Karla Wolters celebrates milestone win, new stadium
Through 33 years of coaching, Karla Wolters has coached 56 varsity women’s squads in five different sports -- and 45 have posted winning records.
Her 45th winning team gave her the 1,100th victory of her coaching career last Thursday, when the Hope softball squad bounced back from an opening-round loss and staved off elimination for a day in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament.
The milestone win also capped a week that began with the dedication April 26 of a new softball facility at Hope named for Wolters and her husband, Tom.
Wolters’ softball squad won another elimination game Friday before losing to Tri-State in the tournament final, giving her 1,101 victories in her career -- including 648 wins in softball. What makes the achievement even more interesting is that, while Wolters has collected 479 of those wins in 21 seasons as Hope’s softball coach, she also won quite a few games early in her career when she was coaching a few miles up the road at Hope’s biggest rival, Calvin.
In fact, more than three-fourths of her 375 wins in another sport, volleyball, came while at Calvin, as did 169 of her softball victories. Over her tenure at both schools, Wolters has coached more teams to MIAA championship in both softball (seven at Calvin and four at Hope, for a total of 11) and volleyball (seven at Calvin and one at Hope, totaling eight) than any other coach.
Her other coaching victories include 40 wins in field hockey, 24 in basketball and 14 in tennis.
Wolters, who lettered in all of the sports she has coached except softball while a student-athlete at Hope during the early 1970s, currently also teaches kinesiology at her alma mater.
Through a coaching career that surely has generated many noteworthy moments for the coach, this past week likely will rank among the most memorable.
The season’s closing week began with Hope’s dedication of its recently renovated softball facility, which now is named Wolters Stadium.
The stadium also honors Tom Wolters, an elementary and middle school teacher in nearby Zeeland, Michigan, who played basketball at Hope and was team captain his senior year.
© 2010 The National Collegiate Athletic Association