Doug Van Spronsen - All Business

Men's Volleyball
Middle Blocker
Fifth Year
6'7"


You won’t find many athletes who list their favourite TV show as CBC’s The National or their favourite class as Investment Theory. You also won’t find many students who have a spike touch of almost 12 feet and have played for Canada’s National volleyball team. Therefore you won’t find a person who better defines what it means to be a student athlete at Trinity Western University than Doug Van Spronsen.

The business major has excelled both in the classroom and on the court as a Middle for the Spartans, who have won medals at the National tournament each of his past four seasons. For Doug, doing one thing well means also doing well in the other.

“Any sport you play at a high level teaches you about teamwork, unity, goals, and how to reach those accomplishments,” says the Dawon Creek, B.C. native. “Playing volleyball here for five years has allowed me to use those characteristics that are important, and give me that competitive edge in business. I feel like a lot of the lessons that I’ve learned on the court are going to transfer over to my career, and I’ve seen that already.”

One of Doug’s biggest strengths, both on and off the court, are his leadership skills. First year Head Coach Ben Josephson, who was an assistant for three seasons at Trinity before this one, believed it from day one.
“Doug has always been our emotional leader,” says Josephson. “Since the moment he first put on the Spartan uniform he has carried us emotionally. This year he’s also picked up the role of mentor to the younger guys. He has worked hard this season at teaching the new guys what it means to be a Spartan as well as how to compete.”

For Doug, being a mentor and role model is simply a way of returning the favor to the guys that came before him.
“The Spartan Culture fosters leadership from the very beginning. When I was younger I would emulate what the older guys would do. I think now that I’m in this position there’s a greater responsibility, but there’s a lot of respect as well, both from the leaders to the people who came before us and also the younger guys to us. The community aspect makes it a lot easier to be a leader.”

That community aspect is felt all over campus, from the classrooms and study halls to the David E Enarson Gymnasium.
“The School of Business has been great because I know all of my professors and classmates. Volleyball, it’s been the same thing, from my teammates and coaches to the whole athletic staff. It’s a support network, and I feel like that’s something that sets Trinity apart. An entire community lifestyle everywhere you go, which makes it such a unique place to be.”

All of Van Spronsen’s success makes him unique too, but don’t think it’s come easily. Watching him soar over the net this year, you’d never know he overcame a major knee injury early last fall. He tore the lateral collateral ligament in his left knee, an injury so uncommon in volleyball that he had to talk to national team doctors to find the proper way to treat it. The injury limited him to 14 matches and just 7 starts, and zapped him of his incredible leaping ability. But through long hours of rehab and hard work, Doug has regained his dominance around the net.

“I’ve been blessed that I’ve been able to make a full recovery in a relatively short amount of time, although it’s felt really long at times too,” he said. “Seeing myself be able to play at a similar level as I was before has been very encouraging.”

It’s also been very encouraging to his teammates, Spartan fans, and his coach.

“Doug looks fully healthy, and he’s playing at as high a level as he was before the knee injury,” says Josephson. “His elevation is unreal. It gives him angles on the court attacking that cannot be replicated, allowing him to use the full depth and width of the court.”

As he enters his final year on campus at full strength, Doug will try and help the Spartans to their fifth consecutive appearance at Nationals. After that, perhaps a pro volleyball career or one as a financial planner. On the way he’ll be sure to teach and mentor those on his path to take care of business just like he has.

-TW-

Last Updated: 2008-04-25
Author: Jeff Kilpatrick

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