'Columbia kid' Yohe catches up
Editor's note: "Where Are They Now?" is an occasional series. By Tom Arnold, Correspondent
In this installment of "Where Are They Now?" we visit one of the most successful high school football and track coaches to ever put a whistle around his neck.
Jack Yohe, who coached football at both Columbia and Hempfield and track at Columbia, has so many honors to his credit it would take more space than allotted for this article, however we will incorporate as many as possible.
Yohe, now 77, was born and raised in Columbia and graduated from Columbia in 1953.
"I'm a Columbia kid," said Yohe, who looks like he could still roam the sidelines with authority.
Yohe's honors started accumulating in high school. The Lancaster County scoring champion with 100 points in the 1952 season, he rushed for 1,512 yards on 200 carries, averaging 7.6 yards per carry -- still a Columbia record.
While with the Crimson Tide, the halfback lettered for two years in basketball and played baseball as a freshman.
A member of the track team for two seasons, Yohe won district championships in the 100, 220 and mile relay, and set a number of school records.
After graduation, Yohe went to William and Mary on a full football scholarship.
"I think my scholarship was for $1,250, and that covered everything," Yohe recalled.
In 1953, freshmen weren't allowed to play varsity football at William and Mary, so Yohe played on the freshman team. He was named top freshman halfback among collegiate athletes in Virginia that season, he said.
Yohe lost half his junior year and his entire senior year to injuries. But with a year of eligibility remaining, came back for the 1957 season. Yohe led the Indians -- as W&M was then nickamed -- to an upset of North Carolina State.
"After graduation I had to do a six-month stint in the Army and then went to the PA National Guard program since I was in the ROTC, and spent a total of 10 years with the Guard, finally finishing as a captain," Yohe said, smiling.
In 1959, Yohe began his decorated football coaching career by becoming an assistant at Columbia under Elmer Kreiser. He spent four years in that job, and then in 1963 took the helm as head coach.
That was the beginning of a tenure that saw Yohe roll up a tidy 106-82-4 record as the Tide's head coach.
"I really enjoyed my time as football coach at Columbia," Yohe said. "There were so many good players that I coached it would be unfair to try to name them all, I know I'd forget someone."
Yohe did double duty while at Columbia by becoming the head track coach as well.
"In 1975, our track team won the Class B State Championship," Yohe recalled. "That was pretty special."
In 1983, Yohe went to Hempfield, where he taught health and physical education, as he did at Columbia. He also became the head football coach for the Black Knights.
While coaching at Hempfield, Yohe compiled a record of 98-49-1 for a career total of 206-131-5.
In 1984, Yohe was named District Three's Class AAA Co-Coach of the Year while coaching the Black Knights, and earned coach of the year honors in the L-L's Section One in 1987.
One of the things Yohe is proudest of from his tenure at Hempfield was teaming with former state Rep. Jere Schuler to change a rule allowing coaches who had retired as teachers to still get paid.
"Prior to that, when a teacher retired they could still coach but couldn't get paid, so I coached the last couple years without getting paid," Yohe said.
"My entire time at Hempfield was great, I loved it, it was a great experience."
Following his retirement afer the 1996 season, Yohe was inducted into the Susquehanna Valley chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame and ended his coaching career as an assistant coach for the Pennsylvania-Ohio Big 33 game, which the Pennsylvania team won, 21-20.
During his coaching career, Yohe earned Coach of the Year honors six times, garnered the National High School Coaching Award in 1989 and was inducted in the William and Mary Sports Hall of Fame in 1993.
In 1996, he received the George W. Kirchner Award and was elected to the Scholastic Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
After his retirement, Yohe went back home to Wrightsville and is "living every man's dream," he said, by just relaxing and fishing and playing some golf while watching the stock market.
"I've been married to Margie for 46 years and have three daughters," Yohe said with a smile as he described probably his greatest accomplishment. Yohe's eldest daughter is Deborah; his middle daughter was Lisa Ann, who died in 1976; and his youngest is Joanna.
"I was so lucky to have the chance to coach so many fine young men in my career," he said. "I think that's what kept me going."n