TOPEKA — One piece of advice a veteran coach gave Randy Yoder when he took over the Westview High School girls basketball program was you will know when the time is right for you to get out.
After coaching for 43 total seasons (26 as the girls coach), 353 varsity wins, seven sectional titles and a Class 2A state runner-up finish in 2006, Yoder had decided his time has come.
“After much prayer and consideration, the time just seemed right to focus more time and energy toward family and other areas of my life. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity that Westview gave me. The relationships and memories that I have made are very, very special,” said Yoder in his letter of resignation sent to Dr. Randy Miller Tuesday morning.
Miller is the Superintendent of the Westview School Corporation.
“I want to thank the administration and our AD, Darlene Mathew, for their unwavering support through the years. I am thankful for all the many players that I have had the privilege to work with and for the support of their parents and our fans. The coaches that I got to work with were unbelievable and were a big part of the success that we were able to achieve. Last, but not least, all but five years of my marriage I have been coaching basketball, and there is no way that I could have coached that long without Judy’s amazing support. It has truly been a team effort.
“God has blessed us richly, and it has been an honor to represent Westview in this capacity for so long.”
Randy and his twin brother, Roger, began their coaching careers together in 7th-grade boys basketball at Westview. The brothers spent their last four years coaching together at the high school JV level.
“Both of us had kids that were getting involved in events and your kids are only that age once,” Yoder said.
It wasn’t long before Westview came calling.
“(Principal) Stan Shopa asked me if I would consider taking over the girls program,” Yoder said. “The program had been through four coaches in a period of five years. Stan asked me to stay for three years. The timing was right but I never would have dreamed I would stay for 26 years.”
Yoder guided the Warriors to sectional championships in 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016. In 2006, Westview won the only regional and semistate crowns in program history before finishing as the runner-up to Heritage Christian.
Randy is a 1973 Westview graduate. He played on the team that won the first-ever boys basketball sectional in school history. The Warriors defeated Fairfield, 55-47, to win the East Noble sectional in the single-class tournament. Westview defeated Fort Wayne North 82-71 in the regional semifinal before the season ended in a 64-63 overtime loss to Fort Wayne Northrop. The Warriors finished 21-3 for coach Denny Foster.
“I’ve had some tremendous mentors along the away in playing for Coach Foster and then working with Troy Neely and Gerald Eash,” Yoder said.
One of Randy’s teammates on the 1973 team was Gary Yoder, who held all the Westview scoring records until they were broken over the past two seasons by Charlie Yoder.
“Gary was something special,” Randy said. “He was 6-foot-4 but he was very versatile.”
Randy and Roger Yoder won a farm. It was a dairy farm until 2006.
“We have plenty of work on the farm to keep busy. There is also some volunteer work I would like to do now that I have the time,” Randy said.