Bill Vander Woude

Bill Vander Woude is a 1966 graduate of East Christian who participated in cross country, basketball and baseball during his high school years. He spent his 10thgrade year at the original Grand Rapids Christian High on Franklin Street before the school separated into Central Christian and East Christian. He earned a varsity letter in baseball in the 10thgrade, in addition to lettering in cross country and varsity basketball at East Christian.

During his two varsity basketball seasons at East Christian, Bill scored 1,161 points, an average of 25.8 per game. In his senior year, he was captain of the 1966 Basketball Class B State Champions, scoring 36 points in the State Championship game. This set a state record that stood for 39 years. He also set a school record by scoring 49 points against City League opponent South High. As a senior, Bill was named to the All-City League Team, the Class B All-State Team, and was named a high school All-American. He was the basketball team MVP in 1965 and 1966, and received the 1966 East Christian Athlete of the Year Award.

Bill attended Western Michigan University on a basketball scholarship, earning three varsity letters. (At that time, college freshmen were not eligible for varsity play.)  He was a 3-time member of the Mid-American All-Academic basketball team, the first athlete at WMU to accomplish this. He was also a 2-time Academic All-American. He graduated from WMU with a double major in Mathematics and Physical Education and went on to earn a Masters Degree in Educational Leadership.

The first part of Bill’s post-college career was in the US Army. He was stationed at Fort Sill in Oklahoma where he was a member of the 5thArmy basketball team. That team won the Army Basketball Championship in 1973 with Bill as its captain.  He was named to the All-Army team and received a free-agent contract from the Philadelphia 76ers.  He was also invited to try out for the US Olympic Handball Team. He declined both of those opportunities.

Bill’s career has been in teaching and coaching. He taught mathematics for 42 years, the last 39 of those in the Forest Hills Public Schools. He has coached basketball for 45 years, at levels from 7thgrade through college. His high school varsity teams included both girls and boys teams at Forest Hills Central, Forest Hills Eastern, and NorthPointe Christian. Those teams won a combined 317 games, with four conference and three district championships. Including all levels, his teams have won a remarkable 621 games. He also coached track at Forest Hills Central, winning three conference championships in eight seasons. Bill has retired from teaching, but not from coaching – he currently coaches the boys freshman team at GRCH with his son Jason.

Bill cites as career highlights winning the 1966 State Championship with a wonderful bunch of teammates and coaches, as well as being named to the Grand Rapids Press All-Decade Team for 1960-69 and one of the top 50 basketball players in the history of the City League. Bill and his wife Rhonda are the parents of son Jason and daughter Jill Cardosa. They have five grandchildren.

Bill’s Favorite Scripture:  I Corinthians 16:13
Be on guard, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.