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Earl Woudstra, Walking Away



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Northwestern Women's Basketball Coach Earl Woudstra decided to step away from the game he loves two weeks ago after 17 years, a 403-139 record and four NAIA national championships with the Red Raiders, the most recent of which coming this season.

"You know it's always great to go out on top," Woudstra said, "And in the back of your mind you're thinking maybe we can do that, but the journey that the kids have been on the last couple weeks has just been amazing."

Basketball has run in Woudstra's blood from day one, you can tell by looking at his family. His oldest daughter Jaime, one of 25 All-Americans Woudstra coached, played on Northwestern's National Championship team of 2001. His oldest son, Brandon, was on the men's national title teams of 2001 and 2003. His two youngest children, Brady and Jenna, were an assisstant coach and student manager respectively for their father's teams. Even Earl's wife Karen was a player for Northwestern in the late 1970s, although she might be a tad bit happy about his retirement.

"Maybe I can take her out on a date that doesn't have to do with a basketball game, so she'll enjoy that." Woudstra said with a laugh.

Chris Yaw, a member of Woudstra's staff for the last seven years, will take the reigns as head coach of the Red Raiders, but he says Woudstra's presence will still be felt.

"You're not gonna replace Earl, you can see the people that are here today." Yaw said, "We're not the same person, but there's gonna be much of who he is, that filters through me, and that's not just on the basketball court."

While Woudstra hasn't ruled out a return to coaching sometime down the road, he's excited to get started on a new chapter in his life as just a teacher and a family man.
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