Lynden Christian has found former baseball coach Desi Luna’s successor, and the Lyncs have tabbed one of their own to get the program going in the right direction.
LC Athletic Director Curt De Haan revealed in a press release Tuesday, June 30, that the Lynden Christian School Board has approved the hiring of Daniel Vander Kooi to fill the vacant baseball coaching position.
“My wife Erin and I are both very excited,” Vander Kooi said in a phone interview. “I coached at Nooksack Valley for five years and graduated from Lynden Christian in 2001 and played under John Rozeboom, who was there for 20-plus years. ... I’m really excited to be a part of the Lynden Christian community.”
Vander Kooi will be relied upon to help revitalize a LC baseball program that finished the spring with a 3-19 record.
He’s been coaching middle school baseball, softball and girls’ basketball but also has a successful track record coaching in the Northwest Conference.
Vander Kooi coached Nooksack Valley from 2005-10 and in 2007 led the Pioneers to a 16-9 record and a third-place state finish.
His first priority, he said, will be getting Lynden Christian’s top athletes to come out for baseball.
“I think the bottom line is when you’re a smaller school you need the best athletes to play your sport,” Vander Kooi said. “So when we can have contact with the kids, its getting coaches in the living rooms and talking to them about what brand of baseball we are going to play.”
Vander Kooi spoke of extremely structured practices, ones in which players are moving station to station and drills are timed down to the minute. He also brings with him a coaching staff with extensive, high-level coaching experience.
“We tend to have a very aggressive (playing) style,” Vander Kooi said. “In games we want to be aggressive and take the extra base. We are not going to yell if someone gets thrown out going from first to third. We are going to play an aggressive brand of baseball, and that is who we are as a coaching staff.”
Vander Kooi enjoyed a wealth of success as a player at LC. Under Rozeboom, his teams reached state each of the four years he played.
In 2001, Vander Kooi’s senior season, Lynden Christian placed took third during the state tournament — a finish Vander Kooi believed is the best in program history.
He’ll certainly be looking to develop that type of success in his newfound coaching role.
“Not only do we want to teach baseball, but we want to invest in the kids and teach them how to be men of God and build their character and focus on teaching them life lessons,” Vander Kooi said. “I’m just excited for the opportunity.”