ONEIDA, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — For ROWVA/Williamsfield boys basketball coach Bob Anderson, high school basketball has been his passion for nearly half a century.

“I had a college coach that I did a lot of conversing with, and one time he said me a statement that said: ‘Make the big time where you’re at,'” Anderson said. “So that’s what I’ve kind of gone by.”

He’s made it big time, alright.

Anderson played basketball as a Billtown Bomber at Williamsfield High in the 1960’s and has been their head coach since 1979. The program became a co-op with ROWVA in 2016. Anderson is rapidly aproaching his 700th career victory.

“If I didn’t love the game and being around the kids and the fellas that have helped me and everything, yes it would be hard to do. But I really enjoy it,” Anderson said. “How much longer I go, I don’t know. But I’m going now and that’s the main thing, and I’m trying to do the best job I can. We’re enjoying it and having fun.”

Anderson ranks inside the top ten among active IHSA basketball coaches for all time victories. A 700th win would be the cherry on top of a 43 year coaching career. But his impact has been felt far beyond the basketball court.

“I know coach has been able to do so much for our community. His coaching abilities go much further than what that says,” ROWVA-Williamsfield senior Dylan Tucker said. “To be able to get him to 700 (wins), would be nice to be able to do something for him, since he’s done so much for us.”

“I couldn’t do that without the people on the bench and good kids,” Anderson added. “So it does mean a lot to me personally. But it means a lot to the program and the kids, I think as well.”