls that we shanked during shooting drills! We appreciated everything you did for us behind the scenes as well as the great sarcasm and conversation along the way. Hope to cross paths again one day again.  Laughing and rolling your eyes at our craziness and antics.

Peyton Lindman '15, Softball

You have made such an amazing impact on every athlete who has played for Hope! Thank you for your incredible dedication to every athlete and team. We are so grateful for your selflessness and wonderful ability to help in so many ways!!

Tim McCarty '94, Football

I was on Hope football for the 1990 and 1991 teams.  You were always encouraging to me as I came into the locker room area and dressed for practice. After a long day of academic work, it was great to get outside and your smiling face and words of encouragement at the equipment room were always consistent and meaningful. Thank you.

Kevin McLeod '92. Football

I have quite a few, considering I was a "high maintenance" teammate. There are two that stand out vividly.  First was junior year when a few of us decided we needed shorter game jerseys and took it upon ourselves to cut them with scissors from the training room.  They looked terrible, Gordo was not pleased. Second was when I asked him to buy a dark visor for my helmet. They had just been introduced to college football, and the look he gave me was priceless.  Needless to say, he thought I was nuts and wouldn't do it, so I had to buy my own.  

Michael Miller '20, Football

Working for him. Before and after practice, just chatting. And taking his candy!

Phil Morse '05, Football

When I (we) didn't follow protocol, your facial expression was its own correction manual for all of us to get in line. Thanks for all you've done and the lessons you taught us through the diligent execution of your trade.  

Jay Mulder '94, Football

My favorite memory of Gord was during my freshman year at Hope. The team was being issued football equipment and Gord was able to secure for me a new pair of cleats instead of the reconditioned ones that many first-year players received. This small gesture was not necessary, but it was appreciated and never forgotten for that season and beyond.

Renee Mursch '02 Sanchez, Softball

Thanks for being the best work-study boss ever!! Even though washing football practice uniforms was not glamorous, you gave me the opportunity to get studying done while working off some of my expenses. I enjoyed our banter and the way you cheerfully supported our athletes.

Kori Nieuwsma '11 Vander Yacht, Softball

So excited for you to enjoy retirement. Thanks for all of your hard work to keep all uniforms looking great and the equipment working. Good thing the grandkids will keep you busy now ;) Gord was so good at fixing my glove and wrapping our bats without skipping a beat. He made sure we had uniforms to wear the week we played 10 games back-to-back. 

John Noffke '08, Football

Gord, I've been a coach and a player for 20 years. The smell of a football locker room is one of the more unique Scents on this earth. Thanks for being willing to work in our locker room for all those years at Lugers. I wish you the best in retirement. I always remember the grin on your face with your hands stretched across the counter waiting for the laundry to come in after practice. You were always willing to engage any player in conversation. 

Mason Opple '20, Baseball, Basketball, and Football

Trick plays on the computer every home Saturday in Lugers!

Tom Osborn '95, Baseball

Congratulations on your retirement! I truly HOPE you'll enjoy the extra time you'll have to yourself now. It is much deserved. You are and were a permanent fixture with every team you were involved with at Hope. Enjoy the rewards of a job well done!

Erica Pagorek '06 Giegerich, Soccer

I can't thank you enough for all the hard work, laughs, and smiles you gave me during my four years on the women's soccer team back in 2002-2006. Thank you for always taking care of us and making us look so good. Enjoy your retirement. Go Dutch!

Lance Pellow '99, Soccer

For several years, I coordinated the alumni soccer game over Homecoming weekend.  This was an extremely busy time for Gord, but every year he would unlock doors, open locker rooms and get things ready so we could come back and relive our glory days. Thanks for taking the time to help us make such great memories!

Shay Pinhey '19, Softball

My favorite memory was the first time I met Gord. I had heard his name but was convinced he had to be a wizard or mythical being to do so much for us especially at times on such short notice. Turns out Gord is not only a wizard behind the scenes but one of the best supporters and fans as well! It was so nice to put a face to the name the first time and to have another familiar fan at our games. Thank you, Gord! 

Matt Richardson '09, Baseball

I think Gord was one of the first people to know that I wore the Dutch Mascot costume.  I was so nervous letting him know because we were trying to keep it a big secret.  I bet he told some people, maybe even Coach Fritz.  Fritz used to razz me about being the mascot asking if I knew and then insisting it was me.  He must have known, and I bet it was from you, Gord! Looking back I was such a naive student, thinking no one knew, but so many must have known. Haha.  We developed a relationship around the costume because that costume needed to be cleaned!  It was so stinky from how hot it got in there and a large amount of sweat that came with the job. Gord was so helpful and gracious in making sure it got done, whenever I asked. And eventually, it just got done, consistently, because that's the way Gord was. 

Deb Sleeman '92, Softball

Congratulations Gord and what a well deserved honor for you! I loved having you as our equipment manager as a player and as a coach when I was coaching softball with Karla. You always made sure to take care of all the athletes and that was so much appreciated. Enjoy your retirement years!!!!

Scott Snyder '10, Baseball and Football

My favorite memories of Gord were toward the end of my career at Hope when I realized that Gord treated you in the way he observed you treating others around you. My freshman year, I was terrified of Gord due to what I thought was his cold demeanor. As I got to spend more time around Gord, I began to have more conversations with him outside of how to properly prep my equipment for the following day of practice. His softer side began to show and Gord is somebody that was on the shortlist of people I needed to catch up with when I made it back for football games after graduating. I feel lucky to be connected to somebody that is deeply connected to the Hope College Athletic experience.

Christian Subdon '14, Football

You were always willing to help everyone out no matter the situation. You gave me a job and helped me pay my way through college. I am forever grateful for that. I now have a great job and own my own home and thanks in no little part to you. Thanks for giving me a chance.

Gina Switalski '93 Schinker, Track and Field and Cheerleading

Thank you and best wishes!

Lauren Syverson '18, Athletic Training

Gord, you always had a smile on your face and were a great friend to me! Enjoyed our conversations and hanging out at football games together! I hope you enjoy a beautiful retirement with your family and find new joys in this next season of life! You deserve it!!! Hope College will NOT be the same without you!

Emily Thielk '00 Siwek, Golf

I forgot to bring my clubs to a golf match one time and didn't realize it until we were at the course! Gord saved the day by bringing them to me, so I could play! 

Bob Toth '93, Football, Track and Field and Athletic Training

Gord; Thanks for all you've done for so many of us! I wish you the best in your retirement, don't get bored! I wish you and your family all the best. Thanks!

John Tysse '60

Congratulations Gord - thanks for assisting Andrew and guidance for him! Recommending The Village of Christmas for a place to eat in the Upper Peninsula is a great memory.

Jill VanderStoep '87, Volleyball

Congratulations, Gord! I missed out on knowing you when I was a student-athlete, but I did work with you when I was the assistant volleyball coach. I am very thankful for your years of service.

Michael VanderVelde '07, Baseball

I remember that one time I forgot one item that should have been turned in about three days earlier. I was sweating bullets when I handed it to you!  Thank goodness I was met with a smile!  You knew I wouldn't do that again!

Andrew VanderYacht '09, Football

Always snuck me brand new pads and my preferred number, even though I was a freshman nobody, because, well, I was his son!

Kyle Warren '12, Football

Gord always was super helpful with everything he did. I remember him always making sure we had the best uniforms and the cleanest. He always took care of me even when my pants or jerseys ripped and always had backup pairs all the time for me. I graciously appreciate him always looking out! Thank you Gord!

Martin Williams '92, Football and Tennis

My freshman year of football in 1988, when Gordo listened to me complain during warmups about the balls. I must have complained about every single one being too slippery to use that day. The first game of the year, I believe it was 80 and sunny :) 

Kristin Woiteshek '95, Women's Basketball

Gord was always available to fix the elastic on my game shorts.  One side was always getting pulled back into my shorts in the washer/dryer.  :-) 

Crystal Wright '98, Track and Field

My favorite memory isn't about track but about how Gord hooked up four girls who were determined to cheer their hearts out in Salem for the men's basketball NCAA semifinals and dress the part! Thanks, Gord for the old school jerseys and warm-ups! 

Dan Zomerlei '06, Football

You may not remember me, but you helped me adjust to Hope in 2001 as I came to campus as a shy, 18-year-old freshman who wanted to play football. However, I had just had knee surgery and couldn't play for the year, so Coach Kreps and you gave me a job as a team manager. I had no idea what I was doing but you supported me throughout the whole season. Thanks for making an impact on my life in a positive way!


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