Football is coming to Calvin


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The Board of Trustees has approved Calvin’s Strategic Plan for Athletics, which aims to bring football and a number of other new teams to campus.

The Board of Trustees has approved the university’s Strategic Plan for Athletics — an investment and expansion strategy that aims to bring a number of new teams, including football, to campus, as well as new and improved outdoor athletics facilities.

The board’s approval is a green light for adding men’s American football, women’s acrobatics and tumbling and men’s volleyball teams to Calvin’s athletics program, as well as a possible women’s ice hockey team. A marching band program is also being considered.

Key figures in developing the Strategic Plan, including Chief Financial Officer Tim Fennema, Provost Noah Toly and Athletic Director James Timmer gathered community feedback at points during the process, according to a press release from the university.

“We are excited about adding football to the athletic portfolio and being able to finally offer high school students the opportunity to play this sport at Calvin,” President Wiebe Boer said in the release. “As I’ve learned since coming back to Michigan by attending a Grand Rapids Christian High football game, the sport has the potential to bring people together, generate excitement for our campus, and, along with the other offerings, extend Calvin’s brand.”

Boer told Chimes the next step is to hire a head coach, who will take on the task of building the program. Boer expects Calvin to have “kind of a practice team” in 2023 before beginning to play competitive matches in 2024.

Boer said what sold him on football was the possibility of simultaneously investing in student musicians alongside athletes by developing a marching band program.

“With a marching band, you bring new students [and] new musicians, and you bring a new energy around music as well. [Having a football program] builds sports, music and student spirit,” Boer said.