Core values: Local father balances family, coaching

Josh VanDyke • Jun 16, 2018 at 2:00 PM

SPRING LAKE — When it comes to Spring Lake athletics, few people are more entrenched in its DNA than Bill Core.

Whether he's pacing the sidelines during the winter basketball season, patrolling the third-base line during the spring softball season, manning the press box as the color commentator during the fall football season or planning events as the Spring Lake Area Recreation Commission director, his schedule always seems to be filled with something.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Core is also the father of three young athletes in the area — with Jenna, 16; Jackson, 14; and Jaden, 11, all participating in various sports at both the school and club levels.

How does he manage to be a coach, father and role model? It never hurts to have a little organization and a quality teammate at home.

"At home, my wife, Tracy, is the athletic director," Core said. "She's the perfect coach's wife. She understands the time commitment involved in coaching if you want to be successful at it, and she rolls with it. Sometimes that means we have family dinners at 9 p.m. and sometimes that means we have family dinners at 3 p.m. We have to have balance in order for our busy schedules to work, and she makes that possible. She's the kids’ No. 1 fan, and she's always cheering them on whenever she's at their games.

"She's the one who organizes the schedules and keeps everything updated, too,” he continued. “We have to be organized with so many things going on at the same time. We have different colored pens that highlight different schedules for each of the kids, and I also have schedules for the teams that I coach. It's not for every family, but it's the only way we know how to operate."

With so many moving parts, the key to success for the Core family is to take on each day as its own obstacle and focus all their energy on that particular task.

"The biggest thing is that we all understand that we have to take it one day at a time," he said. "We don't look too far down the road and plan for things even a few days from now. We just worry about today. The second we start looking ahead, that's when we forget something. So, we take each day as its own challenge and plan for that hurdle first."

With three kids playing organized sports and only two parents to attend games, sometimes the Core family needs an assist from fellow local families. That support system in the Spring Lake community has gone a long way for all involved.

"It takes a village to help raise people, but we have great family support," Core said. "We have three kids and there's only two of us, so sometimes we split up and try and cover things. We have my mother-in-law go out there to support one of our kids if we can't make it to a game, and we try and rotate who goes to what games so both Tracy and I can see all of our kids play.

"We have great support in the neighborhood, too,” he continued. “We have carpools set up and different families will take turns driving kids to games and practices to make it easier on other parents. ... It's situations like that where we have to lean on others to help us clear all those scheduling hurdles."

Core also credits his assistant coaches as critical components to his successful schedule juggling.

"Having people like Kolbey Nelson, Sarah Bulthuis and Randy White is a phenomenal luxury," he said. "For example, Monday night, our boys varsity summer league basketball team is going to Muskegon for a basketball camp, but I have to take one of our kids to a tournament. Randy will be taking the varsity basketball team out there and handling that, so I can handle my responsibilities as a dad. Sometimes during the softball season, Kolbey and Sarah will start practice when I'm at a meeting.

“All of them put in so much time and effort into mostly unpaid positions. They are amazing people who are so selfless with their time. Sometimes you're only as good as your supporting cast, and I have a pretty good one in the coaching ranks."

Various vacations

Year-round sports seasons make vacationing difficult, but the Core family attempts to find some family time in the form of quick trips Up North, as well as a few trips to destination locations.

"We try to take a trip to Disney World in Florida every few years, and we are going there again at the end of July this summer," he said. "We have to inform all our travel league coaches that the entire Core family will be gone for this particular week. We try and give them eight or nine months notice so they can just plan on us being away.

"So, we always try to get away for one week during the summer to unwind and spend some quality time together in a non-stressful setting,” he added. “My parents live in Traverse City, so we try and get a mini trip up there when we can. Every once in awhile we'll get a rare three-day weekend, and take an impromptu trip Up North to visit them."

Family dynamics

Core also has to manage being his daughter's coach during the softball season. While it might be easy to show favoritism, he likes to keep things level on the competitive field.

"We believe that we do a good job of keeping things objective," he admitted. "When we get home, that's a different story. If she hits a home run during a game, she gets a high-five like everyone else. When we get back home, then I'll give her a big hug and tell her how proud I am of her and what a great game she played.

"Jenna is very coachable, and she makes it easy for me to be her coach,” he continued. “Every once in awhile she'll call me dad instead of coach, but we're OK with that. I don't know if coaching my sons will be quite that easy. Jenna doesn't question things as much as they do. I'm sure once they get older, they'll start second-guessing me during games and asking follow-up questions after I make a call. We'll have to cross that bridge when we get there, though."

With a long history of balancing multiple job titles and responsibilities, it would be no surprise to see Bill Core continue to excel as both a coach and father. However, as he racks up the wins as a coach, the memories made as a father may loom the largest.

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