ELKHART — Rob Yoder sounded genuinely stunned.
In an area season perceived to be chock full of masterful boys basketball coaching jobs, Yoder, who guided Westview to Class 2A state runner-up honors, was named as The Elkhart Truth Area Coach of the Year for the third time in his 11-year career on Friday, April 11.
"Wow. I just have to say I'm really humbled, because I respect the coaches in our area an awful lot," Yoder said. "There are some guys who are very deserving, and I'm really humbled that the coaches would choose me."
Truth Coach of the Year
Rob Yoder (Westview) 8
Al Rhodes (Penn) 4.5
Ronnie Thomas (Nridge) 2.5
Aaron Wolfe (NorthWood) 2
Steve Austin (Concord) 1
Ryan Culp (ECA) 1
2014: Rob Yoder (Westview)
2013: Steve Austin (Concord)
2012: Mark Barnhizer (Elkhart Memorial)
2011: Rob Yoder (Westview)
2010: Phil Mishler (Wawasee)
2009: Jason Ridge (Northridge)
2008: Rob Yoder (Westview)
2007: Dan Gunn (NorthWood)
2006: Steve Johnson (Elkhart Memorial)
2005: Ryan Culp (Concord)
Ballots from all 14 area coaches were collected and combined with five Truth staffer ballots.
While a whopping half-dozen coaches were mentioned, Yoder still won relatively comfortably with eight votes, seven of those coming from his peers.
Penn's Al Rhodes was next with 4.5 votes (a few voters split their ballots). Second-year Northridge coach Ronnie Thomas received 2.5 votes, NorthWood's Aaron Wolfe two votes, and Concord's Steve Austin and Elkhart Christian Academy's Ryan Culp one vote apiece.
Earlier this week, Rhodes and Wolfe were among just six individuals statewide selected as Indiana Basketball Coaches Association District boys coaches of the year. Rhodes and Wolfe each guided their respective teams to the best record in program history, 23-2 for the Kingsmen, 21-3 for the Panthers.
"I'm really grateful to our entire staff and to our players," Yoder said. "I don't know about all sports, but at least in basketball, I don't think awards are really individual. You either win as a team or you don't. I don't care if you're the leading scorer or what you are. It's very much a team game, and it takes a lot of people working, so I'm happy for all our players and coaches. This is their award as much as mine."
Yoder, the first coach to guide any area boys basketball team to a state title game in 10 years, was also chosen for the Truth's honor in 2008 and 2011.
He joins Austin (1996, 1998 and 2013) as the only individuals ever to win the award outright three times.
Yoder and the unranked Warriors (23-5) knocked off No. 5-rated, 21-3 Hammond Noll and No. 7-rated, 22-2 Cass along their six-win path to the State Finals, where they fell to top-ranked Indianapolis Park Tudor.
Over the last nine years, Yoder has steered Westview to a 173-52 record with six sectional titles and three regional crowns. He owns a 6-0 record all-time in regional semifinals and a 9-3 mark in regionals overall.
With a fourth consecutive 20-win season this past winter, the Warriors tied Bill Milliner's 1950-51 to 1953-54 Elkhart High clubs for most in a row all-time by an area boys program.
Westview graduates four starters from this past season's team, including All-Area first-teamer Jordyn Bontrager. Second-teamer Chander Aspy is the lone individual among the top six scorers slated to return.