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Mark Yoder returns to lead men's basketball program

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. – Bethel College’s athletic director Diane Flickner announced today that Mark Yoder will return to the bench to head up the men’s basketball program at Bethel College.

Yoder coached at Bethel College from 1993-98. During his tenure, he led the team to its first winning season in eight years. In the 1996-97 season, the Threshers won 18 games, third most in school history, and Yoder was named Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. He followed up the very next season by coaching the Threshers to 19 wins, the second best record in school history.

Before he came to Bethel, Yoder served as head men’s basketball coach at Hesston College, 1986-93. In that time, he directed the Larks to their first-ever back-to-back winning seasons and first-ever appearance in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II tournament. During Yoder’s tenure at Hesston, the Larks returned to the national tournament twice more, and also recorded the most wins in a season with 24.

Yoder left Bethel to coach men’s basketball at Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University, where he had received his undergraduate degree in physical education in 1982 and had served as the Sunbirds’ assistant men’s basketball coach until taking the head coaching job at Hesston. Yoder served as FPU’s head coach from 1998-2005. While he was there, the Sunbirds made three conference tournament appearances in the very competitive Golden State Athletic Conference.

Yoder earned his masters in education from Wichita State University in sports administration in 1993. This past year, he has been serving as KCAC commissioner.

“I am very excited to be back at Bethel College and back on the sidelines,” Yoder said. “It became very clear this past year that my passion is working directly with college students, helping them to navigate the years leading to independent adulthood.

“From a basketball standpoint, I know that I am taking over a quality program,” he continued. “Gary Chupp has done an outstanding job these past nine years and I hope to continue to build the program with outstanding student-athletes. I am very appreciative of Diane Flickner and Bethel College for giving me this opportunity.”

“I am thrilled to have Mark return to the Bethel College community as our men’s basketball coach,” Flickner said. “He brings a wealth of college coaching experience and is passionate about working with young people. I look forward to this new chapter in the history of Bethel College basketball.”

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and has been named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1998. In sports, Bethel is part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC). For more information, see the Bethel web site at www.bethelks.edu.

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