DES MOINES — It's been quite a journey for Todd Hornaday.
Since taking over the Bettendorf girls soccer program prior to the 1998 season, the Bulldogs head coach has amassed 325 wins, including the first-ever Iowa state championship. He's led 13 Bettendorf teams to the state tournament and was inducted into the Iowa High School Soccer Coaches Association's Hall of Fame in 2015.
Hornaday was awarded Saturday with the IGHSAU's Golden Plaque of Distinction, given to the Iowa coach in each sport who has demonstrated a successful career while making notable contributions toward school, community and the coaching profession.
"I've grown up coaching this team. I was a young punk 20 years ago and now I've got kids in school," Hornaday said. "Thanks to them and all the assistants and all the coaches I played for back in the day. It's always nice to be recognized by your peers."
Hornaday was given the award prior to the Class 3A state championship game at Cownie Soccer Park, receiving a nice ovation from the fans of Ankeny and Ankeny Centennial.
It was a special moment for the Bettendorf head coach, who has seen the game grow immensely since taking over 20 years ago.
"To even be considered to be a representative of girls soccer, whether it's in the Quad-Cities or Iowa is a huge honor and something I can be very proud of," Hornaday said.
Hornaday has made it a point to promote the girls high school game in his career. He is the current soccer chair with the Iowa Girls Coaches Association and also served a term on the IGHSAU Soccer Coaches Advisory Committee.
He was recognized as the state and regional coach of the year by the NFHS in 2010 and was a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association National Coach of the Year in 2017.
"He's been a real team player on the high school level and has just been a really good advocate for high school soccer," IGHSAU assistant director Jason Eslinger said. "You can't put a price tag on that. We want coaches like that in all of sports and it's nice to have someone like that in soccer."
That's what means the most to Hornaday, continuing to see the game grow.
"Mostly, it means it's a great recognition for all the players that we've had over the last 21 years," Hornaday said, "Hats off to them and their parents. A lot of hard work, a lot of support. Some good times and some heartbreak at the end but a couple of the years we got as far as we could. It's not always the destination, it's the journey."