Safety liaison Daane Spielmaker has a Hall of Fame background

Emma Beck, Staff Writer

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At FHC, safety liaison Daane Spielmaker, the tall man with the pepper-flaked hair, struts through the halls in his school apparel. He watches over the students as they hustle to class and talk amongst their fellow classmates.

Spielmaker has been working for FHC for ten years. He oversees the students and gives them helpful little nudges in the right direction. Spielmaker tries his best to connect with students and get a better understanding of what they’re going through.

“I really enjoy getting to know the students and helping them with whatever comes up in the daily grind of high school,” Spielmaker said. “Most kids just need to feel that we truly care, and [that they are being] listened to.”

Spielmaker, who has two daughters of his own, knows ways to connect with kids. Just like any other teen, his daughters were heavily involved with sports as well. Even Spielmaker himself was involved in numerous sports and knows how it can be hard balancing athletics and school.

“[When playing a sport] you do what you have to do [to keep everything balanced]; you stay up a little later and sleep when you can,” Spielmaker said. “It was a lot harder in college, I can tell you that…you get help when you need it and get support from your friends and family.”

Spielmaker grew up in the world of sports. He attended Catholic Central High School and played basketball, football, and baseball. From the start, Spielmaker knew he had a gift that encouraged his love for sports. As a sophomore, he played a couple games on the varsity football team; he was on the varsity baseball team from sophomore year until graduation; and when it came to basketball, he played varsity his junior and senior year.

To make it simple, he was a natural-born athlete.

Spielmaker graduated high school and continued on to the University of Notre Dame. He continued to pursue his passion in the world of sports by playing college football.  He was on the team as a defensive back and has records from 1981 to 1982.

Punt & Kick Returns

Punt Ret Kick Ret
Year School Conf Class Pos Games Ret Yds Avg TD Ret Yds Avg TD
1981 Notre Dame Ind DB 11 1 4 4.0 0
1982 Notre Dame Ind DB 11
Career Notre Dame 1 4 4.0 0

Defense & Fumbles

Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos Games Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
1981 Notre Dame Ind DB 11
1982 Notre Dame Ind DB 11 1 4 4.0 0
Career Notre Dame 1 4 4.0 0

In college at Notre Dame, Spielmaker not only played football but also majored in business. When he graduated, he soon realized sales was not one of his passions. In turn, he decided to switch into marketing.

After marrying his high school sweetheart and having two kids of his own, Spielmaker became a stay at home dad for his two daughters, Maddy and Aly. While taking care of his girls, he coached a football team for a small Catholic school in Wisconsin. After a couple of years, he and his family moved back to Grand Rapids, where he helped coach the FHC football team for five seasons.

While he coached football, he worried about the amount of time he was dedicating to his family. He spent most of his time bonding with the boys, running drills, and going to the games. Yet, Spielmaker made sure that his family had at least one night where they could spend together by having a weekly family dinner. When Spielmaker was offered a job inside the building, he couldn’t resist. This would mean he would get more time in the afternoons to spend with his family along with having a steady job.

While Spielmaker has been working for FHC and gaining a reputation as a respected adult, he continues to have a deep connection with high school athletics. This year he has been awarded with the Cougars Honor. This is an award given to an alumni of Catholic Central who have not only succeeded in academics but athletics as well. People are chosen every year by an elite board of people, then are later awarded with a plaque that is placed in the Catholic Central Hall of Fame.

Trevor Hinshaw, athletic director of CC, explained how the board of directors can nominate people for past years who have succeeded in athletics to be a part of the Hall of Fame. It is a confidential nomination, so the name of the nominator is still unknown. For student-athletes, nominees must have graduated with at least five years previous to the nomination, and excelled in his or her sport(s).

“His nomination was taken into a lot of consideration by the board,” Hinshaw said. “To them, Spielmaker stood out from the rest of the candidates, allowing him to be given this high honor.”

The time and consideration that it takes to be a part of the Catholic Central Hall of Fame shows how great an honor it can be to be nominated, as well as giving the nominee a great deal of pride. There were about 20 people at the ceremony, all ages and all alumni. To Spielmaker it was cool too see all the ages come together to receive such a great honor.“It is a great and humbling honor,” Spielmaker said. “I always felt my abilities were God-given and that I should be thankful for them.”

Without sports, Spielmaker’s life would have been very different. He now encourages students to go out for a high school sport.

“I believe team sports teach many lessons that cannot be explained to a person–they must be experienced! My life would not be nearly as rich as it is due to the bonds that are formed through sweat and blood and teamwork,” Spielmaker said. “Also, because of Notre Dame football, I have friends all over the country that I can call on at any time. To me, the love of sports makes everyday a better day because of the common ground it provides with so many different people.”

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7 Comments

7 Responses to “Safety liaison Daane Spielmaker has a Hall of Fame background”

  1. Sue Spielmaker on January 3rd, 2017 9:26 pm

    I have always been so proud of my son, Daane. He is loved and admired by his siblings, friends, and relatives for the authentic person he is. Always ready to tell funny stories about his years growing up in the Spielmaker house! I know he feels honored to be in the “Hall of Fame” as are we all too . Bless you Daane!! Love mom..

    [Reply]

    Sue Spielmaker Reply:

    I am very proud of my son and his Hall of Fame induction. He is admired by his friends and family for who he is and what he stands for . An authentic person to the core!! God bless..love Mom!

    [Reply]

  2. Mary Milanowski on January 3rd, 2017 10:48 pm

    What a great article about Daane Spielmaker! I am his Aunt & Godmother & worked at FH in special ed. He is so great for this job because he relates to high school age students & definitely would do what he can to help them! He came from a large loving family & has lots of stories about sharing a bedroom with four brothers! He was a tremendous athlete but never bragged & had many friends from all walks of life. His wife was also successful & he did a wonderful job as stay at home dad. Not to many daughters can say they learned to fly fish from their dad! Yes he is also a great Fisherman. Thanks to my FH friend who shared this on Facebook or I probably would have never seen it. I shared & got so many comments. Way to go SPIELDADDY! Thanks to you Emma Beck!

    [Reply]

    MARGO HUVER Reply:

    What a great article. Emma you have done an awesome description of the wonderful human being that Daane Spielmaker is. I have known Daane since he was in the first grade at St. Thomas School. My son Todd was in his grade and participated with him in sports through high school. My three sons all went to St. Thomas and their sports program. Many time with the coaching of Daane’s father Bruce. With all the sporting ad school events our family spent a lot of time with the Spielmakers. Both Bruce and Sue Spielmaker were great role models for their entire family as well as many others.
    Congratulations Daane, you are very deserving of this award. Very proud of you.
    Love you and your family,
    Margo Huver

    [Reply]

  3. Jeanne Schierloh on January 4th, 2017 8:22 pm

    I was a secretary at Thornapple Elementary School when Maddy was a student there. Daane is a genuinely great person and devoted dad. I am so thankful I got to know him.

    [Reply]

  4. Patti Wilterdink Wojtaszek on January 5th, 2017 12:02 am

    Congratulations Daane, what an incredible honor for you. As I look back on our high school years I have so many fond memories of you and your family.
    You were always known as the nice, well rounded, supportive and very caring guy and an awesome athlete.
    You are a perfect person to be there for other students and athletes. I’m sure you have made such an impact on so many lives you have touched so unconditionally.
    Your parents definitely raised you to make a difference in people’s lives, and that is what you have done. May God continue to bless you with the many talents that he has given you to keep making a positive impact on your students and others.
    Receiving this type of award Is a hugh honor one that you certainly deserve.

    Patti Wilterdink Wojtaszek ????

    [Reply]

  5. Jennifer Naimo morales on January 5th, 2017 1:20 pm

    Daane!
    Wow ..I lost track of this wonderful guy!
    He was awe inspiring and handsome and humble…and it looks like he never lost that foundation and has taught it to his family and all the kid he’s inspiring at FHS.
    Daane..so proud of youl.
    Jennifer Naimo Morales

    [Reply]

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