- Associated Press - Sunday, March 6, 2016

HULL, Iowa (AP) - One northwest Iowa high school will have to look for a new bus driver when successful coach Jim Eekhoff retires after 34 years.

The Sioux City Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1SscP2o ) Eekhoff plans to retire from coaching and driving the team bus after this school year.

“I always drive the bus,” Eekhoff said. “And if I say we’re leaving at 5 o’clock, you can bet we’re leaving a little before 5. I’ve left players and cheerleaders behind.”

But before retiring Eekhoff will lead his Western Christian High School team in the state boys Class 2A basketball tournament that starts Thursday.

This year Eekhoff is coaching his 18th state tournament team for Western Christian, and he has a chance to win a record eighth title. Eekhoff’s career coaching record is 678-143.

Eekhoff said he enjoys the relationships he’s built over the years with players and coaches and families.

“I’ve just tried to make our teams the best they can be,” he said. “I want them to develop chemistry and become better people in the process. I insist they represent the word ‘Christian.’ It is on their uniform.”

Eekhoff decided it was time to step down as coach because of the time commitment involved.

“People maybe don’t understand how basketball, even for a high school coach, can kind of consume your life,” he says. “It’s a 12-month commitment with open gyms, clinics and the camp that I do.”

Now the 65-year-old will have more time to travel with his wife, Sylvia, and to spend with their children and grandchildren.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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