DOVER (WJER) (February 10, 2022) – The Dover High boys’ basketball team’s 67-41 win over University Tuesday was the 700th career win for Coach Bob Von Kaenel.
Those wins include his totals in 31 seasons at Dover and 11 seasons at Tusky Valley.
Dover school officials surprised Von Kaenel after the game with a video of some of his past players and coaches congratulating him.
“Man, I’m just so proud of you,” said Bob Huggins, a childhood friend and now West Virginia University men’s basketball coach. “What an accomplishment – 700 games. Keep it going, brother.”
“You gave me my crack into the education and coaching world after I graduated from college. I’ll never be able to repay you for that,” said former Dover assistant coach and IVC commissioner Don Spinell. “You are the legend of Tuscarawas County and the area.”
Riverdale High School athletic director and basketball coach Craig Taylor says Von Kaenel taught him the keys to winning are defense, rebounding and free throw shooting.
“To this day I still tell each and every one of my teams, ‘That’s how we’re going to win,’” Taylor said. “The highest compliment I’ve ever been paid is by Paul Wayne, one of your friends, we played them in the tournament two years ago. During the pregame I went up to Coach Wayne to shake his hand, and he said, ‘You’re one of Bobby’s boys.’”
Dover Athletic Director Tim McCrate talked about how fortunate Dover is to have Von Kaenel and football coach Dan Ifft, who between them have nearly 60 years of coaching at Dover and a combined 1,000 career wins.
“Guys like Bob Von Kaenel and Dan Ifft – I don’t think they’re being born now,” McCrate said. “They’re kind of dinosaurs, and I say that in an affectionate and respectful way. You don’t get guys going into coaching and staying the length of time they’ve stayed and staying at the top of their game. It’s pretty impressive.”
Von Kaenel joins elite group
Von Kaenel is one of only five Ohio high school boys’ basketball coaches to reach 700 career wins. He says he didn’t get there on his own.
“It’s just a long time of being in a good community and having good support people to help you,” he said. “Good families, good parents; all are assisting us all the time.”
Von Kaenel says one of his most memorable wins was the 1998 state semifinal game against Akron Hoban in Columbus.
“My son, Mark, threw a full-court pass to Ben Swartzwelder who hit a turnaround right above the foul line to win the game for us over Akron Hoban and put us in the state championship game,” he said. “That’s a pretty good memory.”
Number 701 will be a big one, too, as Dover’s next two games are against the other two top teams in the OVAC, followed by tournament play.
The Tornadoes first chance is Saturday in the OVAC big school championship game against Morgantown. The game from Harrison High School in Cadiz will be on WJER 1450AM, 100.9FM and at wjer.com.
Parkersburg South is next on Tuesday, then tournament games start the week after.