Grand Rapids Community College officials announced today that their newly renovated arena will be named the Gordon Hunsberger Arena after the longtime GRCC athletic director, football coach, faculty member and alumnus. The arena is located within the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse. The announcement kicked-off the College’s opening day festivities, the annual gathering of GRCC’s faculty and staff to introduce the new academic year.
The arena underwent a $1.1 million overhaul, including installation of a new floor, plus lighting, sound and acoustics improvements in 2010, as a part of the GRCC Works…Ask Anyone Capital Campaign. In addition to being the home court for GRCC athletic teams, the Gordon Hunsberger Arena is used by the community for various purposes and special events. Over 3,900 students use the arena each semester for GRCC wellness courses.
The naming opportunity came in the form of a leadership gift from the David and Carol Van Andel Foundation. The magnitude of the gift was such that it entitled the donors to have naming rights to one of GRCC’s buildings, according to GRCC Foundation executive director Andy Bowne. The Van Andels opted instead to allow GRCC to honor someone “who has had a significant impact on the College’s athletic program with this special privilege,” said Bowne.
GRCC President Steve Ender liked the idea. “We asked our coaching staff and wellness faculty for some ideas and they came back to us with one name - Gordy Hunsberger,” said Ender. “His name is synonymous with Raider athletics, and it’s an honor for us to recognize his legacy.”
Hunsberger, always known as Gordy or Huns, is an inductee into the NJCAA Football Coaches’ Hall of Fame and the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame.
When Gordon Hunsburger came to GRCC, then GRJC, the football program was not much more than a club sport. In his nearly 30 years as head coach, Hunsberger touched thousands of lives and opened the door for the tradition of success associated with GRCC Football. In his first year, 1956, Hunsberger took the Raiders to a 5-1-2 record and to the National Junior College Athletic Association's (NJCAA) inaugural championship game in the Los Angeles, which the Raiders lost 46-6 to Coffeeville Junior College.
During the 28 years Hunsberger coached the football team, the Raiders were invited to 2 more bowl games, both Wool Bowls, where the Raiders defeated Henderson County Texas Community College 24-0 in 1968 and lost to Navarro Texas Community College 21-0 in 1970.
Hunsberger also served as GRCC Athletic Director for 20 years, during an era marked with several milestones: the opening of the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse and Natatorium, which provided state-of-the-art facilities for the College's athletic and wellness programs, and the enactment of Title IX, which provided equal opportunities for women in competitive sports.
“We are so pleased with the selection to have Gordy’s name associated with this arena, and with the Van Andel name,” said Carol Van Andel. “His commitment to GRJC and GRCC athletics is unparalleled…it’s a well-deserved honor.”
Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 32,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.