Nancy Meyer ’78, Calvin athletics director and Calvin women’s cross country coach emeritus, has been selected for induction to the United States Track and Field Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Hall of Fame.
Meyer is part of a seven-member class and is the only inductee from an NCAA Division III institution.
Her induction comes on the heels of a deco- rated 42-year career in teaching, coaching, and administration at Calvin University.
“I am incredibly surprised and honored,” said Meyer. “To be inducted with such a prestigious class of coaches is truly humbling. The many runners that I have coached all share in this award. I would not be receiving this award without them. I have been privileged to coach so many talented and gifted young women. To coach them at my alma mater was a blessing.”
“I am incredibly happy for Nancy and her family,” said Jim Timmer ’90, director of athletics. “She has poured so much into Calvin as well as to our league and to Division III athletics. She has done so with great success. To see her receive this award is a great honor for her and for Calvin University. We are extremely proud to call her a Hall of Famer.”
Meyer began her teaching and coaching career at Calvin in 1979 after completing her master’s degree from the University of Arizona. During her early Calvin coaching days, she led the men’s and women’s swim- ming and diving programs as well as its women’s tennis program. She departed in the summer of 1983 to complete her doctorate from the University of Northern Colorado. She completed her doctoral degree in 1986 and returned to Calvin that same year.
It didn’t take long for Meyer to turn the Knights into a juggernaut at the conference level, leading the women’s tennis team to back-to-back MIAA titles in 1981 and 1982. But the mark of a Hall of Fame coach is being able to turn that conference success into regional and national triumphs, some- thing the women’s cross country team had in spades under Meyer.
From 1988 to 2003, Calvin was unmatched in the MIAA and the Great Lakes Region. During that span, the Knights won 16 consecutive conference titles and won all but one regional crown.
Calvin qualified for the NCAA Division III Cross Country Championships for the first time in 1989 and three years later got its first taste of the podium with a runner-up finish to SUNY Cortland. That would be a familiar sight at the NCAA meet in each of the next two years as the Red Dragons, coached by USTFCCCA Hall of Famer Jack Daniels, proved to be the foil for the Meyer-led Knights, as they finished in the same positions in 1993 and 1994.
As the decade drew to a close, Meyer finally reached the top of the podium after two more top-four finishes. Calvin won back-to- back titles in 1998 and 1999 to make Meyer just the third coach in NCAA DIII history to lead a women’s program to consecutive crowns. The Knights were paced by Amy Mizzone Horevay ’99 and Lisa Timmer Alles ’00, both of whom finished in the top 15 in back-to-back years.
Meyer, a two-time National Coach of the Year and eight-time Regional Coach of the Year, stepped down in 2006. During her time as Calvin head women’s cross country coach, she coached Calvin runners to All-America honors 24 times, including an individual national championship performance by Renea Bluekamp Walkotten ‘95 in 1992.
During her time at Calvin, Meyer spent six years on the NCAA Division III National Committee for Cross Country and Indoor and Outdoor Track and Field. “Those were six very busy years,” said Meyer. “It was pretty much a year-round commitment, but I learned and grew so much from my committee members along with the experiences we all shared. It was a very valuable experience for me both as a coach and as an administrator.”
After stepping down from the Calvin women’s cross country program, Meyer remained an integral part of the Calvin athletic department as an athletics director/athletics compliance director and as a full-time professor in the Calvin kinesiology department before retiring at the end of the 2020–2021 academic year.