11 NCAA Div. III national team championships
Heerema played an integral role in establishing Central College's football tradition. A four-year letterwinner at tackle, he helped transform a team that was 3-6 in his freshman season in 1960 to one that posted a 14-3-1 mark in 1962-63. He was a three-time first-team all-Iowa Conference pick, also lettering three times in track and field and once in baseball. After graduation he tried out with the Chicago Bears and spent two seasons with their minor league team, the Springfield Acorns. Heerema then became a graduate assistant football coach at the University of Iowa in 1965.
A Pella native and a former member of Central's board of trustees, he has been an ardent college supporter throughout a prolific entrepreneurial career highlighted by co-founding Heritage Lace and growing it into an acclaimed international business. Heerema is also an active Pella community and church volunteer and philanthropist. Always a passionate football fan, he was among the first part-owners of the Iowa Barnstormers Arena Football League franchise.