Morgantown’s Yester is boys’ Coach of Year

Mohigans tied school record for wins (23)


The Dominion Post

Morgantown High boys’ head basketball coach Tom Yester has been coaching for a while. Of his 41 years on the bench, 38 have been as a head coach, 29 of those at MHS.

His latest season was one of his finest.

The Mohigans entered the 2010-’11 season with only one returning starter, but still finished with a record of 23-4 and made the state semifinals. Those 23 wins tied an MHS record for most wins in a season (the 1987 Mohigans went 23-2). For his efforts, Yester has been named The Dominion Post’s Coach of the Year.

“It’s nice that somebody recognizes that I’m doing something correctly, but truthfully, I’m more concerned with the kids,” Yester said. “I’m gracious but not worried too much about personal accolades.”

Yester was also named the NCAC Coach of the Year. Asked about that accomplishment, he again deflected praise to his players.

“This was such a good group of kids,” he said. “The seniors were terrific, the younger kids blended well and, hopefully, they pass that along to the next group of kids coming in.”

Though he wouldn’t pat himself on the back, MHS athletic director Dan Erenrich was more than happy to.

“I think it’s well deserved. Sometimes people think just because it’s Morgantown Hight that we’ll win. What he does gets taken for granted,” Erenrich said. “I compare it to the women’s basketball coach at UConn (Geno Auriemma). Just because it’s UConn, people tend to forget just how good he is.”

Senior Evan Berryhill was the Mohigans’ lone returning starter.

“When you lose all your starters and all of a sudden are a state contender, that says a lot,” Erenrich said. “The way he encourages the kids to work in the offseason ... I think this was one of his best coaching years.”

The Mohigans succeeded despite playing one of the state’s most difficult schedules. Morgantown’s four losses came against the state’s top two ranked teams to end the regular season (No. 1 Wheeling Park, No. 2 Preston); against Woodrow Wilson, which was ranked No. 3 when it played MHS; and to the eventual state champion, George Washington.

All the while, Yester suffered from arthritis of the hip.

“He was in so much pain he considered taking a leave before the season ended. He wanted to make sure he could be a participant in his daughter’s wedding,” Erenrich said.

Yester debated calling it a year, but his players talked him into sticking around.

“He was struggling even before the year started,” MHS senior Taylor Price said. “If we lost our head coach midway through the season, that would have been a tough transition. So, I have to give him a lot of credit for sticking it out.”

The pain forced Yester to used a cane late in the season. He had corrective surgery once the season was over.

“Some people said maybe that helped us because I wasn’t screaming and jumping around,” Yester joked.

Because of the pain, Yester relied on his assists more than in previous years.

“I have to give a lot of credit to coach Denny Crouso and coach Dennis Kerns,” Yester said. “They took practice every day. I did the planning, but they had to do a lot of the actual implementation.”

Tom Yester endured the pain of an arthritic hip to guide Morgantown High to the state semifinals.