Dana Munk, associate professor of movement science
Although she now wears the hats of an administrator and faculty member, Dana Munk said she will forever turn her head when someone yells, “Coach!”
Munk coached every level of women’s college basketball for more than two decades, with stints at Saginaw Valley State University, Adrian College, Ferris State University, Hillsdale College and Eastern Michigan University.
She started as an assistant coach for Muskegon Community College when she was 19. “I lied and said I was 25,” Munk said.
While she had good success as a coach, taking teams to NCAA tournaments and league championships, Munk said she brought the best of coaching to her faculty and administrative duties at Grand Valley.
“What I loved best about coaching basketball was teaching basketball,” she said. “And this role is helping teachers teach.” Munk joined the Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center staff last year as director of part-time faculty support. She continues to teach courses in the Movement Science department.
Munk said she would have enjoyed coaching until she retired if the profession wasn’t so all consuming. “I call it the tunnel. You can’t see anything else and you tend to forget about what else is happening in the rest of the world,” she said. “You need to pace yourself in every profession, but coaching doesn’t always invite you to do that.”
It’s advice Munk shares with her students, as many will go into coaching or another sports leadership position. Munk and colleague Rick Albrecht led development of the Sports Leadership Program several years ago. Students in the program have secured diverse internships and jobs at NASCAR, West Michigan Whitecaps, Detroit Lions and YMCA, among others.
“The program is unique in that it combines business skills with knowledge of the body,” Munk said. “They get a dose of social justice and strong leadership skills. I remind them that they are a physical activity provider, even if they’re selling tickets to a ballgame, and should strive to expand opportunities for everyone.”
Munk earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Grand Valley, and worked with Joan Boand, professor emeritus of physical education. She earned a master’s degree from Central Michigan University and, at age 40, enrolled in Michigan State University’s doctoral program to study sport psychology.