Jim Routhier announces retirement as Goshen College women’s volleyball coach

by | Dec 14, 2018 | Headlines, RRSN News | 0 comments

Jim Routhier announces retirement as Goshen College women’s volleyball coach

Longtime teacher and mentor steps away after 982 varsity matches

GOSHEN, Ind. — Jim Routhier’s 32-year coaching career drew to a close Friday as the Goshen College women’s volleyball head coach announced his retirement.

Routhier accumulated 143 wins in 10 seasons at Goshen; that total is second on the program’s all-time wins list, trailing only Sue Roth’s 316. His teams went 73-55 in Gunden Gymnasium, winning at a .570 clip at home.

Before coming to GC, Routhier spent 22 seasons as the head volleyball coach at Concord High School in nearby Elkhart. There, he compiled a 472-176 record with four conference titles and two sectional championships. He was also a biology and anatomy teacher at Concord for 36 years, doubling as an athletic trainer for much of that time.

Between Concord and Goshen, Routhier served as head coach for 982 varsity volleyball matches; he was also part of Concord’s coaching staff for baseball and softball for part of his time there, pushing the total number of matches coached to more than 1,100.

Over the past decade, Routhier’s GC program included two dozen all-conference performers and picked up 38 all-conference awards. He coached the Maple Leafs’ first volleyball All-American, Peni Acayo, who was the Mid-Central College Conference player of the year in 2009 and received the Dr. Ruth Gunden Champion of Character Award in 2018. Goshen volleyball players also earned 40 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete awards, 13 conference player of the week nods and four spots on the conference all-freshman team.

“I take tremendous pride in my team’s accomplishments,” Routhier said. “I’ve spent my entire life working for the betterment of young people and it’s time to do that in a different way. I’ve always told my players that eventually you won’t remember a single score from your career, but you’ll remember the bus trips and the lifelong friends.”

“Jim has had a profound impact on our volleyball student-athletes for the last 10 years,” said Harold Watson, GC director of athletics. “I thank him for his commitment to our student-athletes.”

Routhier is a 1973 graduate of Ball State University who played volleyball under legendary BSU coach Don Shondell. The longtime teacher enjoyed academic success on the volleyball court as well: each of Routhier’s Maple Leaf teams from 2014-17 was tabbed an NAIA Scholar-Team with an aggregate grade-point average of 3.0 or better. Because that award is given in July for the preceding academic year, the 2018 team can still send him out on a five-year streak.

His teams and players combined for more than 10 school records. Acayo holds the career marks in kills and kills per set, a feat that Missy Mackowiak reprised in digs. Four of Routhier’s players eclipsed the previous record for serve reception efficiency, and his 2015 and 2016 teams both set single-season team marks in serving efficiency.

“Coaching at Goshen has given me the opportunity to work with some outstanding young women,” Routhier said. “I’ve gone to more of their weddings since I came here than I had in the rest of my life. I like the academics, the philosophy and the people of Goshen, and I still want to stay connected to the college. But my wife and I haven’t been able to take a vacation in the fall for more than 40 years and it is time to see what the inside of the lake cottage looks like.”

Routhier’s decade at GC saw three of his former players return to the bench: Jen Higley and Kelly Hale, a pair of Concord players, assisted their former coach early in his tenure, and Lexa Magnuson joined that group after her 2017 graduation. At least seven Maple Leafs who played for Routhier have gone on to become coaches themselves.

With Routhier’s retirement, assistant coach Jim Daugherty has been tabbed interim women’s volleyball head coach. Daugherty has been an assistant coach in the program since 2014 and is also the head coach of GC’s men’s team, which will debut in January 2019. Goshen will begin its 50th season of varsity women’s volleyball next August.

A national search for the 11th Maple Leaf women’s volleyball head coach will begin immediately. For inquiries related to the coaching search, contact Watson at [email protected].

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