Hall of Famer Al Rhodes Retires As Kingsmen Boys Basketball Head Coach

Posted on April 28, 2023

Al Rhodes, the winningest coach in Penn High School Boys Basketball history, announced his retirement as head coach of the Kingsmen.

A Penn graduate and an Indiana Hall of Fame inductee, Rhodes crafted a golden legacy in Indiana high school basketball coaching. He is 693-329 overall in 42 seasons, including a record of 239-128 in 15 seasons at Penn.

“Having coached a Final Four team in each of five decades I’ve coached, I don’t think the game ever passed me by!” Rhodes said. “I have studied basketball all my life and am extremely proud of my past players and their successes on and off the court.  I would also like to thank all my assistant coaches from all the schools I coached at.  Also, I worked for great administrators and I appreciate all they did for our programs!

“Dr. Jerry Thacker here at Penn High School has been great to work for!  His vision as an educator is tremendous and he brings out the best in all around him!”

“It has been a great ride and I have done my best!” Rhodes said.

Penn Athletic Director Jeff Hart said that Rhodes established a standard of excellence at Penn and in Indiana.

“Coach Rhodes’ legendary career speaks for itself,” Hart said. “As an Indiana High School Basketball Coach for 42 years, he ranks among the all-time successful leaders of the sport in our great state.  What can’t be measured by wins and losses is the positive impact he’s had on countless young people during his career.

“From students in his math classes to the players and coaches in the programs that he’s led, he’s educated and mentored consistently with a “teacher’s heart,” Hart continued.  “I’ve been fortunate to watch his leadership with character approach close up for the last several years and I’m a better person because of it.”

Notre Dame signee Markus Burton, the All-Time Boys Basketball leading scorer for Penn and St. Joseph County, said that Rhodes played a critical role in his development as a Division I basketball player. Click here to watch/listen to a podcast with Markus and Coach Rhodes.

“He believed in me more than anyone in Indiana,” said Burton, a frontrunner for the 2023 Indiana Mr. Basketball Award. “He believed in me as a Freshman. I appreciate his strategy for the game, and his relationships with his players. Everyone can relate to him and trust him. He’s helped me be the best I can be every day, and taught me to be a leader.”

In the past two seasons, Rhodes has guided Penn to a remarkable record of 52-5. This past season, Penn posted a 28-2 record and reached the Final Four for just the fourth time in the program’s 65-year history. Penn was also invited to compete in the prestigious Hall of Fame Classic this season.

Penn’s combined Varsity (28-2), Junior Varsity (20-2) and Freshmen (22-0) won-loss record in the 2022-2023 season was 70-4.

Rhodes coached Warsaw to a state championship in 1984, and while at Warsaw coached two players to the Mr. Basketball Award – Jeff Grose and Kevin Ault. Coach Rhodes also coached former UNC and Los Angeles Lakers star Rick Fox.

Coach Rhodes has also coached against the likes of former NBA greats like Shawn Kemp and Scott Skiles.

Rhodes’ teams have won 18 Sectional Championships, nine Regional Championships, four Semi-State Championships, and one State Championship.

In addition to his high school coaching, Rhodes has made an impact on the national and international scene. He has coached in the McDonald’s All-American Game, and been an instructor at the heralded Five-Star Camp, where he was inducted into the Five-Star Camp Hall of Fame. He was selected as an instructor for the Five-Star Camp in Turkey, and was an assistant coach on the Bahamas National Team. He also helped develop the Bahamas Basketball Youth Program, and was a director of the coaches development program in Australia.

Rhodes, who graduated from Penn in 1970, is grateful to his family and the Penn community as well as the many coaches who have influenced him.

“In 1967, I met the new Penn High School Coach, Jim Miller!” Rhodes said. “Jim taught us about pursuit of excellence and that the Indiana State Championship was the ultimate goal that could be achieved.  For the past 56 years, I have pursued that goal with all my heart.  

“The byproduct of what Coach Miller taught me has been a wonderful life!  I have tried my best to be the best husband, father, teacher and coach that I could be.  I owe everything to my parents, my wife, and Coach Miller! 

“I would like to thank my wife Kathy for all of her support through the years,” Rhodes continued. “She is a very special person, nurse, mother, and wife!  It is not easy being a basketball coach’s wife in Indiana.  She has been a great one!

“As a father, I am extremely proud of my two sons, Chris and Curtis.  They both understand pursuit of excellence and are building great lives for themselves and their families.  I am glad they never complained about all the time I spent coaching.

“My sister Sandi has also added great support through the years!  I really appreciate her coming to games and being there for me win or lose!”

Rhodes paid tribute to the coaches in his life.

“When I was a young coach, I was fortunate to learn from the best,” Rhodes said. “Besides Coach Miller, my coach at Tri-State, Mark Peterman, was a great small college coach.

“From 1975 on, I was trained by the best coaches Indiana has ever seen.  My first year I worked for Basil Mawbey at Angola High School.  Basil is the hardest working coach the State has ever known.  

“I learned from competing against the best coaches in Indiana history:  Bill Harrell, Sam Alford, Jim Hammel, Jack Edison, Bill Green to name a few.  

“Finally, the greatest coach ever, John Wooden, was a constant influence in our program!  The Pyramid of Success always played a major role!”

Last Modified June 19, 2023