In an unexpected move last week, Yvonne Burhoop submitted her resignation to Marion County Special Education Cooperative after 34 years as special education teacher at Centre.
A teary-eyed Burhoop said Monday that she made the decision to retire a year early from teaching after she was informed her longtime volleyball coaching supplemental contract would not be renewed.
“The board decided to go in a new direction with the volleyball program,” Superintendent Susan Beeson explained afterward. Activities Director Greg Wyatt informed Burhoop of the decision March 24.
As an employee of MCSEC, Burhoop has shepherded many children through the education process, but she credits parents for wanting them to do well and to graduate.
“I give support,” she said.
During her first year, she had no classroom. She said she became known as “sheriff of the halls” because she spent so much time moving from room to room.
She said she helped students begin planning for the future several years before graduation. She claims that 90 to 95 percent have gone on to live productive lives.
Most Centre patrons know Burhoop as volleyball coach, a position she has held ever since she came to Centre as Yvonne Williams in 1982. She later married Enno Burhoop, and they had two children.
Burhoop said she started out with 31 girls. She said they lacked discipline. On their very first game on the road to White City, two girls smoked on the bus, she said, and some wrote on bathroom walls.
She said she took them to task for their behavior, and it never happened again.
She acknowledges that she was a hard-hitting coach and had high expectations for the team, but that was how she learned to be successful in high school.
“I was 5-foot-3, and my high school coaches said I was not athletic,” she said. “My basketball coach yelled, and he worked my butt off. I worked hard.”
She compiled a career record of 559 wins and 394 losses and took Centre to the state tournament in 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1993. They won the championship in 1988. She said her only regret was that she unintentionally failed to play one of the 12 girls in the championship game.
The hardest time she experienced as a coach was when three of her players were in a car accident. She went to visit them at Herington Municipal Hospital afterward. Two of them were out for two weeks and missed a tournament game.
She prepared spaghetti for the girls once or twice a year and often provided dinner for them when home games were scheduled, to keep them at school until game time.
“I wanted them to learn about dedication, playing together even if they didn’t get along, and communicating,” she said.
Burhoop considers it a highlight to have coached her daughter, Kylie. Kylie has assisted her the past three seasons.
Senior nights and last games of the season were special, with hugs all around. Burhoop cherishes letters she has received from former students and players.
Several of her players went on to become volleyball coaches and assistant coaches. Lisa (Peterson) Beye continues to coach volleyball at Herington.
Burhoop said she was hoping to coach one more year, but at its April meeting, the board of education gave the position to a new incoming teacher this fall.
Several players showed up to show support for Burhoop.
Alexius Kendrick echoed their sentiments when she said, “I’ve played for Mrs. Burhoop for three years, and we butted heads worse than anyone else during those three years. Within the first week of practice, she pulled me aside to tell me she expected more out of me. I’ll never forget how much her coaching taught me. I will accomplish my goals in life by, in the words of coach Burhoop, ‘keeping my ducks in a row’ and never saying the word ‘can’t.’”
Burhoop looks forward to spending more time with her 3-year-old granddaughter, Avery. She will continue to pursue her hobbies of stained glass and wood refinishing. She also plans to travel and visit siblings more often.