HOLLAND, Mich -- Dozens of former Hope College basketball players made the trip back to Holland to be recognized during halftime over Saturday's game against Kalamazoo College. The players stemmed from the historic 1990's era which led to the Flying Dutchmen winning six NIAA titles and two trips to the national championship.
"Every time you went on the floor you expected to win and if you didn't win, it was a huge disappointment," former Hope guard and overseas player, Eric Elliott stated.
"The players that played in the nineties were really good basketball players, they worked really hard and were really good people," legendary coach Glenn Van Wieren said.
"I'm seeing a lot of familiar faces today," former Hope player Ryan Klingler said, "friends, teammates, whether you played with them or they played before them or after you. A lot of us stay in touch through the Hope community, it's just fun to see those guys you don't see every day."
Coach Van Wieren hugged every man that walked across the floor during the halftime assembly and to him, it has always been more than basketball.
"Whenever somebody in Holland asked me, 'coach, how's the team going to be this year?' My patent remark was 'I'll tell you in 20 years,'" Van Wieren said. "Every single one of them after graduating from Hope, they're all employed, they have great jobs, they love what they do and it's so heart throbbing to see that happen."
And several of Van Wieren's former players have gone on to coach on their own, including Elliott at Hudsonville and Klingler at Grandville.
"He's a father figure, he was like a second dad for me, he taught life lessons," Elliott said.
"He's a true definition of a coach because he's always going to be there for you, always reaches out and stays in touch," Klingler told us.
The players on hand watched the Dutchmen come back to defeat Kalamazoo College, 87-65 as the Hope basketball tradition continues.