11 NCAA Div. III national team championships
PELLA — After 14 years of serving to enhance the Central College athletics legacy he helped create as a standout student-athlete, Al Dorenkamp will retire as athletics director at the end of the 2011-12 academic year.
His wife, Jo, will be stepping down as well. A 1974 Central graduate, she’s the college’s postal services coordinator.
“Central College has been a wonderful place to be for Jo and I for nearly a third of our lives,” Dorenkamp said. “We plan to move on to the next phase of our life with great memories of a place that has meant so much to us over the years.”
Central president Mark Putnam praised the Dorenkamps’ service to the college.
“The role they have both played in the lives of so many at Central far exceeds any duties listed in their job descriptions,” he said. “It would be hard to imagine anyone more dedicated to this institution, and to the students, faculty and staff in this campus community, than Al and Jo.”
Dorenkamp, a 1975 Central graduate, earned all-America distinction for the Dutch football team, serving as captain of the 1974 team which won the college’s first NCAA Division III championship. During his tenure as athletics director, Central student-athletes have won four more NCAA national team championships, 13 NCAA individual titles and 46 Iowa Conference crowns. He initiated numerous improvements to the A.N. Kuyper Athletics Complex, including the addition of the highly regarded cross country course and the Ryerson Golf Practice Range, new indoor and outdoor tracks, and renovations to the softball field and Ron and Joyce Schipper Stadium. In 2002, Dorenkamp started Central’s Athletics Hall of Honor, which recognizes achievement and service on and off the playing field, before and after graduation.
For a four-year term Dorenkamp was a member of the NCAA Division III Football Committee, and was the national chair from 2005-07. In 2009, he received the Distinguished Iowan Award from Iowa chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. He is actively involved with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and a local leader for Character Counts.
In addition to his duties in the athletics department, Dorenkamp also worked in the college’s education department, performing on-site student teacher evaluations.
“The real joy of this job has been watching young men and women develop as students, athletes and well-rounded people,” Dorenkamp said. “We have simply had wonderful experiences with hundreds of students and athletes who have gone on to make Central College proud. It’s been fun to be a part of championships and successes and even more fun see each person mature and grow in body, mind and spirit.”
Dorenkamp values his Central colleagues as well.
“One would be hard pressed to find coaches and staff that work any harder than our staff,” he said. “They are the type of high-character people who belong in this profession. These folks have made me a better person”
Dorenkamp is a great fit for Central, Putnam said.
“Al embodies the core values of this academic community and of the whole-person concept as taught to him by his beloved Central coach, Ron Schipper,” said Putnam. “He remains a guardian of the virtues of the original Division III philosophy, with its emphasis on serving the participant rather than the spectator, and a focus on each student-athlete’s personal development.
“As an athlete and a leader, Al has been competitive and highly successful, but never at the expense of his integrity, which is unquestioned.
“He is a tireless worker, a committed servant, and deeply devoted to the young men and women of Central College. I am confident that that devotion, enthusiasm and passion for the Dutch will continue to grow in the years ahead.”
Dorenkamp promises that will be the case.
“We will stay connected to this great place in the years to come,” he said. “My hope would be that Central College continues to hold to the Division III philosophy and the values that have made this institution what it is for many years.”
Putnam said a search for Dorenkamp’s successor will begin this spring.