Yoder is a native of Plymouth, Indiana and 1958 graduate of Plymouth High School. He attended Illinois Wesleyan University on a basketball and baseball scholarship, winning four letters in baseball and two in basketball before graduating in 1962. He received his master's degree from University of Saint Francis, then called Saint Francis College, in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1970.
He started his coaching career at Glen Ellyn, Illinois junior high school, and in 1965 took an assistant's position in basketball at Plymouth, Indiana. He became head coach at Plymouth in 1967 and proceeded to guide the school to three conference titles, three sectional crowns, a pair of regional titles, and two finishes among the top ten teams in state rankings over a six-year period. Yoder was named Indiana's District One Coach of the Year in 1973 and he then accepted a job as assistant coach at Furman University. He returned to Indiana in 1975 as head coach at Mishawaka's Penn High School. He then became assistant basketball coach at Ball State University in 1976 and a year later became head coach at the school.
Yoder was head coach at Ball State from 1977–78 to 1981–82, compiling a record of 77-62. He was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year for both the 1980–81 and 1981–82 seasons. The 1980-81 Ball State team shared the MAC title with three other schools and gained an NCAA tournament berth by winning the conference's post-season tournament. Ball State compiled an overall 17–11 record during the 1981-82 season including a 12–4 conference record that gave them the MAC championship. The Cardinals lost to Northern Illinois University 79–75 in overtime in the MAC post-season tournament title game with the winner advancing to the NCAA meet.
In 1982, he left for University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he would coach the Badgers until 1992. He compiled a record of 128–165 and led the Badgers to the National Invitation Tournament in 1988–89 and 1990–91--the Badgers' first postseason appearances in over 40 years. For his accomplishments in coaching the 18–12 NIT team in 1988-89, Yoder was named Kodak District XI Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as well as Midwest Coach of the Year by Basketball Times.
After coaching, he became a scout with the Indiana Pacers and later the Knicks.
Head coaching record
NCAA Division I
|Ball State (Mid-American Conference) (1977–1982)|
|1980–81||Ball State||20–10||10–6||T–1st||NCAA 1st Round|
|Wisconsin (Big Ten Conference) (1982–1992)|
|1988–89||Wisconsin||18–12||8–10||6th||NIT 2nd Round|
|1990–91||Wisconsin||15–15||8–10||7th||NIT 2nd Round|
National champion Postseason invitational champion
- Former Coach Steve Yoder Joins Men's Basketball Staff. Houston Cougars: Men's Basketball, 9 Apr 2014. Retrieved 2014-04-10.