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Cedar Springs duo leads Tigers to regional championship


Two Cedar Springs men, Gary Bailey (right) and Dan George (left) are the head coach and assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids. Last weekend they celebrated their ninth regional championship.

Two Cedar Springs men, Gary Bailey (right) and Dan George (left) are the head coach and assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at Grace Bible College in Grand Rapids. Last weekend they celebrated their ninth regional championship.

Gary Bailey, Dan George continue to build Grace basketball tradition

Two Cedar Springs men continue to build the basketball tradition at Grace Bible College—winning nine regional championships in 11 years of coaching. But the twist in the tale is this: in the beginning, they didn’t intend for the coaching jobs to be permanent.

When Gary Bailey, of Cedar Springs, took over as head coach of the Grace Bible College men’s basketball team in 2005, his intention was to take the job for a year. His son, Kirby, was a senior and an All-American for the Tigers, and Bailey saw his role as a transition one for that one year. He called his former college coach and long time friend, Dan George, currently school leader and superintendent at Creative Technologies Academy, and asked him to be his assistant.

Reflecting on that request, Dan explains, “I said, OK, I’ll do it for a year.” But the Tigers surprised everyone that first year, transforming a mid-season mediocre record to an overtime regional championship victory, and then went on to shock the national tournament’s #2, #3, and #1 seeds in successive games and won the national championship on a last second buzzer beater tip in by former Cedar Springs High School player, Jimmy Booth.

I think we got hooked,” says Dan, with a smile, “so we decided to hang around for more than that one year.”

The Grace Bible Tigers celebrated winning the regional championship last weekend, and are poised to win it all this season.

The Grace Bible Tigers celebrated winning the regional championship last weekend, and are poised to win it all this season.

One year has been extended to 11 and the two show no signs of retirement, yet. This past Saturday, the Tigers won their ninth regional championship in those 11 years with a dominant 79-49 win over Maranatha Baptist University. Bailey was named regional coach of the year for the seventh time to go with two national coach of the year awards and the prestigious Basketball Coaches Association of Michigan College Coach of the Year in 2011.

Bailey and George added a run of four consecutive national championships in 2009-2012, which included a streak of 69 consecutive NCCAA victories, a record that most people in the NCCAA say will never be broken, and brought their total to five rings in 10 years, and this year’s Tigers appear poised to challenge for a sixth.

The Tigers have become a highly respected small college program with a reputation of a willingness to play anyone, anywhere, and being competitive when they do. Signature wins in the last eleven years include victories over Ferris State University, Davenport University, Cornerstone University, and perennial MIAA powerhouses Calvin College and Hope College.

Although the small school does not give athletic scholarships, their schedule annually includes a number of high profile programs that do give athletic scholarships, and Bailey and his coaches have been able to assemble and develop some outstanding talent in the last 11 years. This year’s schedule included Coastal Carolina University, an NCAA Division 1 national tournament team last year, several NCAA Division II schools, including two in Honolulu, Hawaii, and Grand Valley State University, Northern Michigan University, and Saginaw Valley State University, and several NAIA programs. The Tigers also played a preliminary game at the Palace of Auburn Hills on the night the Pistons retired Chauncey Billups’ jersey. The guarantees provided by playing these larger schools help fund the Tigers’ ambitious travel schedule and the tough schedule helps them attract and develop talent that other schools have overlooked.

One of those overlooked players was Allen Durham who played high school ball at Wyoming Park High School, won three national championships at Grace, spent most of this year with the Dallas Mavericks organization, and is now starring in professional play in France. Most of Grace’s high profile games are played early in the season and toughen the Tigers in preparation for the very difficult NCCAA games and end of the year tournaments.

There is little doubt that the success of the men’s basketball program has had an impact off the court as well. The college was recently recognized as the fastest growing Bible college in the United States. The coaching staff has also emphasized community service and the team tackles several projects a year. One of their favorites is an annual visit to Pineview Homes, a home for delinquent, abused, and neglected boys in Evart, Michigan. Each Christmas season, the Tigers spend several hours with the boys in an afternoon and then attend their Christmas party and dinner. Pineview Director Paul Derscheid, says it is something the boys talk about weeks before in anticipation and months afterward they are still wearing their autographed Grace shirts.

Both coaches are members of the Grace Athletic Hall of Fame with Bailey being inducted in 2013 and George being inducted in 2014. While acknowledging satisfaction in the accomplishments and appreciation for the awards and recognition, Bailey is quick to give credit to those who have assisted in this journey.

For George, it is more than the rings and thrill of championships that keeps him going. “It’s the relationships you build along the way, with fellow coaches, with players, and even opponents,” says Dan, “and it’s the opportunity to mentor and influence young men in the things that are more important than basketball.”

Bailey echoes that sentiment. “Our rewards are far beyond wins and losses. It’s the opportunity to see young men develop on and off the court, and become outstanding husbands, fathers, and contributors to society.”

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CTA school leader a top 10 finalist in Best in Education awards


 

N-Dan-George

Dan George, Creative Technologies Academy’s Superintendent and School Leader

Dan George, Superintendent/School Leader at Creative Technologies Academy, was recently named as one of the top 10 finalists in TheBestSchools.org annual awards. The finalists are primary and secondary school administrators who demonstrate a wide range of gifts, experiences and accomplishments. According to TheBestSchools.org, the top 10 named leaders have proven his or her ability to overcome odds, rally the team and cultivate educational success where weaker wills could not.

“I was honored and humbled to be nominated and selected as a top 10 finalist for this award,” commented Dan George. “I appreciate all of the support I receive daily from my dedicated staff of educators. Their hearts for kids and sacrificial service inspire me every day. Our highest priority is to do what’s best for kids, and I know I can count on my staff to help us keep getting better.”

TheBestSchools.org provided an overview of George that included:  he is a servant leader at Creative Technologies Academy (CTA), a charter school in Cedar Springs, Michigan. with about 300 students. Dan’s experience in the business world (25 years) and as a basketball coach at a local college have molded his leadership style for teamwork, efficiency, and the work ethic to “keep getting better.” Yet, make no mistake, George’s first love is not business, or basketball, it is education. His educational credentials include a Bachelor of Arts in History and Teacher Certification from Hartwick College (Oneonta, NY) and a Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction from the College of Education at Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI). When George first arrived at Creative Technologies Academy almost six years ago, the school was facing a 50 percent student poverty rate (whose household income was at or below the poverty line), and the school was struggling in probationary status, barely maintaining accreditation. But before long, the school’s state grades rose 31 percent and now CTA “exceeds expectations.” This was a marginal school that’s now an academic leader.

“It is really great for Dan to get recognized for the hard work that he does,” praised David Oldebekking, Dean of Students. “He is a very humble man and a lot of his work is done behind the scenes, so for his hard work and sacrifice to be acknowledged is well-deserved.”

Mr. George’s methods emphasize leadership training and community engagement programs. For example, he has worked with his teachers and staff to develop leadership curriculum, emphasizing character, service learning, and college readiness. Effectively, this model empowers students to take responsibility for their community, actively apply their learning, and contribute to the overall health of their school. One spotlight for community engagement is “Coffee with Mr. George,” a monthly 7:00 a.m. open-door gathering to chat about the school, its direction, and its role in the community. George’s peers describe him as a man of strong moral fiber and integrity. In applying for this award, George couldn’t help but commend his fellow administrators and educators as his team of sacrificial servants.

the Best in Education Award centers around the legacy of Jamie Escalante and Henry Gradillas, the teacher and principal depicted in the film Stand and Deliver; their outstanding work at Garfield High School in the 1980s shines a beacon to this day. They hope to find and acknowledge outstanding teachers and school administrators across America. Their aim is not only to recognize the individuals, their work and their schools; it is to energize the spirit of excellence in education for all educators.

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A red carpet kick-off to the school year


The school-wide Hula Hoop Challenge paired each leadership group together to stand hand-in-hand and pass the hula hoop down the line without releasing their partner’s hand. Photo credit: Aspire Photo and Design

The school-wide Hula Hoop Challenge paired each leadership group together to stand hand-in-hand and pass the hula hoop down the line without releasing their partner’s hand. Photo credit: Aspire Photo and Design

Students stroll the red carpet heading to their first day of class.

Students stroll the red carpet heading to their first day of class.

Hoots, hollers, high-fives, and “paparazzi” were awaiting the CTA elementary students as they strolled the red carpet to their classrooms on the first day back after summer break.  Superintendent, Dan George, and Dean of Students, David Oldebekking, treated the students to granola bars to make sure they were well-fueled for for the full day of education and activities.

Leadership is a school-wide area of focus for the 2015-2016 school year. In order to emphasize this character trait, the elementary created small groups by mixing grades together with the plan to empower the older elementary students to serve as mentors to the younger students. Within the groups, the students will participate in teambuilding activities, have discussions on leaderships and the “WE ARE CHARGERS” initiative.

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CTA Celebrates First “Wall of Honor” Induction; Coxons Honored


L-R Mrs. Lexie Coxon, Dan George, Dr. DeWayne Coxon

L-R Mrs. Lexie Coxon, Dan George, Dr. DeWayne Coxon

CTA held its inaugural “Wall of Honor” induction ceremony on Thursday, October 23 in the CTA auditorium. Dr. DeWayne Coxon and Lexie Coxon were honored as the first inductees. The Coxons were co-founders of CTA in 1998. Dr. Coxon served as a consultant for a time after the school was started and Mrs. Coxon has served the school as Superintendent/School Leader, volunteer, and board recorder.

“I’ve always believed in the value of knowing our history,” said Superintendent/School Leader, Dan George.  “The Coxons’ vision and efforts in establishing CTA is an important part of that. I want our students to know about people that made sacrifices and dedicated time and effort to making this school a viable choice for them and their parents. We established the Wall of Honor to recognize those people.” It is anticipated the Wall of Honor celebration will be an annual event for the school.

 

 

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The Post travels to Montana


N-Post-travels-to-Montana-George-fcDan George took his son, Hunter, to the Pintler Wilderness of Montana for some “outside the classroom” education, and they took the Post with them. This was Hunter’s first trip to the West, and his first elk hunt. Dan has hunted the area for years.

“I don’t think he really understands how much this means to me,” said Dan, “but he will when he takes his boy or girl some day.”

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

 

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Dan George inducted into GBC athletic hall of fame


Dan George was inducted into the Grace Bible College athletic hall of fame last weekend. Courtesy photo.

Dan George was inducted into the Grace Bible College athletic hall of fame last weekend. Courtesy photo.

Grace Bible College announces the selection of Dan George, Associate Head Coach for Men’s Basketball, to the Grace Bible College Athletic Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies took place on Saturday, October 18, in the Aldrich Center on campus.

“I am humbled and extremely appreciative of this honor,” said Coach George.

George, a Cedar Springs resident, begins his 10th season with the Tigers in 2014-15. Coach George has a unique connection to the program as he was head coach at Jordan College, and recruited, signed, and coached the Tigers’ Head Coach Gary Bailey in 1978-82. The two have remained friends over the years and Bailey knew who to turn to for assistance, when he took over the helm of the Tigers in 2005. In the nine years the two have been together at Grace, the Tigers have won seven regional championships and five national championships.

“When Gary took the head coaching position at Grace in 2005, I was flattered that he asked me to come help him,” said Coach George. “I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it for a year.’ And then we won a regional and national championship that first year, and I was hooked on working with this team and being a part of the Grace atmosphere. I told Coach Bailey I would stay as long as he wanted me.”

Coach George has served in several capacities over the last nine years. He assisted Coach Bailey with game management and he has always had a passion for teaching and developing defensive skills. He has also teamed with supporting Coach Kent Karnemaat in the team’s “Champions to the Core” initiative. He will continue to assist in all those areas but his focus this year is to pursue a long time passion and team need to develop and implement a new program for game preparation and analysis.

“Dan brings strong leadership skills and great basketball knowledge to our program,” said Coach Bailey, “but it is his passion for assisting young men in the development of character and life skills that we value most.”

Dan played high school ball at Walton Central School (class of 1970) in Walton, New York and college basketball at Hartwick College, Oneonta, New York. He served as athletic director and head basketball coach at Jordan College where his teams were nationally ranked. An avid sportsman and conservationist, Dan enjoys hunting, fishing, and camping and he owns an outdoor adventure consulting/booking business, Quest Expeditions, offering worldwide hunting and fishing adventures. Dan received a B.A. in History from Hartwick College in 1974 and a M.A. in Education from Michigan State University in 1980. He currently serves as the Superintendent/School Leader at Creative Technologies Academy in Cedar Springs, where he lives with his wife, Debi, and son, Hunter, a senior at Creative Technologies Academy. Daughter Dani, is in her freshman year at Indiana Wesleyan University.

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Creative Technologies Kindergarten Teacher receives award


Meredith Lange of the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan presented Lauren Bostic with the Educator of the Year Award.

Meredith Lange of the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan presented Lauren Bostic with the Educator of the Year Award.

The CTA team of teachers supporting the kindergarten class and two students with Down syndrome. (L to R) Sarah Classen, special education teacher; Lauren Bostic, kindergarten teacher and award recipient; Grace Middlebrook, student; Adyson Merritt, student; Susan VanEnk, teacher aide.

The CTA team of teachers supporting the kindergarten class and two students with Down syndrome. (L to R) Sarah Classen, special education teacher; Lauren Bostic, kindergarten teacher and award recipient; Grace Middlebrook, student; Adyson Merritt, student; Susan VanEnk, teacher aide.

In recognition of World Down Syndrome Day on March 21, the Down Syndrome Association of West Michigan (DSAWM) recognized and honor Lauren Bostic, kindergarten teacher at Creative Technologies Academy (CTA) in Cedar Springs, with West Michigan’s Educator of the Year Award.

“We are thrilled to present this award to Lauren. Her commitment to serving the needs of her students is exemplified both in and out of the classroom, said Executive Director of DSAWM, Melissa Werkman. “Focused on recognizing teachers who include students with Down syndrome in learning opportunities in classrooms with typically developing peers, enhancing the lives of students through educational practices and serving as role models for their fellow educators, this award was initiated to bring attention to the many teachers in our service area, such as Lauren, who work tirelessly every day to improve the learning environment for students with special needs.”

Katie Merritt, whose seven-year-old daughter, Adyson, has Down syndrome and has been in Lauren’s class for two years, nominated Bostic. In her nomination, she shared that Bostic takes the time to learn methods that the different therapists are using and incorporates those for her entire class to use. For instance, her students do not always stand in a straight line and walk to their destination, but instead, they incorporate various gross motor skills and walk like a bear or a crab in order to use different muscles and complement what the therapists are doing. Merritt also noted the extra attention Lauren invested during the summer by continuing to meet with Adyson on a regular basis.

“We all know our children hold amazing potential, but without the help of great teachers and staff, that potential can never be achieved. We are so thankful for everything that Miss Bostic, Mrs. VanEnk and all the staff at CTA have done to support our children,” commented Merritt.

CTA held a presentation on March 21 for its kindergarten through eighth grade students to recognize Lauren and also to bring awareness to Down syndrome.

“Miss Bostic has been a dedicated teacher at Creative Technologies Academy since 2008. Her compassion and skills in working with young children are phenomenal,” said Dan George, CTA Superintendent. “She has a wonderful ability to work with students with special needs and she is devoted to helping her students succeed to their maximum ability.”

 

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CTA Saves Christmas


CTA-ToysCTA-Toys-2By CTA Third Graders

 

Students at Creative Technologies Academy raised $600 for Toys for Tots in a coin drive competition last month.  CTA was able to buy over 60 toys with the money they raised.  Students in kindergarten through eighth grade participated in this event to make sure that kids have toys under their Christmas trees.

Each class had their own bucket and brought in coins to earn points for their class.  One seventh grader, Nathan Lovett, collected $50 from his family and friends.  All of the classes raised a lot of money, but the seventh graders brought in the most.

The coin drive was organized by Kindergarten teacher, Lauren Bostic.  When she was asked why she organized the event, she said, “I love seeing our students care so much about kids.”

School leader, Dan George, agreed with Miss Bostic.  “I think it’s a great thing that students are doing,” he said. “It teaches them how to be givers, and it will give opportunities for kids to have a Christmas that wouldn’t otherwise have it.”  The students had a lot of fun with the coin drive and were happy to help other kids in need.

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Grace Tigers win national championship


Grace Tigers, coached by Cedar Springs residents Gary Bailey and Dan George, are national champions again.


Coach Gary Bailey, of Cedar Springs, and assistant coach Dan George, also of Cedar Springs, led the Tigers of Grace Bible College to their fourth straight national championship last weekend.

It was an emotional but rewarding final game to end the careers of seven seniors, as the Tigers held off a talented and persistent Valley Forge Christian College team, 77-71, to win the 2012 NCCAA II National Championship and finish the season with a 25-10 record. For the seniors, it was their fourth consecutive title.

“‘FINISH’ has been our motto,” said senior captain and CCSN Player of the Game, Matt Kurtz (Lowell).  “We want to make that a lifetime goal, not just for basketball.”  Seniors Kurtz, Cameron Myers, David Steenstra, John Oostema, Carl Getty, Ryan Krombeen, and Cory Jamieson finished well.

The Tigers built a 13-point lead at the end of the first half, 43-30, on double digit scoring from seniors Cory Jamieson (Wayland) and Ryan Krombeen (Calvin Christian), their 3-2 zone defense, and Krombeen’s rebounding. But there was no quit in the Patriots. Valley Forge came out with intense pressure at the beginning of the second half and the Tiger lead evaporated as they found themselves trailing by four midway through the second half. But there was no quit in the Tigers, either, as they fought back and built a lead of 8 points with 2 minutes to go and held off the Patriots for the win.

It was a total team effort that sealed the deal for the Tigers.  Kurtz and Krombeen combined for 26 rebounds.  Jamieson led all scorers with 23 points, junior Zach Schutte (Calvin Christian) had 19 points and 5 rebounds, Krombeen had 17 points, and senior John Oostema (Grand Rapids Christian) completed the double figure scoring for the Tigers with 10 points. Schutte and Jamieson were named to the All-Tournament Team and Jamieson was named Tournament MVP.

“We have tremendous respect for Coach John Mack and the Valley Forge team,” said Head Coach Gary Bailey, who had his father, John, on the bench for the game. “They were tremendous competitors and worthy opponents.” For Bailey and Assistant Coach Dan George, who have been together for seven years at Grace, this was their fifth national championship—2006, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012.

The Tigers wish to thank all of their fans and player families who have supported them this year!

Story courtesy of Grace Bible College

 

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