There will be a leadership change for the St. Croix Central track team leading into the 2020 season.
Both of the Panthers' varsity co-coaches, Ben Lamb and John Tackmann, are leaving the track program.
Lamb has been one of the team's head coaches the past 11 years and has been coaching at Central for 20 years. Tackmann has been one of the head coaches for seven years. He has been coaching at Central for 10 years, taking on the varsity football coaching position this spring.
Both coaches said the decision to step down was made to spend more time with their families. Lamb said his daughter in seventh grade competed in track this spring and he was only able to see one of her meets because of his coaching responsibilities.
"There hasn't been a day I haven't loved coaching track," Lamb said. "We've built the program on family-first and I'm taking time for mine now."
Lamb said his health isn't a reason for the decision. He said his health is fine after a battle with cancer in recent years. He said he was proud of the six conference and three regional championships won by his teams.
Lamb and Tackmann said they will both still be involved in the track program to a lesser degree. Tackmann didn't know a thing about pole vault when he joined the team, but was assigned the event. He spent years learning all the nuances of the event and he plans to keep coaching the event. The Panthers had six pole vaulters reach the state meet in his 10 years, Justin Freyholtz three times, Nathan Schrader twice and D.J. Haas once.
Tackmann talked about the fraternity of pole vault coaches and how they coach all the vaulters, not just those from their team. He said that when Schrader was competing at sectionals as a sophomore, Tackmann was at the hospital for the birth of his third child. He said other coaches were taping Schrader's attempts and sending them to Tackmann. He'd then call Schrader to prep him for his next attempt.
After starting with the pole vault, Tackmann took on coaching the hurdles and then added the head coaching duties.
Mitch Klimek has been hired to fill one of the head coaching vacancies.