David (Dave) Mantel, Redeemer’s longtime athletic director, passed away on May 4, 2021, after a courageous battle with cancer. This past Saturday on October 2, his legacy was honoured with the official naming of the university’s outdoor soccer field as the David Mantel Field.
“Dave was the heart of Redeemer’s athletics program for 15 years,” said interim president Dr. David Zietsma during the ceremony. “He was dedicated not only to the athletics program but to the students and academic mission of Redeemer.”
During his time as a Redeemer student, Mantel received athletic and academic accolades. As an alumnus, he served as both assistant and head coach of the men’s soccer team before taking on the role of athletics director in 2005. His exceptional leadership skills were acknowledged by the OCAA coach of the year award in 2003-2004. Under his guidance, the men’s indoor soccer team won their first OCAA Provincial Championship in 2007-2008.
“He pushed his students to follow their Lord and and God, and he pushed them to grow in their character even as they competed.”
“He raised the bar for coaches and he raised the bar for students,” continued Zietsma. “Above everything, Dave had a unique combination of striving for excellence in athletics and striving for excellence in life. He pushed his students to follow their Lord and God, and he pushed them to grow in their character even as they competed.”
Brad Douwes, a former co-worker of Dave and head coach of the women’s volleyball teams, described how Mantel fostered an athletics culture characterized by excellence, respect and care.
“Like any good competitor, Dave’s vision for the Royals was to win. But, winning alone wasn’t enough. He insisted that the Royals win with character. As a leader, Dave was passionate about developing student-athletes in a way that would enhance their skills and allow them to positively impact the world.”
This passion was shared beyond Redeemer’s campus to the wider athletic community.
“As a well-respected member of the OCAA, Dave also shared his beliefs about sport and character with his colleagues,” said Douwes. “He would often lead conversations regarding the importance of developing the whole student-athlete. Dave was not one to speak often, but, when he did, people respected him and listened.”
“Dave was not one to speak often, but, when he did, people respected him and listened.”
The tangible legacy of Mantel’s work and vision include Redeemer’s student-athlete leadership team, student-athlete mentorship program and the Royals outstanding character award, now known as the David Mantel character award. Mantel’s dream was to establish a significant scholarship to financially support student-athletes. He learned before passing, about Redeemer’s plans to move forward with The David Mantel Memorial Athletic Scholarship. Mantel’s goal was to provide scholarships for men and women on each of Redeemer’s varsity sports teams, which totals to $200,000. So far, this is nearly halfway complete with $90,000 raised.
“Thank you to each of you who have contributed to The David Mantel Memorial Athletic Scholarship,” said associate vice president, external relations Hank de Jong. “We greatly appreciate your support of Redeemer athletics in this unique way through providing funds to those with high-end athletic talent as well as strong Christian character and leadership potential.”
The sign for the David Mantel Field was officially unveiled underneath the scoreboard. A commemorative plaque can also be seen at the field’s entrance.
If you would like to make a donation to The David Mantel Memorial Athletic Scholarship, please do so here.