At Willard, Coach Haas promoted a popular saying, “The only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.” This quote came from Beverly Johnson, the first woman to scale the granite challenge of El Capitan. Haas applied this quote to his basketball program to keep his players focused on what had to be done at the present, rather than spending irrelevant concern with the past or the future. They had an elephant mascot, and elephants began popping up everywhere in Willard. It became a fun way to underscore the need to ‘keep you nose to the grindstone.
Coach Haas’ teams during the 1980, 1981 and 1982 seasons set the record for Ohio high school boys consecutive regular season victories. His coaching career began at Southeastern High School in Clark County where he was 52 and 28 in four years. In two years at Northeastern High School, his record was 29 and 12. For the next 22 years, he served at Willard High School, where his teams won 441 and lost only 74, for a total of 522 wins and 114 losses during his high school coaching career – a phenomenal 82.1% success rate!
During his tenure, he won seventeen league titles, seventeen sectional, eleven district and three regional championships. The Final Four appearances at State Tournament came in 1980, 1982 and 1984 while he was coaching at Willard. His teams were noted for their spirited, disciplined and heady play.
Bob’s honors include District 6 AA Coach of the Year eight times; Division 11 three times; OHSBCA Coach of the Year in 1991 and 1992; Co-Coach with Steve Stoller (a former player) in 1993; AP Coach of the Year twice; UPI Coach of the Year four times; Coach of the Mansfield New-Journal All-Star Games in the first and tenth year of their existence; coach in the North-South All-Star game in 1982, and the first coach of the Northern Ohio League All-Star Classic.
A graduate of North Robinson High School in 1958, he received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University in 1962. He earned his Master’s degree from Ohio State in 1967. In addition to basketball, Haas also coached baseball at Southeastern, taking the Trojans to the State Tournament in 1967. His baseball record was 100 wins and 59 losses.
Bob and his wife, Sandra, have two daughters: Michele and son-in-law Denny have three children, Heather, Heidi and Heath: and Lindy and son-in-law Ken have a son, Brian. Bob and Sandra are members of the First United Methodist Church in Willard.
Coach Haas has been a member of OHSBCA since 1963, and maintained membership in OEA, NEA, Ohio Association of Secondary School Administrators, Ohio Council of Math Teachers and the National Council of Math Teachers.