By Mike Deak
NAPPANEE – There’s not really anyone like Adam Yoder currently coaching girls golf. A true character on and off the course, he took a very leisurely regarded sport and turned NorthWood into a household name in area golf.
On Wednesday, Yoder announced to his team that he is resigning after 14 years in the cart riding alongside Oreo the Panther for one of the true area dynasties.
Yoder, who started off the pandemic in March of 2020 with the surprise announcement he was stepping away from the Black Swish just days after leading the team to a state title, made his golf announcement just days after NorthWood competed at the IHSAA State Finals. Yoder took the team to a program-best fourth straight finals, where the team finished 13th and senior Cybil Stillson finished 11th in the individual standings. Yoder also presided over two IHSAA Mental Attitude Award winners in Stillson this past weekend and Maddy Payne at the 2020 girls basketball state finals.
Setting records was a modus operandi for Yoder as head coach. Beginning as a coach for a program that had little to no historical relevance, Yoder started the rise of girls golf at McCormick Creek. Gina Yoder was an individual state champ in 1988 and the team had one regional qualification when Yoder took over, and in 2008 the team really began to make some moves.
NorthWood would string together an unbelievable run of eight straight Northern Lakes Conference championships, and after Concord took the title last year, NorthWood reclaimed it this fall. Yoder guided over two dozen athletes to All-NLC status, Yoder’s 9-2 mark in nine-hole matches in 2021 left his career mark at 159-21 in his 14 years, losing just two matches between 2012-20. Just one of those losses came in NLC play dating back to 2011 and the team rattled off 68 straight wins between 2014-20.
He also guided two golfers, Stillson and Amy Thompson, to top-10 finishes at the IHSAA State Finals. But it wasn’t just the household names that made an impact for the longtime coach.
“Love and family,” noted Yoder. “I’ve been around enough high school sports to know that this is a special program because of so many people and those two key things (love and family). I have no doubt that will continue under our next coach’s leadership. Everyone matters and everyone is loved.”
Yoder and NorthWood did not confirm an immediate successor to the position, but Yoder did note he does feel assistant coach Payton Grubbs is well-prepared to continue the legacy. “He is interested and has my full endorsement.”