Lakeridge administrators didn't have to search very far to track down their new athletic director. Just right down the hall really.
Language Arts teacher and lacrosse coach Ian Lamont will fill the spot vacated by Mike Coulson starting next year, although it will probably make for an eventful summer as well.
'I got the job at noon on Friday and received my first call about it at 1:15. Technically I don't start until July 1 but I'm already working,' Lamont said.
Lamont has a solid academic and athletic background at Lakeridge as a well-respected teacher and former girls soccer and boys lacrosse coach. As a co-coach of the lacrosse team with Curt Sheinin, the Pacers have captured three straight state championships.
But now Lamont will be overseeing all of the Pacers athletes. And a big part of his job will be to see that the number of those athletes increases from previous years.
Turnout has been low in a number of sports at Lakeridge for the past few years, most notably in the higher profile sports like football, basketball and baseball.
But Lamont also recognizes that the Pacer program is loaded with talented athletes and that, even with low numbers in some sports, the programs are holding their own against the competition.
'Most of our programs are excepitonally strong. Even with lower numbers, the football team and basketball teams have done remarkably well and soccer and lacrosse have always been successful,' Lamont said.
Lamont also hopes to bring back the two and three-sport athlete to Lakeridge. As specialization has increased in high school athletics over the years many programs end up losing some of their top athletes to club teams.
'We've seen so much specialization. I think we need to see more two and three-sport athletes. It makes for more well-rounded students,' Lamont said.
He also hopes to build up more interest in Lakeridge's youth programs to foster a love of sports at an early age in elementary school and junior high aged students.
'We have to get into the youth programs and get these kids bleeding Pacer blue from an early age,' Lamont said.
It is a unique opportunity for Lamont and one that came up unexpectedly.
'I had talked to (principal) Mike Lehman a while ago and casually mentioned that, if in four or five years this job opened up it might be something I'd be interested in. Then, when Mike Coulson took the job at Community Schools, I couldn't pass it up,' Lamont said.
To Lamont, the athletic director position is one of the premier opportunities in the state. Combined with the talented athletes and rich history of the programs, the community support of Pacer sports has always been high.
'Lakeridge has always had a tremendous relationship with the community,' Lamont said.
Along with continually increasing the support and interest in Lakeridge athletics, Lamont's first order of business will be filling the program's two current vacancies.
The Pacer baseball team will have a new head coach next season as will the Lakeridge boys golf team, as Jason Wold was hired as the new vice principal on the same day that Lamont was named as athletic director.
'It's very exciting but it's a daunting job because of the expectations. My goal is to get back to the standards that were set by this program in the 70's, 80's and 90's,' Lamont said.