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Coaching milestones

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Coach Smithpeters basketball

HARRISBURG/COBDEN (WSIL) -- Over the weekend a pair of local basketball coaches reached some big milestones. Harrisburg's Randy Smithpeters picked up career win number 500 and Cobden's Wendell Wheeler got his 400th career victory.

"I thought of all the players I had before that were a part of this, and I have zero points and zero rebounds in those 500 wins," Smithpeters said.

Coach Smithpeters won his 500th game on Friday and prior to Saturday's game he was recognized with his family on hand with a commemorative ball and plaque.

"Text messages of congratulations means a lot and at the end of the day one of the most important things are your relationships with the people that have played for you, the people you coached with or against as far as that goes."

On Saturday, Coach Wheeler got his 400th win and after the victory he was handed a commemorative ball and immediately embraced by his team.

When asked what that 4ooth win meant, it was hard for Coach Wheeler to hold back the emotions. So what does it mean to get 400 wins?

"I don't know, it's pretty tough," Wheeler said. "Just how lucky I am to come to Cobden, have some boys believe in you and for them to do this, it means a lot."

If you ask the coaches, the big win is after basketball.

"You are so happy to see the successes that go on from here, to things that are bigger than basketball when they get into a career and have families and they come back and touch base with you, that's more meaningful than any victory that you can look back on," Smithpeters said.

Our coaches were emotional with this milestone.

"We all talk about the relationships with your players and the type of men they grow up to be and I would say one thing that has hit me was when my mother passed away and the boys from my first team were right there," Wheeler said.

And family plays a big role as well.

"And it's hours and hours and hours of getting home late and missing your family and the other thing I have to mention is it is hard to be a good coach without a coach's wife," Smithpeters said. "You have to have a coach's wife and mine is here every game and she has been for practically every one of those 500 wins and all the losses that go along with it."

Jason Hurst

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