NWC to honor former athletes

The Northwestern College Red Raider Club will induct four alumni into its Athletic Hall of Fame and recognize its 2008 coach of the year and Barnabas Award recipients on Saturday, Feb. 7. They will be honored at the Athletic Recognition Luncheon at 12 noon in the Vermeer Dining Room and at halftime of the men’s basketball game against Concordia, which starts at 4 p.m.

Riley Kleinhesselink and Brandon Woudstra of Orange City, along with Matt Ortman of Olathe, Kan., and Kevin Vander Linden of Carlisle, Iowa, will bring the number of Hall of Famers to 89. Ortman and Earl Woudstra of Orange City will receive coach of the year honors. Chris Yaw of Orange City will receive the Barnabas Award.

Kleinhesselink, a December 2000 Northwestern graduate, was a second team NAIA football All-American in 2000 as a defensive end and also earned All-American honorable mention honors in 1998 and 1999. A three-time first team all-conference honoree, Kleinhesselink is Northwestern’s all-time sack leader, with 30 in his career.

Kleinhesselink led the Great Plains Athletic Conference in sacks in both 1999 and 2000. He was named the NAIA defensive player of the week on Sept. 28, 1999.

In 2001, Kleinhesselink signed with the Chicago Rush of the Arena Football League and earned a starting role after three weeks. He signed with the New York Jets that fall and was activated for the team’s final five games. His professional football career also included a stint with the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe in 2002 and playing for the Chicago Rush in 2003 and 2004.

A 1996 graduate of MOC-Floyd Valley High School, Kleinhesselink now lives in Orange City and works as sales/marketing manager for Hawke & Company Ag Systems of Alton.

Brandon Woudstra, a 2003 alumnus, is another 2008 Hall of Fame inductee. Because he’s currently playing professional basketball in Germany, he won’t be able to attend the Athletic Recognition Luncheon and will be honored at a later date.

Woudstra, who graduated from Orange City’s Unity Christian High School in 1999, is Northwestern’s all-time leader in points, 2,478, and assists, 648. He is also fourth in career three-point field goals, 226, and fifth in career rebounds, 896.

The 2003 NAIA Div. II player of the year, Woudstra also was named the national tournament MVP in 2001 and 2003 as the Raiders won national titles both seasons. He earned All-American second team honors in 2002 and was an honorable mention selection in 2001. Woudstra twice earned team MVP honors and was named an NAIA Scholar-Athlete in 2002 and 2003. He received the 2002 Emil S. Liston Award, given to one junior men’s or women’s basketball player who has excelled in athletic and academic achievement.

After graduation Woudstra played professional basketball for a year each in Iceland and the Netherlands. He’s in his fourth season in Germany, competing for ENBW Ludwigsburg. He lives in Orange City during the off season and serves as an instructor for B.J. Mulder’s B.E.S.T. basketball school.

Matt Ortman, a 2000 Northwestern graduate, will be inducted into the Hall of Fame and also honored as one of two coach of the year recipients. He holds the school’s baseball record for cumulative and season batting average, .404 and .493, respectively. He also is the Raiders’ all-time leader in hits, 218; runs, 154; and triples, 18. Ortman also set the season record for triples, 10, in 1997 and is second in career RBIs, 135. A second baseman, third baseman and catcher, Ortman also ranks second in career assists with 313.

A three-time first team all-conference selection, Ortman was twice named the NAIA national player of the week. In 1999, he was named to the all-region team and received All-American honorable mention recognition.

Ortman is a math teacher, head baseball coach and assistant wrestling coach at Blue Valley High School of Stilwell, Kan., from which he graduated in 1995. In his first year at the helm of the school’s baseball team last season, the squad went 19-6 and won the Class 6A state championship. He was named coach of the year by Sun Publications.

Kevin Vander Linden earned NAIA All-American honors in both football and wrestling before graduating in 1998. A defensive lineman, he was named to the All-American second team in 1996. The Raiders’ defensive MVP as a senior, he was a first team all-conference selection in 1996 and a second team honoree in 1995 and 1997.

Wrestling as a heavyweight, Vander Linden placed fourth at the national meet in 1998 to receive All-American status. He earned All-American honorable mention recognition by placing eighth at nationals in 1996 and seventh in 1997.

Vander Linden, a 1993 graduate of Carlisle High School, is assistant principal at Knoxville Middle School.

Earl Woudstra, Northwestern’s head women’s basketball coach, will be honored as a coach of the year recipient along with Ortman. A 1978 Northwestern graduate, Woudstra led the 2008 Red Raiders to the NAIA Div. II national championship, finishing the season with a 35-2 record. This was Northwestern’s second national title; the 2001 team also captured the championship. Woudstra earned national coach of the year honors both seasons.

Prior to this year, his 15th at the helm of Northwestern’s program, Woudstra had led his teams to a 311-124 record. He received the Paul Maaske Memorial Coach of the Year Award from the Iowa Basketball Coaches Association in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2008. He has guided the Red Raiders to seven national tournaments, including each of the last three years.

Woudstra, a 1974 graduate of Orange City’s Unity Christian High School, also serves as Northwestern’s assistant athletic director, professor of kinesiology and chairman of the kinesiology department.

Chris Yaw, who is an assistant women’s basketball coach at Northwestern and seventh grade math teacher and football coach for the MOC-Floyd Valley Community School District, will receive the Barnabas Award, which is bestowed upon former Raiders who encouraged others to strive for their best performance athletically, academically and personally, and who used their sport as a way to bring others to a knowledge of Jesus Christ.

A 1992 Northwestern alumnus, Yaw was a captain on the Raider basketball team that finished as national runner-up during his senior year. He was a two-year starter at Northwestern after graduating from Harris-Lake Park High School in 1988.

Yaw, who has been an assistant at Northwestern since 2004, was previously the middle school principal in Spencer, Iowa, and assistant women’s basketball coach at Wayne State College. He also directed the 2001 MOC-Floyd Valley girls’ basketball team to a state berth and served as the head coach for four years.

The public is invited to attend the Athletic Recognition Luncheon. For more information, contact Karen Vander Pol in Northwestern’s athletic department, 712-707-7280 or karen@nwciowa.edu.