After 34 years at St. John Fisher College, Phil Kahler officially retired on Friday, November 14. The Ohio native served in several different capacities during his tenure at the College, but is more widely known as one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history.
Kahler is the only coach in the 34-year history of women's basketball at Fisher, and has guided the Cardinals to unprecedented success during his tenure.
With an overall record of 797-175 (.821 winning percentage, including Canadian institutions and junior colleges) and an NCAA record of 757-171 (.816 winning percentage), Fisher ranks as the all-time winningest program in NCAA Division III. No coach in NCAA men's or women's basketball Division I, II, III owns a better win percentage over a longer period of time.
Kahler, who reached the 600- and 700-win plateaus (716 games, 839 games respectively) faster than any other coach in NCAA basketball history, retires as the second-longest tenured coach in all of women's basketball, and the Division III coach with the most wins.
Kahler, a two-time national coach of the year, has been inducted into numerous Halls of Fame, including the St. John Fisher College Athletics and Basketball Coaches of New York.
Under his watch, Fisher has reached the 20-win plateau on 27 different occasions, and advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament 14 times. Kahler led the Cardinals to runner-up finishes in the 1988 and 1990 NCAA Championships, and strung together a streak of 32 consecutive winning seasons from 1976 to 2008. The Cardinals have also advanced to the postseason 31 of a possible 34 times during his tenure.
"I would like to take this time to thank the St. John Fisher College administration that has supported me over the years," Kahler says. "It's really hard for me to believe that I've been here at St. John Fisher College for so long. Time flies when you're having fun, and I've loved every minute of it."