Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Since 1907
Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin University's official student newspaper since 1907

Calvin University Chimes

Calvin football’s recruitment process succeeds

This summer, Calvin’s first football team began practice on campus and it is scheduled to play its first scrimmage at the end of the month. Head Coach Trent Figg’s recruitment strategy leaned on traditional pools of potential Calvin students in West Michigan high schools and highlighted Calvin’s unique campus identity.

In October 2022, Calvin’s Board of Trustees approved the university’s Strategic Plan for Athletics, which included introducing football as a part of an effort to draw new students. In January 2023, Calvin announced the hiring of Trent Figg, a former offensive analyst at the University of Oregon, as head coach. 

One of Figg’s first jobs as coach was to recruit players for a formerly nonexistent team. Calvin University had the double challenge of starting a football team from scratch and starting recruitment for the 2023 team almost a year later than most other universities. 

Once hired, Figg wasted no time starting this process. On Jan. 19, 2023 he made his first home visit and on Jan. 20, 2023 he made his first high school visit. 

Figg made it clear that Calvin wasn’t recruiting for a team that “didn’t exist.” The team was new but Calvin did have a program in place for  students to enter.

“People always ask what it’s like to recruit a kid to a program that doesn’t exist? Well, when they launched the program, it did exist,” said Figg.

According to Figg, the campus itself was also a huge selling point.

“Once kids got on campus and they saw what a unique place Calvin is, they were able to see the vision of what we were doing going forward,” said Figg.

Figg dedicated most of his recruiting efforts to high schools here in Michigan — especially West Michigan — but he also recruited nationwide. Players come from as far south as Texas and Florida, and as far west as Washington state.

In January 2023, Figg told Chimes that he would like to have about 45 players in fall 2023, and about 100 in fall 2024. This year’s team is made up of 61 total players, 10 current Calvin students, nine transfer students and 42 incoming freshmen. 

“Those 10 guys had a good football background. They came to Calvin because of what it is as a place. This spring they lifted and trained together for about six weeks to lay down the foundation of Calvin football,” said Figg. 

Figg believes the lack of an official season will be beneficial to the development of the team. He also thinks that players will benefit from having a full year of just training and having the full attention of coaching staff. 

“Kids really saw the vision of this is a year of development, a year of training. They’re gonna get kind of the best of both worlds. It’s really exciting for our players that are here because they get to write the history of Calvin football,” said Figg.

Calvin Football will face off with one another at the Maroon & Gold Football Scrimmage, Sep. 30, 2023. 

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