After 36 years in the Lake Oswego High School track and field program and 31 as its head coach, Eric Lider is stepping down. Lider has been a mainstay with the Lakers over the years, helping build a program that has been synonymous with stellar athletes and big participation numbers.
Lider will still stay on as the schools head cross country coach.
The management of the team and running the events and volunteers takes a toll on you, Lider said.
Lider has helmed the boys and girls cross country teams and boys and girls track programs for decades, which is not an easy task, considering it involves overseeing hundreds of athletes, all with a wide array of experience and abilities.
While the Lakers have churned out athletes who have gone on to thrive at the national level, Lider has always prided himself on the development of young athletes.
I always wanted to create a real positive, team environment. I put an emphasis on building up the younger kids who were going to be the future of the program, Lider said.
He has also helped out special needs athletes, which have become a big part of the program as well.
They really added so much, Lider said.
Lider has been involved in track for the majority of his life. He was a sprinter in high school at Issaquah High School in Washington and ran for Pacific Lutheran University.
He would later get an elementary school teaching position in Lake Oswego, which he held until retiring in 2005.
In 1978, Lider joined the track program at the high school as an assistant, and he took over as the head coach in 1983.
Lider became head of the entire track and field program after the school went away from having separate coaches for boys and girls teams.
Ive always had great administrative and parental support. That really made this a dream job, Lider said.
A well-respected coach throughout his tenure, Lider says he felt like this was the right time to give up the track portion of his job.
There were a lot of facets involved. My old joke was that, after the cross country season, Id give myself 10 minutes to rest, and then it was time to start thinking about track. Its just a lot of extra time, and it wasnt really healthy, Lider said.
There still wont be much time to relax, however. The cross country season is just around the corner, and another large crop of runners is expected to come out for the team, ready to compete in the revamped Three Rivers League.