Noah Miller, Josiah Beachy, and Grant Bender congratulate Coach Dwight Gingerich on his 700th win.

On November 3rd, 1981, our boys basketball team beat Shellsburg 45-31. Keith Leichty had 19 points and Doug Hochstetler had 8. That was also the first career win for first year head coach Dwight Gingerich. He was just getting started. 

His 100th career win was January 27th, 1990 at Iowa City Regina 89-50. That was the first win ever against Regina. Mike Hershberger had 22 points, Ryan Hostetler had 19 and 10 steals, Jason Hershberger had 18 points, and Tim Leichty had 12.

The 200th win came on December 17th, 1994 against Clear Creek Amana 75-71 at Hillcrest Union. Aaron Springer had 25 points, Ryan Chupp 18, and Jason Rhodes 10.

Win number 300 came on January 4th, 2000 beating Lone Tree at Lone Tree 90-45. In that game there were 10 made 3s. Adam Yoder had 20 points, with 5 3s. Luke Gingerich had 13 points, and Jace Bailey 12 points.

Gingerich’s 400th career win was on January 25th, 2005 against L-M 73-45. Jonathan Hershberger double-double led the way with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Career win number 500 came on January 26th, 2010 with a win over Mediapolis 61-51 at Hillcrest Union. Jackson Brokaw 17 points and Truman Shetler and Chance Miller had 13 points each.

The 600th career win might have been the most special. On December 20th, 2014 with a win over Winfield Mt. Union 48-40 at Hillcrest Union. Dwight’s son Eli was the leading scorer in that game with 16 points. This accomplishment was later honored in Des Moines at the 2015 Boys State Basketball Tournament by the Iowa High School Athletic Association.

Fast forward to his 40th season when coach Gingerich won his 700th game on December 11, beating Rivermont Collegiate 63-26. Ending the 2021 part of the season and going into Christmas break, Gingerich’s record is now at 702-210 making his winning percentage .768 which is 2nd all-time for coaches in top 6, and he has coached the second fewest number of games of those in the top 6. Currently Gingerich is 6th in state history for total number of wins and that total is the most wins at a single school for any coach in state history. Gingerich has had just four losing seasons, none since 1996, which is a string of 25 consecutive winning seasons. Across his 38 seasons he has averaged 18 wins per year against just six losses. His teams have won at least 15 games in a season 28 times and at least 20 games 20 times. Beginning in 1988, Gingerich’s teams have qualified for the state tournament in Des Moines 12 times, finishing as runner-up four times and winning the 1992 State championship. Another interesting stat is out of over 900 game days, one could assume half of them are played at home. That’s roughly 450 pregame meals and a lot of spaghetti! And there’s a rumor out there, one of his teams ate at Spaghetti Works in Des Moines six times during their State tournament run!

On that November day back in 1981, little did the young, enthusiastic coach know about the role he would play in the lives of so many student athletes not just at our school, but in the community. Almost 250 players, 15 different assistant coaches, and around 35 managers were a part of Gingerich’s teams over the years. And on the current team, there are 6 players who have fathers who were also coached by Gingerich. It wasn’t just the white socks or the preseason haircuts; the impact that Gingerich had on his players was something that soaked into their soul just like sweat into their tucked in practice jerseys.

But it wasn’t just basketball. Gingerich’s coaching success wasn’t only in a sport with two baskets, it also included a sport with a net strung across the hardwood. Gingerich coached girls volleyball from 1995-2007 and again for one year in 2010. Over that time he had a record of 371-111-20 for a winning percentage of .739. He was volleyball coach for 11 of the 13 winningest seasons in school history and all of the top 3 seasons. Those 3 most successful seasons ended with his teams at the State tournament in 1998, 1999, and 2001 with a Final Four berth in 1999. 

As a volleyball coach, Gingerich had the opportunity to directly impact even more lives. During those years, more than 80 players, 7 different assistant coaches, and a handful of managers were a part of his teams. And that was just at the varsity level. Gingerich coached fresh-soph and JV volleyball for over a decade before becoming the varsity coach in 1995. Overall, in both sports Gingerich coached a combined 43 All-State athletes, 30 in basketball and 13 in volleyball.

Congratulations Dwight. You truly are one of the best at what you do. 

Following the Alumni Night game on December 21, to celebrate this incredible accomplishment everyone kept their seats in Hillcrest Union as a video played featuring almost 60 former players, managers, and assistant coaches who were a part of Dwight’s success. You can watch the video HERE. Following the video presentation, everyone was invited to congratulate Dwight in the main lobby at a cookie reception of sugar cookies in the shape of the number 700. 

Also after the game, Zach Ulin from KCII Radio caught up with Gingerich and he talked about his milestone and about what the number 700 means to him. “First of all, it means I’ve been here for a while. I’ve been blessed with a ton of players that have been willing to do what the current team has been willing to do. Go out, go hard, play together as a team, be pushed. None of the numbers like this happen without that kind of commitment and players that we have had come through the program all these years. I think back on year one, two, three, it’s really easy for me to still remember those guys and I appreciate them all. Assistant coaches have been a huge part of it too. Ron Swartzendruber has been a big part of all of this for a lot of years. This feels like something you celebrate with all of those people. That includes my family. I was a lucky enough guy to be able to coach my two sons through this. There have been some really great moments and some really hard moments, like anything in life. I feel fortunate to still be in this role. I still enjoy it. There’s a lot of joy for me in doing this. I feel lucky to still do it.”