District 211’s most successful basketball coach inducted into state hall of fame

Recognized as the most successful basketball coach in the history of Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211, Fremd High School girls Coach Dave Yates was honored by the board of education last week for his induction to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame.

At the same meeting, the school board accepted Yates’ early retirement from teaching, but not necessarily coaching.

Yates was diagnosed a year ago with a type of brain cancer called glioblastoma multiforme, which he battled last season while coaching his team to a 30-7 record and third-place state finish. He also received the sectional National High School Spirit of Sport award, in addition to being chosen for the hall of fame.

By the start of the school year, Yates’ intensive cancer treatment had included two surgeries. Even then, coaching an 18th season of Vikings girls basketball was a clear goal.

Fremd High School girls basketball coach Dave Yates poses for a photo with the team as they're recognized for their third-place finish at state by the Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board of education. Courtesy of District 211

Last week’s board meeting also included recognition of his players. From a wheelchair he hadn’t used during the season, Yates fist bumped his players as they came forward.

“Placing at state means a lot. Getting to state means a lot,” Yates said. “It was the culmination of support from coaches, players and everyone, all coming together.”

The role of basketball in his life was at the heart of his recognition with the Spirit of Sport honor, he said.

“It is all about overcoming the events that impact your life,” Yates said. “Basketball and what it means to me — that keeps me pushing ahead. Basketball has been that calming presence in my life. It is my center.”

Fremd High School girls basketball Coach Dave Yates and his players were honored for their third-place finish at state this year at last week's Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211 board of education meeting. Courtesy of District 211

During his time with the Vikings, Yates has led the team to 13 conference titles, 10 MSL Championships, 11 regional titles, five sectional titles, five Supersectional titles and five trips to state, including a championship in 2020.

His overall record, including his time at Highland High School in Arizona and downstate Mahomet-Seymour High School is 512-191.

“On the court, Dave has built a courageous legacy and raises the bar every year,” District 211 board President Anna Klimkowicz said.

Fremd Athletic Director Hamid Mehreioskouei noted that Yates recently played a key role in the hiring the school’s new boys basketball coach.

“He provided us with the insight that only Dave Yates could provide,” he said.

Having grown up in Elgin, Yates began his teaching career in 1992 and joined the math department at Fremd a decade later. In 2006, he became only the second head coach of Fremd's girls basketball program.

Since his diagnosis, supporters have held fundraisers, including the Coach Yates Hoopsfest a year ago that drew nearly 2,000 people.

  Fremd High School staff members, many of them with freshly shaved heads, applaud math teacher Dave Yates as he returns to the school in Palatine after cancer treatment in late August 2023. John Starks/, 2023
  Fremd High School math teacher and girls basketball coach Dave Yates returned to the school in Palatine in late August 2023 after a summer of intensive treatment for cancer. John Starks/, 2023
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