Jeff Yoder Photo / iagameday.smugmug.com
By Ryan Murken
Your Prep Sports
Tucked behind the weight room, off the corner of the gymnasium at the office of long-time West Branch football coach Butch Pedersen is a virtual museum of Bear football.
Walls are filled with team posters and newspaper headlines, shelves and desk space covered by awards, accolades and honors accumulated over the last 35 years.
On Thursday Pedersen learned he will need to clear some space on his office desk, walls or shelves after earning some prestigious recognition.
Pedersen was named the national prep football coach of the year by the National Federation of State High School Associations Coaches Association for the 2016-2017 school year.
West High girls soccer coach Dave Rosenthal joined Pedersen in receiving national coach of the year honors from the NFHS, which has been recognizing coaches since 1982.
Pedersen and Rosenthal are among 23 individuals named national coaches of the year in different sports by the NFHS.
West Branch finished 6-4 in 2016 before posting a 9-1 record last fall.
The Bears completed the 15th unbeaten regular season in program history and won the Class 1A District 3 title last season while appearing in the state playoffs for the 25th time under Pedersen.
In 35 seasons leading the program Pedersen has amassed a 296-74 record, winning state titles in 1989, 1991 and 1992.
Pedersen needs four wins to become the 13th coach in state history with 300 wins.
Rosenthal directed West High to a 19-2 record and a Class 3A state semifinal berth last season in his 22nd year leading the Women of Troy.
West High has reached the state tournament 15 times under Rosenthal winning state titles in 2004 and 2015.
The Women of Troy are 57-8 over the past three seasons reaching the state semifinals all three years.